Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Coney Island Update: Send in the Clowns

1) The latest Coney idea to be floated by Thor Equities as a possibile attraction on the vast parcel of Coney Island land that it has gathered is a circus. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reports that Thor CEO Joe Sitt has approached Big Apple Circus about having a performance space on or near the boardwalk. (Perhaps Thor is dismantling the Revere Sugar dome in Red Hook to move it to Coney Island for the circus, rather than demolishing it?) Thor has also had discussions with Nickelodeon, whose Governor's Island theme park plan got a big Bronx Cheer. The Eagle reports they have also been in contact with Disney, the company that you might remember wanted to recreate Coney in its own image a while back. To check out the Big Apple Circus, click here. If you want to get a sense of what the SpongeBob-ish future might hold, click here. As for M-I-C-K-E-Y, we're sure you can find him. As for all this, the Coney blog Kinetic Carnival writes, "If any of this is true, then it seems that Sitt and Thor Equities must be a bit confused in what to make of Coney's new amusement 'extension'."

2) The latest Coney eviction consists of Vincent Garcia and his pit bull, Crazy. Mr. Garcia, described in the New York Times as a "stocky, tattooed ex-convict known as Cuba, has lived in a tattered tan trailer in a parking lot on Stillwell Avenue near the Boardwalk. He began staying there while working as a security guard at the lot, he says, after losing his apartment nearby to higher rent. Today, the graying Mr. Garcia...and his trailer blend into the landscape of tired rides, greasy fast food joints and vagrant Boardwalk regulars. But a snazzy reincarnation is planned for the crumbling seaside neighborhood, and the parking lot Mr. Garcia, 44, calls home is not part of that future. “I spend half my life in here,” he said. “I don’t want to leave." Thor hand-delivered an eviction notice and has told him to leave by Dec. 28. Mr. Garcia wants more time. Thor's spokesperson, Lee Silberstein, refused comment about Mr. Garcia or his situation to the Times.

3) If Vegas and the Australians can approximate versions of Coney Island (kind of...sort of...), will Thor be able to turn the trick? We were amused to find the photo below (and others) post on the Coney Island Message Board of an Australian establishment known as Luna Park. If we had any sense that the Thor vision included something like that rather than developments that trade on the Coney Island brand name while bearing no relation to Coney's history, we would be very upbeat about their plans. To borrow a phrase that the Clinton campaign used many years ago, "It's about the amusements, stupid."

Lunapark Sydney

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