After never being able to reopen last year, Coney Island’s Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park will open for the 2021 season on Friday, April 9, the date on which the state said outdoor amusement parks and rides can reopen at 33 percent capacity. For now, the Wonder Wheel will only be open on weekends from 11am to 6pm with advance reservations (there will also be a limited number of standby tickets).
Looking ahead to warmer months, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday said outdoor amusement parks, indoor family entertainment centers, and overnight summer camps in New York will be allowed to reopen. If the state’s coronavirus positivity rate continues to trend downward, indoor entertainment centers can reopen starting March 26 at 25 percent capacity, outdoor amusement parks and rides on April 9 at 33 percent capacity, and eventually, overnight summer camps in June.
Renderings courtesy of LCOR
Real estate developer LCOR last week filed plans with the city to bring a 461-unit residential project to Coney Island. Located about a block from the beach and boardwalk at 1515 Surf Avenue, the proposed 16-story development will rise on the parking lot of Gargiulo’s Restaurant, a 100-year-old neighborhood staple. Gargiulo’s owner Louis Russo agreed to a 99-year ground lease for the lot late last year.
The city is now accepting applications for 34 middle-income apartments in a new 20-story rental in Coney Island located just one block away from the beach. The Sea Breeze Tower, located at 271 Breeze Avenue, contains 115 units and sits across the street from the Asser Levy Park, with the beach and landmarked Riegelmann Boardwalk just a five-minute walk away. Qualifying New Yorkers earning 130 percent of the area median income can apply for the apartments, which range from $1,700/month studios to $2,950/month three-bedrooms.
Coney Island’s beloved Mermaid Parade returns this weekend with a twist. The annual event will be live-streamed online Saturday, August 29 as a “Tail-a-Thon,” a parody of a telethon that will raise real money for charity. Marchers, dancers, and musical groups will be performing live from remote locations and available to view online, starting at 1:30 p.m.
On Monday, bowling alleys were allowed to reopen, and as of this Monday, gyms and fitness studios, as well as museums and indoor cultural institutions can also reopen at a reduced capacity. So why are Coney Island’s amusements still closed? As reported by NY1, Coney Island’s amusement operators have joined the New England Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (NEAAPA) to advocate for a reopening before the end of the summer.
Feltman’s via Boston Public Library
The name Nathan’s has become synonymous with Coney Island, whether it be for the annual hot dog-eating contest or the childhood nostalgia of the boardwalk. It’s also become arguably the biggest name in the hot dog world in general. But, believe it or not, Nathan’s was not the first place to serve up franks in the seaside neighborhood. That distinction goes to Feltman’s, which was begun in 1867 as a pushcart by German immigrant Charles Feltman, considered the inventor of the hot dog on a bun.
While most of New York City’s annual summer activities and celebrations have been canceled or postponed this year because of the coronavirus, one event will still take place. Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest will forge ahead in Coney Island on July 4, but with no fans, fewer eaters, and social distancing measures in place.
Owners of six small businesses in Coney Island, Lola Star Boutique, Nathan’s Famous, Ruby’s Bar & Grill, Paul’s Daughter, Tom’s Restaurant, and the Coney Island Beach Shop, are currently negotiating new 10-year lease agreements with amusement park operator Zamperla. The New York Times reported on Wednesday that the boardwalk businesses are facing rent increases of between 50 and 400 percent each. “We care about Coney Island and its future, and we are dedicated to making it as strong a community as possible,” Alessandro Zamperla, the president of the company, told the Times. “This is why we’ve been working with our tenants to ensure their success and preserve the character of Coney Island.” Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has not come forward with a plan to mediate; according to the newspaper, the rent increases do not violate the agreement between Zamperla and the city.
Plans filed for large apartment building on parking lot of classic Coney Island restaurant Gargiulo’s, Thu, January 9, 2020
View of 1517 Surf Avenue; Photo courtesy of Ace Aerial
The owner of a 100-year-old Italian restaurant in Coney Island has agreed to lease the establishment’s neighboring parking lot to a luxury real estate developer. Gargiulo’s Restaurant owner Louis Russo filed a 99-year ground lease for the lot at 1517 Surf Avenue, located about one block from the boardwalk, with developer LCOR, as first reported by the Brooklyn Paper. According to the developer, plans will likely involve a mixed-income residential development and ground-floor retail.