Friday, July 10, 2009

This is the Coney Island the Bloomberg Administration Doesn’t Want the City to Have!

(Above, an image of the propsed Coney Island that the Bloomberg administration doesn’t want the public to know would be better and more viable than its own plan.)

The Municipal Art Society has just released compelling visual images that should help people appreciate the efforts underway to save Coney Island from the Bloomberg administration’s plan that will essentially destroy Coney. In all goes well, the MAS images will work synergistically with the wonderfully cogent short new “Public Service Announcement” video by Dick Zigun, the unofficial mayor of Coney Island (which also provides relevant images).

The MAS images make clear the difference between MAS spearheaded recommendations the Bloomberg administration is refusing to consider:

(An open-air amusement area that would look like this.- This represents the minimum 25 acres of open-air amusements industry professionals say are essential for Coney to be viable.)

And the essential destruction of Coney Island the Bloomberg administration is insisting upon.

(This is the little 12-acre strip of open-air amusements the city wants to whittle Coney down to. There wouldn’t be any room for the new rides which everyone says represents Coney’s real future.)

The Bloomberg administration wants Coney’s amusement waterfront set aside for a wall of hotels (see below). It would likely be generations before anything actually gets built, even if what gets built actually turns out to be hotels.

Who would want to stay overnight in Coney Island when there isn’t even a morning’s worth of amusements to visit. (Coney Island’s last hotels were converted to old folks’ homes.) It is likely the land would lie fallow for a number of years, languishing with no financing available, and then who knows? It’s a good bet that whatever would be built years out from now wouldn’t be hotels. Whatever it is, there is an excellent probability that it wouldn’t be outdoor open-air amusement and would probably still be tall and dense.

To see a slide show of the MAS images and also to download a PDF of the entire MAS report with all the images, go to: MAS Submits Coney Testimony to City Council, By MAS, July 9th, 2009. By the way, here is a tip: The MAS “Testimony to City Council” referred to in the article we are linking to is a disappointment: MAS had something to say but they “buried their lead” and their most important points in attachments and references to work they had done before. We hope they have now put such episodes of ineptitude behind them. How do we explain this surprising lapse? It was as if the city suckered them in, perhaps with some sort of ploy about how a “speaking-power-to-power” conversation with city administration officials might result in obviously intelligent and very necessary fixes to the city plan being implemented. Fat chance: All that happened is that MAS was effectively sidelined. Its voice and visions were not expressed during an especially crucial period during the public debate. There is a lot of making up for lost time that needs to be done now.

(Dick Zigun in Save Coney Island video.)

To see the new Dick Zigun video that may make up for some of that lost time and to get an extensive list of Noticing New York links that will take you to in-depth analysis of the issues, go to: Thursday, July 9, 2009, New Video: “Don’t Kill Coney” - A Message From Coney Island’s Mayor!

Not only are MAS’s images informative but MAS has previously been marvelously prescient in producing urban development image projects. MAS was right on target with its "Atlantic Lots" website. That website, predicting that the Atlantic Yards megaproject (yet another Bloombergian mega-vision project) would become just a generic arena surrounded by parking lots, furnished images that have turned out to be exactly right. Right now, Forest City Ratner, the developer proposed to get a monopoly over a swath of Brooklyn, just wants to build a crude airplane hanger style arena. Notwithstanding, FCR would get a blight-inducing ultra-long-term, low-cost exclusive option on many times the acreage needed for that arena. That extra acreage is where FCR would get to put parking lots for perhaps as long as 30 or 40 years. And the developer has already been busy tearing the neighborhood down.

What MAS hasn’t done with its current set of images, which it really ought to do next, is produce visuals of what the city’s plan will look like when it actually fails as amusement professionals predict it will. Given the predictions of failure it is too generous to the city and overly courteous to show pictures only of what the city plan would look like if, against all odds, it succeeded, even as dispiriting as those images of “success” are. Another thing MAS could do is produce images of what Coney could look like if Coney Island’s open-air amusement area could be made even larger. That would be a picture of success.

So, remembering just how right MAS can be (and how overly-polite they are probably being to the city) here is a sampling of some of the other images available in the new MAS presentation.

(How City Planning wants to eliminate the Coney boardwalk.)

(If hotels and other possible development should be built, here is how it can be built north of Surf Avenue in a manner consistent with preserving a open-air seaside amusement area accessible to all New Yorkers.)

(Here is how the city wants to use hotels and other unlikely development to stamp out the amusement area instead.)

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