Are Coney Island’s landmarks in danger?

August 13, 2010 01:15PM

Grashorn Building at 1104 Surf Avenue on Coney Island

Two years after the disappearance of Astroland, Coney Island preservationists are wary of what the future holds for their local landmarks. Dick Zigun, the unofficial mayor of Coney Island, pointed to several historic buildings on Surf Avenue that eluded attempts at landmark protection and could soon be demolished. Structures such as the Grashorn Building — built close to 1889 and which is Coney Island’s oldest — are in danger, as is Henderson Music Hall, where the Marx brothers launched their careers. “The street from Nathan’s to the Cyclone is fairly intact and looks pretty close to the way it’s looked for the past 100 years, which is invaluable as a movie and TV location,” Zigun told AM New York. Developer Joe Sitt’s Thor Equities, which plans to redevelop those sites, has plans for a “family-friendly games, food, shopping and other activities,” according to a statement. Preservationists insist that these structures could be saved and their uses reimagined. Proprietors of longtime businesses along Riegelmann Boardwalk were also concerned after the landlord — Central Amusement International, recently hailed for reopening the iconic Luna Park on the Astroland site — asked them to justify their business plans to win new leases. [AM New York]