The Daily News attended the grand reopening of Grimaldi’s Pizza in Coney Island yesterday, a celebration held because Hurricane Sandy devastated the pizzeria. Amusing the Zillion checked out the renovated space at 1215 Surf Avenue a few days ago, where the owners have put the “Dreamland Bell” on display near the entrance, pictured above. It’s the bell that survived the Dreamland Fire of 1911 and is serving as a testament to the Hurricane Sandy recovery. It will be at the restaurant for a few weeks. The Daily News also shared a few other updates on surrounding businesses: The Aquarium is still set to open on May 25, Nathans will open Memorial Day weekend, the Parachute Jump will be relit on June 24, Peggy O’Neil’s bar is open but barely hanging in there, and El Dorado Auto Skooter is struggling with a lack of revenue. Amusing the Zillion reports that two shooting galleries have replaced establishments wiped out by Sandy. The Wonder Wheel and Luna Park, of course, are already up and running, meaning it’s time to plan another visit to Coney Island…
Coney Island Attractions Slowly Rebound [NYDN]
Grimaldi’s Rings in Coney Island Comeback With Dreamland Bell [ATZ]
Photo by Tricia Vita for Amusing the Zillion
Landlords in Coney Island, Red Hook and Dumbo are helping out their Sandy-ravaged commercial tenants with rent and other aid, DNAinfo reported. Thor Equities has lowered rents by as much as 40 percent on Surf Avenue in Coney Island, benefitting Brooklyn Rock and Wampum, among others. Red Hook landlord Gregory O’Connell, whose own business moved back into its Red Hook HQ only last week, has offered low-interest loans and rent abatements to tenants. Two Trees Management in Dumbo has also been letting tenants pay rent later and talking to insurance companies on their behalf, as well as helping out with property repairs.
Brooklyn Waterfront’s Landlords Forgo Rent to Keep Sandy-Ravaged Tenants [TRD]
Photo by Lock
The Long Island-based clothing company and skate shop Wampum is opening this summer off the Coney Island boardwalk. Wampum picked up a space at 1232 Surf Avenue, right across from Nathan’s Hot Dogs, and will feature a variety of Wampum products, including shirts made in New York and hats made in California. You can check out the collection, which features distinctive prints, here. The store will open Memorial Day weekend and close Labor Day weekend. This will be the third location; the two other stores are in Bridgehampton and SoHo.
Photo via Facebook
Outgoing Borough President Marty Markowitz will realize his dream of creating a theater on Coney Island, and it’s going to be housed in the now-empty but landmarked Childs Restaurant — the building with the terra cotta seashells. The city plans to team up with a private developer to turn the building into a year-round, 5,000-seat music hall and theater, reported The New York Times. Markowitz will contribute $48 million from his capital budget, and the city has previously pledged another $10 million. The developer, iStar Financial, plans to restore the facade to the historic building, as well as expand the theater into the community garden next door. It’s also possible that the theater may include an adjacent lawn from which people can view performances. The work is expected to take two years. And Childs Restaurant isn’t the only thing getting a facelift in Coney: The Daily News reported this morning that the parachute jump received a $2 million upgrade and is now equipped with 8,000 colored LED lights that can be programmed with rhythmic displays for shows and concerts. Gonna be another fun summer in Coney Island!
Next on the List for Coney Island: A New Theater [NY Times]
Coney’s Parachute Jump Gets $2M Upgrade and 8,000 LED Lights [NY Daily News]
New Ideas for Coney Island Child’s Restaurant Landmark [Brownstoner]
Photo by arubow4
This Sunday, March 24, many of the famous Coney Island attractions will open for the first time since Hurricane Sandy. The New York Daily News reports that Deno’s Wonder Wheel (pictured above) will be up and running after undergoing $1 million of repairs. It’ll run alongside other familiar rides and vendors, who are hoping for record-setting attendance on Sunday. To celebrate Coney’s comeback, rides on Deno’s Wonder Wheel will be free! Nathan’s, which is still undergoing repairs, will set up a makeshift headquarters on the corner of Surf and Stillwell avenues. They’ll hold the first hot dog eating contest qualifier. The actual Nathan’s location is expected to open for the July 4th contest, a much later date than expected. According to the Daily News, a group of residents plan to protest the events, considering that the neighborhood’s post office, library and community centers are still closed.
