November 2017
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As Coney Comes to Life, a Developer Threatens Demolition

bank of coney island

While the City’s Economic Development Corporation is working to create a great summer season in Coney Island by opening a new amusement area and bringing in 23 new rides, one developer announced plans to demolish the oldest historic buildings in the heart of the amusement area this summer. The developer, Thor Equities, plans to replace these historic buildings with temporary shacks for fast food.

On the chopping block are the Grashorn building, built in the 1880s; Henderson’s Music Hall, built c. 1899, where Al Jolson and the Marx Brothers performed; the Shore Hotel, dating from 1903 and Coney Island’s only remaining small-scale hotel; and the Bank of Coney Island, constructed in 1923 in the Classical Revival style and intended to show the strength of the Coney Island business community.

Over the course of MAS’ community outreach on the revitalization of Coney Island, we learned that much of the public appeal of Coney Island lies in its heritage, and there is great public support for preserving the best of Coney’s past while building new buildings and rides on the acres of vacant land that currently exist.

MAS believes that steps should be taken to protect the historic buildings that remain at Coney, including those that are threatened by demolition this summer. Most of these buildings were used by small amusement and food businesses before Thor purchased them, and should be used again this summer to help make Coney Island a lively and fun-filled destination.