Coney Island, Borne Back[br] Ceaselessly Into the Past

Joseph Sitt’s Thor Equities is turning large swaths of Coney Island into a construction site, but, the Village Voice reports, no one should be particularly surprised. Mr. Sitt made his intentions abundantly clear to The Observer last month, and Coney Island’s no stranger to development–and redevelopment–with a dusty past that includes big names in voracious real estate:

By the 1940s, two of Coney’s three Golden Age amusement parks, Dreamland and Luna Park, had succumbed to fire; Robert Moses, the city’s great redeveloper who never hesitated to remake a neighborhood with a sweep of his hand, replaced them with the New York Aquarium and the Luna Park Houses. Moses also bulldozed the ancient working-class neighborhood known as the Gut, handing over the land to Fred Trump, father of Donald, to build still more high-rise housing.

Once Steeplechase Park, with its famed mechanical horse-race ride and soaring glass gaming pavilion, shut down in the mid ’60s, all that was left was an echo of the beachfront’s onetime glory: the landmarked Cyclone and Wonder Wheel, and around them a collection of small-time amusements…

- Tom Acitelli