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Old Posted Oct 28, 2008, 9:09 PM
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Location: Bronx, NYC
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Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Worldwide Call Begins For Ideas To Revitalize Coney Amusement Area
by Dennis Holt (, published online 10-27-2008

Planners from Denmark, Spain, France Come to Borough Hall

By Dennis Holt
Brooklyn Daily Eagle

A new planning effort for Coney Island, the initiative of the Municipal Art Society, began Monday morning at Borough Hall. It is not an effort to compete with the city plan for the creation of a new Coney Island, but to focus on the nature of the entertainment section.

The entertainment part has become an emotional element of a Coney Island plan, the city having reduced its size to nine acres from an original concept of 18 acres.

The new planning effort can be considered a brainstorming activity, with the morning Monday devoted to comments and brief presentations by 15 different people or groups. There will be two additional meetings, called charrettes on November 13 and 14, with a final presentation on November 17.

Monday afternoon a tour was conducted for all participants to key features on Coney Island — the Aquarium, Astroland, Keyspan Park, the Childs Building, among them.

This is not planned as merely “another part” in the Coney Island process, of which to date there have been many parts. The charrette team is composed of personnel from Paris, Copenhagen, Barcelona, the Disney organization, and elsewhere representing a variety of skills and experience in designing and creating entertainment centers.

In addition to the meetings here in Brooklyn, the Art Society will also create a global web-based call for ideas and concepts for the entertainment area.

Kent Barwick, longtime president of the Municipal Art Society who is stepping down from that position, proposed “That by leveraging global ideas and creativity, we can help identify the novel uses that will spark new life in Coney Island and build on the strides Mayor Bloomberg has made toward a revitalized Coney Island.”

The Coney Island process has some uncertainty attached to it. Joesph Sitt, the principal of Thor Equities, owns a major part of the planned entertainment area and has submitted a plan of his own for both the entertainment part and commercial and residential development.

The city countered with its own plan, which, although it has to deal with Sitt’s property ownership, is now the only real plan on the table.

The long and tedious study of all the zoning implications needed to create a revised Coney Island is reaching a significant turning point. The certification process for the new zoning plan is expected to be completed sometime in January and the ULURP (uniform land use review process) will begin then. Details of this plan will very much drive the rest of the planning process, as will the resolution of property ownership.

© Brooklyn Daily Eagle 2008
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