Coney Island Attractions Ready for Their First Post-Sandy Opening [NY Daily News]
Earlier this month Brooklyn Independent Television posted a feature on Sandy victims in Coney Island, and the recovery work tackled by Brooklyn Community Services. The BCS has distributed around $80,000 in aid, providing essential furnishings and beds to families. There are still 2,000 people in the BCS database who still need help months after the storm. BCS is collecting new linens, kitchenware, and children’s clothing for the spring and summer until Friday, March 29. You can drop off materials at the front desk at BCS headquarters at 285 Schermerhorn Street. Also in this episode, Brooklyn Independent Television attended a Coney Island job fair, which the Coney Island Alliance has held for four years. “The future is very bright for Coney Island,” said a member of the Coney Island Alliance about the ongoing collaboration in the neighborhood, post Sandy, to prepare for the summer season.
Yesterday the New York Times reported that the New York Aquarium, located off the Coney Island boardwalk, will reopen in the late spring. The Wildlife Conservation Society has not yet announced the exact date, but expects to soon. In spring only half the aquarium will open to the public, including exhibits in the Main Hall and the outdoor area of Sea Cliffs. Hurricane Sandy totally flooded the complex, leaving 10 to 15 feet of water in the basement and two to three feet on the ground floor. The staff worked around the clock to pump out the water and set up emergency generators so the marine life wouldn’t have to be evacuated. The Society estimated that in total, the hurricane caused $65 million worth of damage.
An Aquarium in Brooklyn Will Partly Reopen in Spring [NY Times]
Photo by fatmat426
A sports complex is rising on three acres in Coney Island, according to The Real Deal. The facility, which will be called MatchPoint NYC, is near the intersection of Shell Road and Avenue Z, and will feature nine indoor tennis courts, an Olympic-sized pool, rooms for yoga, dance and gymnastics and a restaurant, among other amenities. The $20 million complex, which will be the largest sports complex in Brooklyn, is being developed by Sergey Rybak and two partners. The area lacks tennis courts and, Rybak told TRD, “tennis in south Brooklyn — especially among the Russian community — is very, very popular.” Rybak’s other projects include a Windsor Terrace condo, 3001 Ft Hamilton Parkway, and another condo building in Gravesend, 390 Kings Highway. The 140,000 square foot complex is expected to open its doors in about six months.
Photo via Google Maps
A New York Times investigation has found that NYCHA was overwhelmed by Hurricane Sandy, and left elderly and other residents stranded for weeks without heat, food or medicine. One person died falling down wet stairs, several suffered carbon monoxide poisoning from heating their apartments with the oven, and others suffered ill health by going without crucial medications.
An examination by The New York Times has found that while the agency moved aggressively before the storm to encourage residents to leave, particularly those who were disabled and the needy, both it and the city government at large were woefully unprepared to help its residents deal with Hurricane Sandy’s lingering aftermath. The city, which did not enforce its mandatory evacuation order, could not assess the medical needs of residents stuck atop darkened, freezing towers until nearly two weeks after the storm. It relied on ragtag bands of volunteers who quickly found themselves overwhelmed by the task of reaching, comforting and caring for trapped residents. And the seemingly simplest things, like towing portable lighting towers into the Red Hook public housing complex, took 11 days, all because the housing authority had not properly prepared for a major disaster.
The report found that the city in 2009 recommended NYCHA elevate critical equipment stored in basements and set up standby contracts for emergencies, but the recommendations were never carried out, perhaps for lack of funds. Above, temporary boiler installation at the Red Hook Houses after the hurricane.
