Monday, September 19, 2005

Coney Island, Part III

I like the idea of recreating historic New York neighborhoods in Las Vegas (i.e. the "East Village" is being built in Sin City), not recreating Las Vegas in historic New York neighborhoods. But indeed, that appears to be what is happening at Coney Island. New York magazine confirms some of my worst fears about redevelopment plans for Coney Island in a feature out this week by Greg Sargent:

Over the past few years, [Joe] Sitt’s real-estate company, Thor Equities, has quietly spent nearly $100 million buying up a huge swath of Coney Island … Sitt’s scheme for reviving the world’s once-premier amusement park is far more ambitious than the whispers suggest. He plans to build a glittering resort paradise right next to the Coney Island boardwalk—a retail and entertainment colossus every bit as outrageous and flamboyant as the Bahamas’ Atlantis. The plan includes megaplexes. An indoor water park. A 500-room, four-star hotel—four stars, in Coney Island!—and, at the center of it all, an enormous, psychedelic carousel laced with visual cues to a Coney Island that Timothy Leary could have dreamed up. ... The total price tag: $1 billion, which Sitt hopes to raise from private investors. Sitt has seen Coney Island’s future, and it looks like Vegas—turned up a few notches.

Oy. More on my misgiving about redevelopment plans for Coney Island here and here (or just scroll down).