The attractions at Coney Island have been called some of the greatest around, but the City has plans to make major changes to the area, leading to a very unique protest yesterday. Demonstrators gathered on the steps of Borough Hall in Brooklyn – Coney Island business owners and advocates – to protest a plan to revitalize the amusement park, and they did it the way you would expect.
“Yes, we’re clowns, we’re freaks – we’re radical Americans!” one speaker said.
The city council will be voting on a plan this week, backed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to change Coney Island as New York knows it.
“We’re seeing large retail killing small businesses,” a protestor said.
If passed, new condominiums would go up near the amusement park, as would a hotel and an indoor amusement park – in addition to 12 acres of outdoor space.
“The main problem today is the outdoor amusement park is way too small, a tiny strip of area hemmed in by several stories of a big mall area and high-rises that block everything,” protestor Juan Rivero said.
City officials say that over the years, the park has gotten smaller and deteriorated. Their plan is to build upon what’s already there to create a 27-acre amusement and entertainment district that kids and adults alike can enjoy year-round.
“We would love to revitalize the park for the kids and everything – we love coming here,” park visitor Stephanie Mizrachi said.
Dianna Carlin says she lost a business in Coney Island when a developer took over. Now, she’s concerned about her second business, a roller rink on the boardwalk.
“My dream was to stay in Coney Island and grow my business, but now my future is very uncertain there,” Carlin said.
The same group will continue protest until Wednesday, when the city council votes on the plan.
Opponents of the plan also say it doesn’t make sense to build high-rises near a noisy amusement park.