Coney Island amphitheater plan sails through city approval

New York /
Dec.December 05, 2013 05:25 PM

The transformation of the former Childs Restaurant in Coney Island into an amphitheater, a pet project of outgoing Beep Marty Markowitz, has received a key nod from the City Planning Commission.

The 13-member panel endorsed the proposal Wednesday, after which Markowitz pointed again to its potential benefit to the neighborhood in the way of jobs and infrastructure improvements, Brooklyn Paper reported.

Critics of the plan, however, remained unconvinced — arguing that plugging the project with $50 million in taxpayer funds is misdirected in an area that still struggles against heat and power outages, and where a number of stores remain shuttered since Hurricane Sandy flooded the area. There are also concerns about new issues the amphitheater will bring, such as increased traffic and noise.

Coney’s Community Board 13 voted down plans to transform the building in September, saying the project felt rushed and arguing for a Community Benefits Agreement that would guarantee well-paid, full-time, year-round jobs for area residents and regular public access to the building.

Markowitz and City Planning aim to ram the project through before the Bloomberg administration officially ends — and the borough president leaves office — in January, critics said.

“It’s a desperate last attempt to rape and rob Coney Island,” Sheila Smalls, a member of the People’s Coalition of Coney Island, told the Brooklyn Paper.

The property’s owner, iStar Financial, is renovating and would operate the building. [Brooklyn Paper]Julie Strickland


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