Friday, December 01, 2006

Coney Island Conspiracy Theory-O-Rama: Find the Grassy Knoll

Coney Theories

Now that Thor Equities has purchased Astroland and added 3.1 acres to its Coney Island holdings, speculation is rampant among Coney Watchers about what will happen next. Here are the leading Coney Island conspiracy theories as we have distilled them from a detailed look at the Coney Island Message Board:

1) The Phoenix Theory. This line of thought says that there is far more to the Astroland deal than meets that eye. That the Albert family sold Astroland to Thor with some sort of understanding about relocating the park to the big, empty lot next to Keyspan Park. That lot is owned by Horace Bullard, who has sold other Coney holdings to Sitt. Others have identified the land around the Abe Stark complex to the west of Keyspan, but some of that land serves as parking for the ballpark, so it doesn't seem very likely. A big, empty site further to the west, which was flipped by Thor at a huge profit, may be another possibility, but it is more likely to end up as condos.
The Eminent Domain Theorem. We have previouly postulated that the Coney Island deal is shaping up to be quite similar to the Atlantic Yards deal in terms of being controlled by one firm with a big plan. The Eminent Domain Theorem holds that if a land owner like Bullard doesn't make nice and sell, then the city will take the land to, say, move Astroland or amusments to his property.
The Shut the Fuck Up Postulate. We have also compared Thor's Joe Sitt to Bruce Ratner. As further evidence, we cite opinions that Thor is inserting clauses in its contracts with landowners--like the Albert family--that have sold so that they can not speak ill of Thor or its plans. Interesting.
2) The Wonder Wheel Theory. This very plausible theory holds that Deno's Wonder Wheel Park, which is now the hole in Thor's donut, will be the next property to be sold. Believers argue that Thor will either demolish the Wonder Wheel or try to move it elsewhere. We'd wager money on this one, because old Wonder Wheel Park isn't going to sit very well in the middle of Mr. Sitt's Times Square/Las Vegas by the Sea water park-shopping mall-hotel-convention center-condo vision. Not at all. The London Eye Sub-School argues that Sitt will eventually propose a huge new wheel along the lines of London's wheel on the Thames. In fact, there was a huge new wheel in an early Thor rendering of Coney.

3) The Sitt Manifest Destiny Theory. This school of thought believes that Thor will eventually purchase and redevelop everything from Keyspan Park to the Coney Island Aquarium. They say that both the Wonder Wheel and the Cyclone will eventually be toast, believing that what is landmarked can be de-landmarked. We don't place much credence in this theory. The Sitt Manifest Destiny Theory is developed more by the MTA Coney Island Yards Sale School, which is only kidding. We think. Then again, no super-sized New York City development deal is complete without an MTA angle.

4) The Sleeps with the Fishes Theory. The fishes in this school of thought, so to speak, are the ones at the Coney Island Aquarium, which has its own grand renovation plans. Thor, it is said, wants to somehow link its projects directly to the aquarium and that they, in fact, want to build on the aquarium parking lot. The only problem with this plan is that the Cyclone is in the way. The Sleeps with Fishes school agrees with the Manifest Destiny School that the Cyclone is screwed. However, there is a butt-ugly building along the boardwalk that is owned by the aquarium that could easily be bought and demolished by Thor to create the cherished (and no doubt indoor, year-round) Passage to Fishes.



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