Other Webspaces -
N.Y. Metro Transportation Advocacy
Auto-Free New York
Bridge Tolls Advocacy Project
Car Free Bedford Avenue
Citywide Coalition for Traffic Relief
"Mobilizing the Region"
Move NY & NJ
New York Public Transit Association
Right of Way
Save Mass Transit Coalition
Tri-State Transportation Campaign
National Transportation Advocacy
American Passenger Rail Coalition
American Public Transportation Assoc.
Coalition for Appropriate Transportation
Daily rail news clippings from UTU
League of American Bicyclists
National Assoc. of Railroad Passengers
Academia & Smart Growth
Center for an Urban Future
Center for Urban Policy Research
Columbia University Urban Planning
Congress for the New Urbanism
Initiative for a Competitive Inner City
Professor Donald Shoup
Professor Vukan R. Vuchic
Regional Plan Association
Smart Growth Online
Access for All
The Death & Life of Great American Cities
Downtown: It's Rise and Fall: 1880-1950
The Geography of Nowhere
Transportation for Livable Cities
NYC Planning & Development
Bronx Overall E.D.C.
Dept. of City Planning
Citizen's Housing & Planning Council
Empire State Development Corp.
Lower Manhattan Development Corp.
NYC Dept. of City Planning
NYC Dept. of Parks & Rec.
NYC Economic Development Corp.
NYC Housing Development Corp.
NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission
N.Y. Industrial Retention Network
N.Y. Metro Transportation Council
Partnership for New York
Project for Public Spaces
Sustainable South Bronx
United Nations Development Corp.
Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone
U.S. Rail Service Providers
American Orient Express
Altamont Commuter Express
Long Island Rail Road
MBTA Commuter Rail
New Jersey Transit
Shore Line East
South Shore Line
Trinity Railway Express
Virginia Railway Express
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Authenticity vs. the Coney Island Strategic Plan
A while ago, I posted an item linking to Juan Rivero's urban planning master's thesis about the City's recent efforts to revitalize Coney Island. When I wrote that item back in June, I was so fixated on Keyspan Park, which Mr. Rivero partially lamented, that I forgot to mention the ideas for Coney Island that are still up for discussion. Mr. Rivero writes in to note that the ballpark is for better or worse a permanent component of Coney Island's amusement district, and he redirects our attention to more timely concerns regarding the City's plans for the future of Coney Island:
Keyspan is over and done with. I'm much more concerned about the CIDC, which as you know is finalizing their plan [for the future of Coney Island]. In many ways, the CIDC has done a tremendous job thus far. But from day one, the City has operated under the assumption that one of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of the redevelopment of Coney Island was its seasonality. The CIDC has chosen to address this problem by introducing in the Amusement District residential uses and year-round commercial uses. These have been sold to the local community in terms of the jobs and street vitality that they would generate. Understandably, the underserved local community has welcomed this proposal with open arms. However, resident-oriented year-round retail does nothing to generate tourist demand; and it is tourists and visitors who sustain the amusement district. Not only do residential uses not enhance the district, they have historically come into conflict with its designated uses on account of the noise that some of these generate. Hear hear! We're lucky to have inherited a unique city. We should try to keep it that way.
The CIDC, though, hopes to shoot two birds with one stone — to redevelop the amusement district, and to do so in a way that mitigates problems in the surrounding residential neighborhood — problems such as high levels of unemployment and crime. These problems, however, would be best addressed directly rather than through indirect means that risk eroding the Amusement District's capacity to operate as a city-wide recreational venue. Already, residents have been clamoring in community meetings for 6 to 8 story residential along Surf Avenue; some are clamoring for a Costco and a New Roc City. Such development may certainly be better than nothing, but that, much more than the stadium, would represent a squandered opportunity, because there is value associated with the history of coney island, and corporate retail is not in a position to promote that history in an interesting way. The best that the CIDC can and should do is simply pave the way for synergies between entrepreneurs and creative talent to happen. THAT, unlike residential and ancillary uses, does stand a chance of yielding unique development and uses that build on the Coney Island brand substantively.
To illustrate my point, look at the example of two current Coney Island entrepreneurs, Lola Staar and Coney Island USA. The former has started a line of Coney Island-inspired clothing that is sold in stores throughout the City and beyond. The latter has launched a burlesque revival [pictured above -ed.] that has spread throughout the City, sparking a renewed interest in a form of performance indigenous to, and closely associated with, Coney Island. Both ventures have, in their respective ways, built on the legacy of Coney Island, promoted its uniqueness, and drawn attention to it in a way that corporate retail could never do. An influx of corporate retail would homogenize this most distinctive of neighborhoods. In that respect, far from representing an optimal cure for the problems of Coney Island, such development would undermine the area's potential tourism appeal as well as its value as a national landmark. I find it ironic that the most generic little town does its best to set itself apart from other towns by highlighting its history. But New York, which actually does have a rich heritage to draw from, often spends its time and money in efforts to look like Nowhere, USA.
- An Opportunity Foregone at Coney Island [S&F]
- Coney Island: Planning Nostalgic Space
- Coney Island Going Vegas, Baby [Curbed]
- Coney Island Strategic Development Plan [Coney Island Development Corp.]
- The Incredibly Bold, Audaciously Cheesy, Jaw-Droppingly Vegasified, Billion-Dollar Glam-Rock Makeover of Coney Island: A first look at its not-preposterous future. [New York Magazine]- Posted at 10:18 PM |
Comments: 3 | |
The corporate mind is profoundly, hopelessly retarded.
It looks like they want to build this huge gleaming mass that just screams out to the ocean: "Send me a hurricane! Send me a hurricane!"
In all seriousness, as you can tell from the City's PDF hurricane danger zones map, Coney Island is the most at-risk part of the city when it comes to hurricanes.
About S&F Lively neighborhoods.
Starts and Fits is published in New York City by Aaron Donovan. For more information or to obtain an rss feed, see
S&F Special Feature
Favorite Posts On …
St. John the Divine
East 96th Street
70 Pine Street
The Brooklyn Bridge
20 West 40th Street
Manhattan Gas Stations
Bronx Housing Boom
Planning & Urbanism
Municipal Art Society
The Next American City
Bagel in Harlem
Big Cities Big Boxes
Bird to the North
The Box Tank
Hot in Harlem
J. H. Kunstler
J. P. Reardon
Land + Living
The Oil Drum (NYC)
On NY Turf
Save Our Parks
Veritas et Venustas
A Great Place