City bulldozes garden for Coney Island amphitheater

Coney Island's West 22nd Street community garden
Coney Island's West 22nd Street community garden

WEEKENDEDITION Coney Island residents are outraged after the city bulldozed a beloved community garden at the dead of night.

Last week, the City Council approved plans to convert the empty Childs Restaurant and the adjacent community garden into a 5,000-seat amphitheater – a $53 million project trumpeted by outgoing Borough President Marty Markowitz, according to the New York Post.

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But construction workers destroyed the 70,000-square-foot Garden On West 22nd Street with little warning, displacing about 20 chickens.

“They destroyed life!” Elena Voitsenko, a 60-year-old Russian immigrant told the New York Post. “‎I came to America to escape from the communist regime. This is more than the communist regime! They came at four in the morning.”

Neither the city Economic Development Corp., which is managing the project, nor Markowitz responded to the Post’s requests for comment. But Mark Cottingham, a consultant for the project, said that the garden, which has been in operation since the 1980’s, was decommissioned in 2004 and was illegal. [NYP]Christopher Cameron