Steeplechase Park circa 1930-45, via Digital Commonwealth
Steeplechase Park was the first of Coney Island‘s three original amusement parks (in addition to Luna Park and Dreamland) and its longest lasting, operating from 1897 to 1964. It had a Ferris Wheel modeled after that of Chicago’s World’s Columbian Exposition, a mechanical horse race course (from which the park got its name), scale models of world landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben, “Canals of Venice,” the largest ballroom in the state, and the famous Parachute Jump, among other rides and attractions.
After World War II, Coney Island’s popularity began to fade, especially when Robert Moses made it his personal mission to replace the resort area’s amusements with low-income, high-rise residential developments. But ultimately, it was Fred Trump, Donald’s father, who sealed Steeplechase’s fate, going so far as to throw a demolition party when he razed the site in 1966 before it could receive landmark status.
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New renderings have been revealed showing real estate mogul John Catsimatidis‘ Coney Island rental project at 3514 Surf Avenue known as Ocean Dreams, shown here courtesy of CityRealty. The American Institute of Architecture (AIA), which is currently taking votes for their People’s Choice award in Brooklyn, has included the 425-unit rental complex among the contenders. The building is being developed by Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Group. Catsimatidis, who has big dreams indeed for the development, proposed a trolley-like streetcar service to access the Stillwell Avenue subway station, and once said he wanted to make the development look like Miami Beach.
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Image: Shinya Suzuki via Flickr
After repeatedly declining to protect the celebrated walkway–even as its wooden planks become increasingly replaced with concrete and plastic as a result of Superstorm Sandy repairs–the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has agreed to add the historic Coney Island Boardwalk to the agency’s list of properties to consider for protected status, according to remarks made at a LPC hearing Thursday, Crain’s reports. LPC chair Meenakshi Srinivasan said the boardwalk–its official name is the Riegelmann Boardwalk–could be protected as early as this spring or summer.
It could happen in time for summer
Rendering of Coney Island North Venture via The Prusik Group
It’s slated to be a big year for Coney Island–and not just when it comes to new rides and attractions. A massive development will join the growing redevelopment of the beachfront locale, which will be home to at least four major projects totaling 2,151 units in the coming years. According to CityRealty, Taconic Investment Partners and The Prusik Group are planning to build a ground-up, mixed-use complex tentatively referred to as “Coney Island North Venture.” It’ll be comprised of 1,000 apartments, 80,000 square feet of office space, and 150,000 square feet of retail along Surf Avenue. The complex will join a new 42-story tower, plus a 440-unit development that will boast its very own trolley.
All the development details
Deno’s Wonder Wheel courtesy of kzoop’s Flickr
Editor’s Note: Due to the extreme cold conditions, Deno’s Wonder Wheel and Stop the Zombies ride will NOT open on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. The B&B Carousell will be open.
Overpriced clubs, surging Ubers, and Manhattan crowds not your thing? Check out the fourth annual New Year’s Eve party at Coney Island’s historic boardwalk instead. Four rides, including the iconic Wonder Wheel, will be free of charge beginning at 6 pm until 9:30 pm on December 31. Nathan’s Famous, Coney Island Brewery, and Tom’s Restaurant will also stay open for the festivities. As amNY learned, there will be live entertainment and the countdown to 2018 will feature a digital “burst” of lights from the Parachute jump at midnight.
Details on the event here
, Mon, September 11, 2017
A rendering of Ocean Dreams from January via Dattner Architects
As part of his “Ocean Dreams” development in Coney Island, billionaire real estate mogul John Catsimatidis plans to build a streetcar that would link the mixed-use project to the Stillwell Avenue subway station in Coney Island. Developed by Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Group, the project at 3514 Surf Avenue includes three buildings between West 36th and West 37th Streets that will feature retail space, 440 market-rate apartments and a 254-car garage. As the Coney Island News first reported, Catsimatidis said the streetcar would be available to everyone, not just residents of his development.
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Photo of Trump Village West via Trump 4 West
Built by Donald Trump’s father, Fred, in 1964, Trump Village in Coney Island features seven 23-story towers with 3,700 co-op and rental apartments. To pay for the $70 million project, which would total $564 million today, Fred Trump used Mitchell-Lama, a government program that granted financial incentives in exchange for setting aside affordable housing. The typical rental contract lasts 20 years, and after that, landlords can opt-out of the program. As Crain’s reported, Trump Village became one of the first co-ops to exit the Mitchell-Lama program in 2007, letting residents sell their apartments for whatever the market allowed. Owners of 38,000 Mitchell-Lama apartments, representing 28% of the program’s housing, have left in the past 20 years. But as the value of these apartments, which were once affordable, keeps rising, New Yorkers looking for affordable housing there, and other former Mitchell-Lama apartments, may be out of luck.
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Deno’s Wonder Wheel courtesy of kzoop’s Flickr
While New Yorkers have been celebrating the historic seaside resort all summer long, this weekend the Coney Island History Project is hosting its seventh annual history day. On Saturday, August 5, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., attendees can learn about all of the classic rides and attractions of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, take a self-guided tour, and listen to free folksy music. Since it was built in 1920, more than 40 million people have experienced the park’s iconic Wonder Wheel.
On June 26, 1927 the Coney Island Cyclone opened in Brooklyn. The iconic wooden coaster, located on the corner of Surf Avenue and West 10th Street, is one of the oldest functional amusement rides in the United States. While it only cost $.25 to ride when it first opened, today it costs about $10. Found at Luna Park, the coaster takes you over 2,640 feet of track at 60 miles per hour, with 12 drops (the highest an 85-foot, 60-degree plunge) and 27 elevation changes in roughly two minutes.
See a historic video of the coaster in action
On this day in 1884, the country’s first roller coaster opened at Coney Island, sparking Americans’ obsession with amusement rides. Invented by LaMarcus Thompson, the ride, called the Switchback Railway, spanned 600 feet and traveled just six miles per hour. Unlike today’s coasters, the Switchback did not make a round trip loop, and passengers exited at the end of the track. The one-minute long ride cost only five cents.
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