¡Fo Reels, Yo! (...and for rants, and for other things too.)

June, 2008
(Rant updated, November 18th, at bottom of page, with video link.)

the first Mermaid Parade came to Coney Island back in 1903. The 2008 edition took place this past Saturday, June 21st.  Was it the last?  Joe Sitt of Thor Equities hopes so.

With the promise of bringing in a world class water park, he's spent the past 4 years buying both, Coney's amusement area, and support from local politicos like Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Councilman Domenic Recchia.

Now however, Sitt's is more focussed on rezoning and redeveloping this amusement empire which dates back to the 1870's.  Described by PBS as an Electric Eden; America's first playground; home to the world's first roller coaster, hotdog, and (believe it or not) incubators!    

Sitt is looking to use all but 9 (out of a total of 61 acres) acres of land to build high rise condos, hotels, and time shares.  Even several of the 9 sparred acres will be rezoned for amusement and "entertainment retail" meaning Astroland Tower could soon be replaced by a Nike Town or a super sized Starbucks.  This is only part of what will be missed if Joe Sitt wins:

Crowds build (Parachute Jump in the background) as parade is about to start:
Dick Zigun, founder of Coney Island USA, leading the ceremonies: 
Message to Recchia and Sitt:
Unless stopped, the contractors and condos will be coming soon: 
This mermaid is trying her best:
Mmm, nothing says "Coney" like a grandisimo double mocca latte:
The Trojan Seahorse.  No doubt, a gift to Coney Island from Joe Sitt:
Of course Coney Island should be about fun, not politics.  With that said, here are the Mermaids on Parade!!!
And finally, the boardwalk crowd after the parade, again with Parachute Jump in the background: 
Not quite Disneyland's Main Street Parade, huh?

So what can be done to keep Coney Island (NYC's last amusement area located on NYC's most popular beach, with subway access to 4 major lines) the people's playground?

Well, if you're in the area, please join the "Save Coney Island Coalition" tomorrow, Tuesday, June 24th, 6:00PM at Lincoln High School (2800 Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn, NY) for a public meeting. (Note: Lincoln High School is located 3 blocks north of the Q train's Ocean Parkway station)

The Save Coney Island Coalition says YES to revitalizing Coney's world famous amusement zone, but NO to:

  1. 26 new high rises of up to 30 stories each.
  1. Retail malls in the entertainment district.
  1. Shrinkage of the amusement zone from 61 to 9 acres.

If you can't make it to the meeting, but still want your comments documented by the city, please write your thoughts to: 
Rachel Belsky, NYC Economic Development Corporation 
110 William Street 
NY, NY 10038

Or phone her at 1-212-312-3718 
Or fax her at 1-212-312-3989 
Or e-mail her at:

Comments will be accepted until Friday, July 11th, 5:00PM.

If you'd like to reach out to Mayor Bloomberg, Councilman Recchia, or City Council President, Christine Quinn, please e-mail them at:

Mayor Bloomberg can also be reached at: 
Or phone him at: 1-212-NEW-YORK 
Or fax him at: 1-212-788-2460 
Or write him at: 
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg 
City Hall, NY, NY, 10007

If you're anywhere outside NYC, but simply love Coney Island please help by sending Mayor Bloomberg a post card. Remind him that every non New Yorker is a potential visitor to New York. Remind him that most Coney Island visitors go for the sand, waves, amusements, boardwalk dives, but NOT for generic retail, formulaic restaurants, malls, and certainly NOT for luxury high rises.*

The future of Coney, indeed:
UPDATE - November 18th, 2008: The Municipal Art Society sponsored a conference last night at the Brooklyn Academy of Music to unveil "Imagine Coney" an alternative plan for the People's Playground.  One which, does not feature condos, and works with the community to preserve Coney's past while building a greater future.  

Click on "movie reel" icon below for a 20 second video clip from WNBC News 4 New York, who was there, covering the event: