Thursday, September 06, 2007

Astroland "One More Year" Demonstration Scheduled for Park's Last Day

Frogg Hopper

You didn't think that Astroland would go quietly, did you? A demonstration has been scheduled on Sunday, September 9, at "high noon" to show support for the park and to call for a one-year reprieve by developer Joe Sitt and Thor Equities, which bought the park for $30 million last year. (Sunday is Astroland's closing day, perhaps forever, if the developer follows through with plans.) A supporter writes on the Coney Island Message Board:
Bring yourself, your friends and family. Don’t forget to make signs! If you don’t have materials, come early (11am) and create your own sign. I'll have foamboard and markers on hand. Wear colorful clothes- this is not a wake or a funeral! We will march through Astroland to celebrate our attachment to the park and express our desire that it reopen for the 2008 season! Remember how the B & B Carousell was saved on the eve of the auction? We're hoping for another last minute reprieve.
The demonstration is being organized by Brian Gotlieb, who started a petition drive to save the park that has garnered 5,000 signatures. Astroland's is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday starting at Noon. On Friday, children's rides and the Cyclone open at Noon, with other rides open at 4. On Sunday, the Hungry March Band is scheduled for 6 PM and mariachis will be on the boardwalk from 4PM to 6PM.

Paper copies of the petition can be signed at the Coney Island History Booth, which is located on Surf Avenue, beneath the Cyclone. (It will be open from Noon-6, Friday through Sunday). The petition can also be signed and also downloaded from the Save Astroland website.

GL Analysis
GL will go out on a limb and suggest that the premature closing and demolition of Astroland is another PR disaster in the making. While the developer would gain a significant amount of goodwill by agreeing to keep the park open until the land is legitimately needed for development, early closure is unlikely to win any friends in New York City or Brooklyn. One would hope that an agreement on a lease extension at a reasonable rent (the current rent is $180,000 and Thor Equities was said to be asking for $3 million for next year) is forthcoming. While we are fully aware that the owners built their own coffin, so to speak, by selling to Mr. Sitt, the developer has the ability to delay digging the hole and lowering it in. It is, in fact, a very simple way to cultivate support.

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