Page C1.1 . 15 September 2010                     
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    Demolition Threat at Coney Island

    by Danielle Del Sol

    Coney Island, New York, an area once known for its vibrant and exciting rides, restaurants, and games, is today marred by blocks of blighted buildings. Although some important revitalization has created the new Luna Park and the Brooklyn Cyclones MCU Park and saved landmarks such as the Parachute Jump and Child's Restaurant on the boardwalk, the landscape is still dotted with fast food joints and convenience stores that are a far cry from what Coney Island once was.

    How to restore the neighborhood, and specifically, what to do with four historic buildings in the heart of Coney Island, is a question currently fueling a battle between New York City preservationists and the buildings' owner, private development firm Thor Equities, LLC.

    Thor Equities has recently obtained demolition permits from the city for two of the structures: the Bank of Coney Island building, which was built in 1923, and the Shore Hotel, built in 1903.

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    According to Save Coney Island, a nonprofit "committed to restoring Coney Island as a world-class amusement destination," Thor Equities has also begun asbestos abatement work, a precursor to demolition, on the Henderson Music Hall, the theater where Harpo Marx made his stage debut. Thor has also targeted the Grashorn Building, the amusement area's oldest structure, built in the 1880s, for demolition.   >>>

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    This article is reprinted from Preservation, the magazine of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, with permission.

     

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    Historic photo of the Grashorn Building, built in the late 1880s at Brooklyn's Coney Island, New York City.
    Photo: © Charles Denson

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    Contemporary modifications to the Grashorn Building obscure much of its original detailing.
    Photo: © Charles Denson

     

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