Thor Equities, the mall developer angling to transform Coney Island’s ragtag carnival of independent shops into a spangled $2 billion resort by the sea, has exiled Coney Island’s reigning misfit Dianna Carlin, declining to renew her clothing boutique’s lease on the Coney Island boardwalk, reports The Brooklyn Paper:
“They have malicious plans for Coney Island and I’m a person who stood up to their plans — and that’s a threat to them,” she said.
Ms. Carlin, whom Chris Shott profiled in The Observer in March, has long been a thorn in the developer’s side, refusing to sign Thor’s confidentiality agreement and organizing demonstrations to "Save Coney Island" on the steps of City Hall.
Today, Ms. Carlin told The Observer that she was not done rabble-rousing and will stage a protest tomorrow alongside the Polar Bears’ annual New Year’s swim.
Even so, Mr. Carlin, 35, indicated she was growing weary of the turmoil: "My New Year’s resolution is I just want more stability in my life. I’m just tired of fighting. I can’t live my life like this anymore. I’m getting too old for this."
Ms. Calin last year paid a mere $1,500 for her space on the boardwalk (not per month, per year). Ms. Carlin said she appreciated the bargain-basement rent, though added that she only got it after Thor’s Joe Sitt agreed to pay for expenses she incurred following earlier tangles with him.
Thor’s decision not to renew her lease has sparked fear among other merchants along the historic boardwalk, according to The Brooklyn Paper. Stefan Friedman, a Thor spokesman, told The Observer that, "Thor has had positive negotiations with a majority of our tenants in Coney Island. We are confident that every single square foot of property that Thor owns in Coney will be open and active next summer."
Ms. Carlin is the owner of Lola Staar, a clothing boutique that sells hand-made T-shirts celebrating the vaudeville and freak-show character of the ocean-front community. In a few months, she plans to open another branch of her shop in the gorgeously restored Stillwell Avenue subway station.