Coney Island

Coney Island’s third act is now underway, thanks to rezoning

August 17, 2018 By Raanan Geberer Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Schlitzie's fame began at Coney Island’s Dreamland Circus Side Show in 1922. Eagle file photo by Lore Croghan
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Can Coney Island transform itself from a seasonal amusement area into a year-round community? If so, it would be “Act 3” in the beachfront area’s history, according to The Real Deal.

Act 1 was the heyday of the neighborhood as a fun destination, with hotels, three large amusement parks, hotels, restaurants like Nathan’s and Feltman’s, roller coasters, Ferris wheels, dancing, games of chance and sideshows. Act 2, the years of Coney’s decline, began in the late 1950s and ’60s and saw the closing of Steeplechase Park, the demolition of the original Thunderbolt, the construction of high-rise city housing projects and the rise of gangs.

The current era, according to The Real Deal, began with the city’s rezoning of the area in 2009, a rezoning that the city claimed would bring $14 billion to Coney within 30 years. Developments so far, The Real Deal reported, include the planned transformation of the vacant Shore Theater into a hotel, condo and rental towers that are now in the planning stages, the reopening of Luna Park with new attractions, the construction of a new retail and office complex on Neptune Avenue, and the rebuilding of the New York Aquarium. Older institutions also contribute to the boom, The Real Deal said: The Coney Island Hot Dog-Eating Contest and the Mermaid Parade get more visitors than ever.

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