In response to today’s City Council vote to approve the Bloomberg administration’s flawed rezoning plan for Coney Island, grassroots activist group Save Coney Island issued the following statement from its spokesman, Juan Rivero:
This is a sad day for New York City. As a result of this rezoning, people across the city and around the world who love Coney Island could see its historic amusement district shrunk, covered up and blocked off with high-rises, its history destroyed and its potential squandered — all for nothing.
There are numerous places around the globe that have built glorious parks that pay tribute to Coney Island. Here, where we have the original, the city has been all too happy to shrink it out of existence.
The City Council had an opportunity to fix this plan. Unfortunately, it chose not to do so.
This plan shrinks Coney Island’s famed amusement district, leaving behind a tiny amusement park of only 12 acres. It allows four huge high-rises — up to 27 stories tall — in the heart of the historic amusement district, walling off the beach and the rides. It invites developers to tear down Coney Island’s handful of historic buildings, including Nathan’s Famous and others that are more than a century old.
The Bloomberg administration has stubbornly ignored the appeals of the Municipal Art Society, The New York Times, Save Coney Island, longtime Astroland owner Carol Albert, Coney Island’s unofficial ‘mayor’ Dick Zigun and leading New York historians to fix its plan.
This rezoning plan will irreparably damage Coney Island. Now it’s up to the Bloomberg administration to mitigate that damage by working to increase the size of the outdoor amusement area and by preventing the construction of high-rises in the middle of the amusement district. It is our hope and expectation that it will do so.
Why would Mayor Bloomberg want his legacy to be associated with the destruction of Coney Island’s amusement district — with the destruction of this iconic place? Wouldn’t he rather go down in history as the mayor who restored Coney Island to its rightful stature, and saved it for the next generation?
If the Bloomberg administration does not have the perspective and the humility to revise its plan, this rezoning will be remembered as a disgraceful moment in the history of our city, akin to the demolition of the old Penn Station.
Photo from Who Walk in Brooklyn