Coney Island before the season starts
Eye On Real Estate
Grim, grim, grim.
A look at Coney Island’s Neptune Avenue nearly sent us spiraling into depression.
We headed there the other day to take fresh photos of the Coney Island Pumping Station.
By all rights, it should be an inspiring building to see. It’s from the 1930s and is Art Moderne — which along with its cousin, Art Deco, is one of our absolute favorite architecture styles for reasons too convoluted to share with readers.
We’ve seen 1930s photographs of the pumping station. Beautiful photographs. We know what it’s supposed to look like.
But the long-vacant pumping station, which was decommissioned in 1976, has been shamefully neglected by its owner, the City of New York.
We’ll say it a second time, in case you were speed-reading: The City of New York has shamefully neglected the Coney Island Pumping Station.
And don’t lecture us about there being other economic priorities in low-income Coney Island.
The building at 2301 Neptune Ave. has sat idle as a “surplus property” — that’s what the city calls real estate it does nothing with — for four decades. There have been plenty of prosperous years during that time when the city could have spared some cash to renovate the building for adaptive reuse that would benefit Coney Island residents.
Or better still, the city could have sold the pumping station with strict stipulations that it be redeveloped for Coney Island residents’ use.
After looking at the dejected mess the city has allowed the historically significant pumping station to become, we desperately needed a visual antidote. We hurried to the Coney Island Boardwalk.
Even on a cold March day, it was beautiful.
The minute we arrived, the sun came out, right on cue. The light glittered on the ocean waves. There were salutary sea breezes.
The Wonder Wheel looked wonderful, though the rides along the Boardwalk are still closed for the winter.
It felt like a different country from Neptune Avenue.
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