Housing Agency’s Flaws Revealed by Storm [NY Times]
Photo by NYCHA
The Brooklyn Recovery Fund has announced the recipients of two $100,000 grants for hurricane recovery. So far the BRF has impressively raised more than $1.5 million. One of the grants will go to the Coney Recovers Initiative, a coalition of community development and human service groups in the neighborhood. The Coney Recovers Initiative plans to set up an office headquarters to organize longterm rebuilding and immediate needs and will provide job opportunities for local residents to help in the recovery. The other grant of $100,000 will go to the Red Hook Coalition. The RHC will use this money to give out micro-grants to small businesses, provide immediate social services, and support emergency food needs of residents. A coalition coordinator will also be hired to act as a liaison between the residents and government agencies. They will also set up a job training program. These grants were set up, according to the BRF, to “support the coordination of humanitarian services to residents as well as economic recovery activity for small businesses. The goal will be to build the capacity of neighborhood networks to help in the recovery and rebuilding effort and to strengthen the area against future crises.”
Photo by Strabanephotos
Over the weekend, NYCHA worked to restore heat and electricity to public housing developments, and while progress was made there are still many buildings without those resources. As for the electricity status, NYCHA reports that “currently there are 33 buildings within six developments in Brooklyn (Coney Island, Gowanus and Red Hook) and Far Rockaway, Queens, housing approximately 6,847 people where electricity is still out.” In the Red Hook East development, ten out of 18 buildings housing 1,393 residents do not have electricity, and eight out of 18 buildings housing 809 residents do not have heat or hot water. In the Red Hook West development, seven out of 14 buildings housing 2,093 residents don’t have electricity, and seven out of 14 buildings housing 3,206 residents do not have heat or hot water. There are also eight buildings in Coney Island without heat, and one building in Coney without electricity. NYCHA has set up warming centers and plans to bring in temporary boilers to the developments needing them. The boilers are expected to come online over this week. The door-to-door operations servicing NYCHA residents affected by the storm are ongoing. Photo, above, shows damage from Hurricane Sandy in a Red Hook Houses West basement.
NYCHA Hurricane Sandy Update [NYCHA]
Photo by NYCHA
On Friday, the Alliance for Coney Island launched a relief effort and web site, #ConeyRecovers, to serve as a central info hub for people in the area to learn about where they can get assistance. In addition, New York Mets pitcher Johan Santana will visit Coney Island on Tuesday to help out by serving lunch at Our Lady of Solace and Coney Island Gospel Assembly. “This week across Brooklyn we’ve seen the true value of people power in times of need,” said Marilyn Gelber, Brooklyn Community Foundation President, in a statement. “Without electricity and basic resources, our waterfront communities have still managed to come together quickly and creatively to provide emergency response and organize local recovery efforts. In Coney Island — where the need is so great — we’re inspired and grateful for the actions led by the Alliance for Coney Island and applaud their effort to build greater unity and strength through the Coney Island Recovery Fund.” The Alliance for Coney Island is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving Coney Island and the surrounding community.
Photo by spellingwitch
On Sunday, power had been restored to many areas in Southern Brooklyn and national aid had arrived. (Outside Brooklyn, the Rockaways and Staten Island remain in crisis, with many without power or water.) We checked out Brighton Beach Sunday afternoon, where we found the National Guard distributing water, blankets, diapers, and baby wipes, above. Down the block, a volunteer group gave out free clothes from a truck. Power was back on in most places and delis and groceries were open for business as usual. Debris had been gathered into piles dotted about the beach, which was mostly empty of people, but otherwise it looked pretty normal. Most buildings in the central area seemed to have already completed their basement cleanups, though a few were still siphoning out water and placing wrecked furniture on the sidewalks for pickup. Tensions seemed high; a fistfight almost broke out over a fender bender, we heard a lot of people arguing, and a woman said she was going to call the police because we were taking photographs. There was, of course, no subway service to the shore areas throughout Southern Brooklyn. Buses were running about every 20 minutes, and they were packed full.
Here’s another unfortunate casualty to Hurricane Sandy: signage outside the historic, landmarked Shore Theater in Coney Island. Coneyislandfun tweets, “Damage is extensive and heartbreaking but our focus now is on public safety,” although it’s not clear if they’re talking about the entire neighborhood or the theater itself. (Does anyone know if the building sustained interior damage as well?) Amusing the Zillion also notes the damage, saying: “The sign on the Shore Theater, a New York City landmark which is vacant and for sale, was twisted and appeared to be hanging by a thread. The street was blocked off with caution tape in case it fell.” Here are interior shots of the theater taken this year.
Photo Album: Hurricane Sandy’s Aftermath in Coney Island [ATZ]
Photo via ConeyIslandFun
Zipper, a documentary about the battle over Coney Island and the Zipper ride premieres Saturday, Nov. 10, at the School of Visual Arts. The film focuses on the fight between Zipper operator Eddie Miranda, Coney Island real estate developers, and the City of New York. The SVA Theater is located at 333 W. 23rd Street in Manhattan.
Prospect Heights breakfast favorite Tom’s has made the successful expansion onto the Coney Island Boardwalk, right at the corner of Stillwell Avenue. Plans have been in the works for this since December of last year. Amusing the Zillion posted a nice photo tour and said the menu is identical to the one in Prospect Heights, only with seafood entrees. Weekday hours are from 8 am until 4 or 5 pm; on weekends the joint should be open until 7 pm. According to ATZ, Tom’s should remain open on the boardwalk at least nine months a year.
Photo Album: First Brunch at Tom’s Coney Island by Bruce Handy [ATZ]
Old-Timey Prospect Heights Diner Tom’s Eyes Coney [Brownstoner]
Photo by Coney Island Photo Diary
On Friday the New York City Economic Development Corporation released a request for proposal for a vacant Coney Island site on West 15th Street between Surf Avenue and the boardwalk, the former home of the Thunderbolt roller coaster. They are seeking a developer of amusement rides, game booths and other entertainment attractions. This is part of the city’s Coney Island Revitalization Plan, which aims to bring new retail, upgraded infrastructure and 5,000 new housing units to the area. In 2009, the city leased three parcels of land at the amusement park to Central Amusements International, where Luna Park at Coney Island and the Scream Zone eventually opened. Requests for proposals will be accepted until Oct. 23 of this year.
On the eleventh anniversary of 9/11 we are reminded that buildings are only the physical manifestation of a neighborhood, or a borough. It’s the people who live and work here who matter, and those who help better the human condition are the reason why. Here is a story about someone who made a difference in Brooklyn.
Life-long Brooklynite and perpetual Brooklyn Dodgers fan Sol Moglen wanted to dedicate a wall of Keyspan Park to his heroes, the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers. The Park is home field for the Brooklyn Cyclones baseball team. Everything was set up for the tribute, a foundation and funds were established, the rights to use the wall were acquired — and then 9/11/2001 happened. Sol was touched to learn that over a third of the first responders who died that day lived in, were born in or worked in Brooklyn. He wanted to have a tribute to those brave firefighters, police officers and EMTs who gave their lives for the city – and he had this wall… (more…)
The Wall Street Journal has profiled a couple, Abbe and Gary Lasker, who spent 30 years DIY’ing their house in Manhattan Beach. When they bought it in 1978 for $65,000, pigeons were living inside and locals said the place was haunted. The Laskers updated the plumbing, electrical and windows, and moved in the next year. Gary Lasker was a teacher and antiques dealer; Abbe Lasker is an employee at an antiques gallery. Accordingly, the house is full of antiques. The cozy attic bedroom walls and ceiling are covered in a floral paper. The three-bedroom, two-bath house a short walk from the beach is now for sale for $1.7 million. The listing agent is their son, Devin Lasker, of Citi Habitats.
Do-It-Yourselfers Craft a Brooklyn Haven [WSJ]
151 Kensington Street Listing [Citi Habitats]
Photo by Bryan Derballa for the Wall Street Journal
Here’s an early 20th century Craftsman bungalow in what seems to be pretty good original condition on Coney Island, judging by the photos. This three-bedroom, two-bathroom single-family house at 3508 Neptune Avenue has new electric and plumbing, according to the listing, as well as original details and a fireplace. The ask is $499,000. Do you like it?
3508 Neptune Avenue [Fillmore] GMAP P*Shark