Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Coney Island Death Watch: Reactions to Coney Island v 2.1

So, now that the new renderings of Coney Island have been marinating for 48 hours, give or take, it's time to look at some reactions. To us, Jen Chung at Gothamist hit the story dead on with her headline, "Coney Island Developer Wants Residential Zoning." The developer is trying to sell it as a "new amusement park" story, but the two things that jumped out were the almost matter-of-fact way that the four highrises that are part of the plan were mentioned and the plan to put luxury housing near the boardwalk.

Let's review, starting with our own thoughts:

1) Gowanus Lounge. We think the real meat of Thor's plan is the plan to build housing in the amusement zone. In any case, Thor's images can't be taken too seriously as they will be replaced by new versions many times.

What an odd vision of Coney they present, though. The renderings are a mishmash of buildings and symbols that desperately try to scream CONEY ISLAND. All the effort does, though, is underscore how completely disconnected they are from Coney's real history. Why else do you keep writing Coney Island on multiple surfaces as though visitors need to look up for a reminder? On the other hand, given how Coney's landscape would be altered--with the only survivors being the Wonder Wheel, Cyclone, Parachute Jump and Nathans--maybe visitors will need the reminders. We're glad to see a roller coaster in the plans, but this is a not a plan for a new amusement park. We still feel like we're looking at attempt to combine a fake Times Square with a Las Vegas vision of Coney Island and overlay it on a trippy shopping mall. What the drawings don't show--highrises up to 40 stories--are more important than what they do show.

2) Kinetic Carnival. "Now Thor throws in a generic roller coaster and promises the traditional Coney aesthetics combined with a modern take. Yet, the drawings still seem to be rehashing the same futuristic glam-rock glitzy vision.

And like it or not they are underlining the need for the residential structures and the high-rise hotels by stating that; including them are the only ways to assure revenues for the project because amusements do not generate enough money and are too seasonal. Though this is true, what most people want to see is a bit of that old traditional Conyesque architecture finally thrown into the mix. And also a bit more concrete clarity in the next designs. These renderings are too busy and in fact have an over-the-top Vegas feel or a Salvador Dali hangover- as if they are meant to confuse and stall for answers.

Again - as of yet it looks like Thor and company still do not have a concrete vision and merely improvising and presenting to us a muddled and vague colored sketching of a Sitt dream as he rolls out of bed before grabbing his coffee and heading to Thor headquarters."

3) Polis. "Not much can be added to the renderings, except to say that I don’t see a whole lot left of the freakshows. Other than a nod to Nathan’s, there’s absolutely nothing here to reassure people that Thor will respect the history of Coney Island. One can only hope that the collapse of the real estate market will seriously scale these plans back to a more subtle version of Las Vegas."

4) Gothamist. "Thor would rather concentrate on residential development because the amusements are more seasonal. Which means that the city would have to rezone Coney Island for residential use - and that could be another big Brooklyn development debate."

5) New York Sun. "Thor wants to spend $1.5 billion to restore the amusement district to its former glory, transforming it from a place to spend a summer afternoon into a year-round destination, and giving it the feel of Las Vegas, Orlando, or Atlantic City...The plan has a catch. Thor says it needs the city to enact a zoning change to allow residential and hotel development in the amusement district. Thor wants to build as many as four towers on its site, comprising two hotels, a time-share, and an apartment building that could rise up to 40 stories."

6) Dick Zigun. Quoted in the Sun, saying, "I'm not one of the people who says no-go on Vegas. You can build Brooklyn's Times Square at the beach. Before you know it, you will be able to have a Starbucks latte at the beach, and hopefully a giant roller coaster you can throw up on."

7) Coney Island Message Board. From Switchback: "The good news with this picture is that Thor finally released a rendering where Nathans is not missing. The bad news is that many historic buildings are demolished across the street, and it looks like Stillwell is going to become Thors own private property. I know legally there is supposed to be permanent beach access, but judging on how many pedestrian walkways have been closed off in Manhattan by their property owners, I doubt that the city would do much complaining if Thor was to do the same one day. At least we get that crappy 3D mermaid hologram in trade, that is, once the technology is actually invented."



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why did you delete the Zigun post from yesterday...

9:32 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home