This is old news but F.I.B loves Coney Island and just had to comment! A couple days ago Astroland was given the O.K to remain open next summer. Astroland paid $180,000 rent for the season last summer and Joe Sitt wanted to renew their lease for an extremely unreasonable 3 million! Oh! The drama! Well, obviously some sort of agreement was made and hopefully the extra time will allow more thought and planning into just how Coney Island should be developed. I guess it dawned on Joe Sitt that the bulldoze now, plan later idea wasn't such a good idea (or good public relations move!) after all.
So we can all look forward to another summer of "this the last time I see this.” "This is the last time I will go on this." That was soooooooo annoying!!! Unnecessary even!
Mayor Bloomberg with be out there next week at a luncheon at Gargiulo's to "discuss some of his latest economic development initiatives in Brooklyn." and there are rumors that he will announce the zoning changes that will clarify whether hotels, time shares or condos can be built on the site where Astroland stands right now.
Check the Kinetic Carnival blog for more information and also The Coney Island Message board for entertaining speculation on just what Bloomie is going to say.
Personally, like many, I idealistically would like to see it developed while having it retain its everyman flavor. I don't want it to turn into one of those amusement parks where you have to pay an admission fee. I don't want to see the family owned businesses ousted out for chain restaurants with corporate headquarters in Texas or the Midwest. I want the Coney vaudeville/carnie /escapist creative spirit to remain alive rather than have it being lost in potential overdevelopment that could turn Coney Island into a slick Vegas style "could be anywhere" destination. I do think this is possible. Coney definitely could be better but it needs to be planned with the community involved as it is a VERY public place and a cultural icon.
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As someone who has spent every summer of my 38 years at Coney Island and Astroland, I share your idealistic side's hopes that whatever is to become of the site, it will retain the everyman feel that has defined this amusement park since its first incarnation over the past century.
Aside from that, your post was one of the most insightful I've read concerning Astroland's 11-th hour reprieve (although this probably counts as 12-th and a half hour at this point.)
Why thank you freak shooter! Glad you share my opinion, many people do, as they say about the Allantic Yards project. "Develop Don't Destroy"!
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