Sodom by the Sea
Called “the People’s Playground,” Coney Island is perhaps the most popular piece of New York City’s entertainment puzzle, Times Square and the Bowery having been thoroughly scrubbed of any excitement the past few decades. Chic and refined it’s not—at least not yet—but in terms of crowds, ice cream cones, corn dogs and cheap(ish) amusements, this corner of the city is the one calling.
The season may be over, but the enthusiams persists.
Today, the city’s Economic Development Corporation announced an RFP seeking the development and operation of new amusement rides, game booths and other entertainment attractions at a vacant site at the heart of the Coney’s amusement hub.
Imagine, if you will, the landscape of New York City 15 years hence. A drive to Citi Field in Willets Point takes you past a pleasant if overpriced cluster of residential buildings, rather than seedy chop-shops. Roosevelt Island is home to a sprawling $2 billion applied-sciences campus spinning out an army of developers to populate ping-pong-table-clad start-up clusters from Dumbo to Union Square. On Manhattan’s far West Side, the rezoned stretch of Hudson Yards offers millions of square feet for office space, housing and retail and 14 acres of open public space. You can already see traces of a more built-up, scrubbed-down New York in Luna Park’s freshly-painted Scream Zone, the first new roller-coasters Coney Island has seen in 80 years, and the rapidly-metastasizing arena at Atlantic Yards, which will soon play home court to the rebranded Brooklyn Nets.
It’s hardly a scenario Seth Pinsky could have imagined in September 2008, when Lehman Brothers collapsed just seven months into his tenure as president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), a not-for-profit arm of the Mayor’s office charged with fostering economic growth across the five boroughs.
At the time, Mr. Pinsky was a 36-year-old former lawyer and investment analyst, only a few years removed from a private sector gig refinancing real estate deals for the big banks as an associate at Cleary Gottlieb. He had one big win under his belt—jump-starting the World Trade Center redevelopment project—but he didn’t have “a political bone in his body,” as one insider put it. “People kept saying to me, ‘Wow, you’re the head of the Economic Development Corporation? We’re in an economic meltdown!’’ Mr. Pinsky told The Observer.
“At the time it meant, ‘You must be really crazy.’”
Seth Pinsky, head of the city’s Economic Development Corporation, said that the recent motions to landmark buildings in downtown Brooklyn wouldn’t prohibit landlords there from attracting tenants in search of 21st-Century accommodations.
Mr. Pinsky gave his comments participating in a panel this morning in midtown hosted by the accounting and business consulting firm Margolin, Winer & Evens LLP and came as other panelists, including Mr. Pinsky himself, highlighted the need for new space in the city.
Perhaps the best way to describe Angela Pinsky’s advocacy for the real estate industry is by saying that when she joined the Real Estate Board of New York almost two years ago, she didn’t see her job as much different from the one she was leaving in the mayor’s office.
“I work on a lot of the same issues,” said Ms. Pinsky, who married Economic Development Corporation head Seth Pinsky last summer. “The thing about the real estate industry, it’s very civic minded. Many owners are family businesses and there’s this strong tradition in the industry of wanting projects and policies that are best not just for the industry’s own interests, but for the entire city.
The Staten Island site of a former Naval port base will soon be transformed into 14 acres of waterfront residential properties and retail space, the city announced last week.
Sodom by the Sea
As the Observer first reported last week, it’s been a blockbuster summer out at Coney Island. Both the Cyclone and the Coney Island Sideshow Circus had some of their best seasons ever, and now the city has announced that more people visited the boardwalk than any summer since Steeplechase Park closed in 1964 and Read More
Add another obstacle to the Bloomberg administration’s plans to remake Coney Island: a parking lot.
Despite many an overture to elected officials in southern Brooklyn, the administration has been unable to get anyone in Albany to carry a bill “alienating,” or declassifying, as parkland a large parking lot for the KeySpan Park baseball stadium, a Read More
Yankees President Randy Levine and city economic development official Seth Pinsky, apparently not amused by the subpoenas and bad press they’ve received recently, resorted to a relatively aggressive line of defense at a tense hearing this morning on bonds for the new Yankee Stadium, called by Assemblyman Richard Brodsky.
The new trick Read More
After staying relatively quiet for years on Mayor Bloomberg’s deal for a new Yankee Stadium, Comptroller Bill Thompson has come out swinging, as today he attacked the Bloomberg administration for “incredible mismanagement” of the project.
“Anybody can see that this is simply a bad deal for New York,” he said in a statement. Read More
Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, on a nearly seven-month campaign to battle the issuance of $430 million in additional tax-exempt bonds for the new Yankee Stadium, wants a hearing next week on the project, but the city is not eager to attend.
This morning, Mr. Brodsky sent out a press release announcing that he was holding Read More