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Amusements Work For Everyone in Coney Island, MAS Testifies at Community Board Hearing

coney island boardwalk sunset sky

The Municipal Art Society testified Wednesday evening at the public hearing held by Brooklyn Community Board 13 on the City’s proposed rezoning of Coney Island.

Citing our concerns that the proposed rezoning would threaten the potential of Coney Island to succeed as a major, world-class entertainment destination, MAS recommended key modifications to the City’s plan and other critical steps the City must take to revitalize Coney Island.

Stuart Pertz of the MAS Planning Committee before Brooklyn Community Board 13, Wednesday, March 4, 2009.

The MAS appreciates the focus and the energy that the city has brought to Coney Island, but has deep concern over the proposed rezoning. Simply put, we are concerned that it would gravely limit Coney Island’s potential and may not work.

We urge the Community Board to join us in recommending the following changes:

  • The area of outdoor amusements should be expanded from 12 to 25 acres so it can contain the anticipated attendance of 3.5 million people and truly become the World’s Playground once again.
  • The four high-rise hotels that are currently located on the south side of Surf Avenue – and would rise up to 270 feet – should be moved to the North Side of Surf Avenue. Their current location walls off pedestrians from the Ocean, changes the Coney Skyline from amusements to highrises, and would privatize the amusement area
  • The City should move to landmark Nathan’s, the Shore Public Theater and other historic structures within the rezoning area. We have lost too much of Coney’s historic fabric in recent years and protecting these structures is critical.

This rezoning, even if significantly changed, will not by itself solve Coney’s problems. We therefore hope the Community Board will also join us in calling on the City to take the critical steps it needs to take to truly revitalize Coney Island: buying the land for a publicly-owned amusement area, developing a specific vision for it, and perhaps most importantly of all: beginning NOW to revitalize Coney Island with interim amusements and activities.

It will take an extraordinary effort to revitalize Coney Island. MAS is hoping to play a constructive role in this undertaking because we think very little is more important to the city than restoring the World’s Playground.