Gowanus Lounge has the text of Dick Zigun’s resignation letter from the Coney Island Development Corporation. The Mayor of Coney Island is rather peeved at the Bloomberg administration’s current plan for the amusement mecca. As he told my colleague Eliot Brown in May, "The new plan sucks."
Mr. Zigun elaborates in his letter:
I write this open letter of resignation from the position you appointed me to as a Director of The Coney Island Development Corporation effective Tuesday, June 24th, 2008 6 PM, the exact date and time of the first public hearing on the revised rezoning of Coney Island. I urge you to withdraw this deeply flawed plan and cancel this hearing, but as it stands I cannot leave my name on it. I am particularly disturbed that the Directors of the CIDC have had no opportunity to discuss or vote on these substantial changes to our Strategic Plan – which was the result of years of work and which had achieved widespread neighborhood consensus.
As everyone knows, I am a phony politician, no more than a spokesman and advocate for the amusement industry is this “Mayor” of Coney Island. My fantasy municipality is 61 acres zoned for amusements. Nobody lives there or votes there and most Coney Island fans are tourists who live in the 5 boroughs or other states or countries far away from the real elected officials in Brooklyn. A hundred years ago Coney Island’s amusement core covered hundreds of acres and even in the mid-20th century it was over 70 acres before Robert Moses stole Luna Park and the east end for high rise housing. My 61 acre municipality contains many large empty lots and does indeed need economic development and year round activity. Though I had no hand in writing the CIDC Strategic Plan, I have served as its #1 cheerleader and your advocate as a Mayor who could tackle Coney Island 21st century revitalization. You have done many good deeds for the beach.
The CIDC Plan promised a world class tourist attraction with an entertainment core: lots of rides complimented by year round nightclubs and enclosed waterparks. Instead the core will now be rezoned for a shopping mall full of NikeTowns, Toys R US and 4 thirty story hotels. One of these massive hotels is even proposed directly in front of The Wonder Wheel, a NYC Landmark. Only 9 acres out of 61 will be reserved for amusement park rides. The original CIDC Plan promised that any condos built within the empty lots of the 61 acres would have Entertainment Retail on the ground floor such as bowling alleys and theaters. Instead the 61 acres now crams in 26 new high rise towers up to 30 stories each with dry cleaners and hardware stories no tourist will ever visit. We worked four hard years for consensus and I for one feel betrayed.
Dear Real Mayor Bloomberg, until my resignation takes effect I remain your honest advisor and the conscience of the CIDC. If no one else will tell you, I tell you and Councilman Reccia that there is almost unanimous dislike of the new plan among amusement park owners, workers and fans. You underestimate the protests, yelling and lawsuits headed your way from a land where legit businesses call themselves Cyclone, Thunderbolt and Tornado! Yes, I know I am asking a lot to expect you to reverse EDC plans, cancel hearings and reverse course on this matter… but didn’t you do just that last month?
If snooty Paris, of all places, can live with Euro Disney why can’t New York City reinvent a 21st century Coney Island the right way? I beg you to return to the balance and consensus that is the CIDC Plan… or else I will have to speak out against the new plan at the hearing June 24th.