Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Coney Island Deathwatch: Reactions to Astroland Demise

It didn't take long for the community at the Coney Island Message Board to react to news of the sale of Astroland to Thor Equities. Here's a sampling of opinion:

1) This sounds like another project that will ram a development, like it or not, down the community's throat - similar to Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards...It is going to be interesting to see how south Brooklyn reacts to this. They have offered overwhelming supported Ratner's mega-development, sweetheart deal in northern Brooklyn - much to the dismay of people who will actually have to live in that project's shadow. Now, we will see how they react to this similar "single developer" giveaway in their own backyard. It won't be so exciting having a huge development increasing traffic beyond road and infrastructure capacity when its in their own yard. (Maybe it's Karma).

Anyway, Thor now owns C.I. I think the CIDC has done a great disservice to C.I. and this city by not demanding a diversity of development. Coming soon: million dollar condos to the C.I. boardwalk and SEASONAL rich folks complaining about the noise. SEASONAL rich folks complaining about the poor people hanging on the boardwalk at night. Seaside condos sold to SEASONAL buyers, who will offer NOTHING to the economy of C.I. in the off season.

Watch for the glitzy grand-opening of Sitt's follie. Coney Island will never attain a "year round" economy. I think the CIDC has really screwed the residents of this city and Brooklyn. --BrooklynRider

2) I am wondering if Thor will buy Deno's too. Excuse me while I jump for joy!!! I wouldn't be surprised if this project goes over $2 Billion now. To hell with Great Adventure and Disneyland, CONEY MAY END UP BIGGER THAN BOTH PUT TOGETHER!!!!...Bloggers may write all their negativity now........ --Amuse1

3) I am just worried that the same thing that happened to the Steeplchase property after Trump bought it and was unable to get a zoning change could happen to all the Thor property. Only this time a giant sized vacant lot that will be there for decades to come. Even if Thor sells the land back to the city, will they sell the land to Disney or some other amusement developer, or will they fence it off and keep it vacant for decades? --Switchback

4) Look at Rockaways Playland! The developer bought the property, and couldnt get the neccesary rezoning, and the property DID sit vacant for 20 years or so! But, I dont think the zoning is a problem at all! Joe Sitt didnt spend all this money without already knowing he will get his way. Sitt bought the Washington Baths property for 13mil, and sold it to Taconic for 85mil! You think Taconic just spent that kind of money on sheer specualtion? Or did they know something none of us knew at the time? --Thor-Hater

In the blogs:

5) "No longer are amusements in areas prone to cold climates useless during the winter. But perhaps may prove claustrophobic in the summer when we invite our relationship with the outdoors.

Joe Sitt of Thor Equities plans to develop everything from the Aquarium to the Cyclone stadium. Most likely Deno’s Play Land will be the next acquisition. And perhaps the Wonder Wheel will most likely be resituated somewhere else in the area - probably next to wherever they place B&B Carousel." --Kinetic Carnival

And, in the press:

6) "Say goodbye to Coney Island's Astroland Amusement Park." --Bloomberg

7) "It's the last ride for Astroland as New Yorkers know it...The park purchase is the latest land grab by Thor for its plan to add residential, retail, entertainment and other all-weather amusement components to Coney Island. Brooklyn-born Sitt has reportedly laid out more than $100 million so far." --NYDN



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm wondering, will they keep Dante's Inferno or move it? So many dark rides have been lost over the years. There are other parks which have packed up or packing up like Myrtle Beach Pavilion and Bell's Tulsa, OK. Astroland in TX was destroyed. There are others. Florida's Miracle Strip (the wood coaster was saved and moved) . It seems like there's a wave of park closings in the new millennium, fueled by rising real estate values, failing park companies and aging owners. I'm always wondering what park will close next? I still have Dorney Park by me. Dorney seems to have a solid future because of Cedar Fair. The bad thing is Cedar destroyed many of the park's old rides and buildings in the name of "progress" but a few classics are left, including the Whip, Zephyr train ride, and Thunderhawk wood coaster.

10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi again, did you know that Morey's Pier in Wildwood has the same Dante's ride? They rehabbed it with all new monsters two years ago and call it Dante's Dungeon now. Wildwood had it's bad luck with parks and dark rides, some of the piers changed hands and closed or downgraded and several dark rides were lost to fires or tear down. One old dark ride was just torn down this month on Sportland Pier just north of Morey's Pier, it was a double decker dark ride called Dr. Blood's House of Horror and it was shuttered for the past 23 years. It was built in the 70's. A haunted attraction and boat ride called Castle Dracula burned down a few years ago, it was built in 1976.

11:09 PM  

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