The Bloomberg administration and the City Council are busy secretly negotiating the future of Coney Island with politically connected developers. But they won’t let Save Coney Island and other fans of the “People’s Playground” into the discussion.
So Save Coney Island is taking its message directly to the people, with some help from Miss Cyclone Angie Pontani. Today, the burlesque bombshell is telephoning literally thousands of New Yorkers (with an assist from robo-call technology) to urge them to help Save Coney Island.
Here’s what she’s telling them:
Hi, I’m Miss Cyclone, Angie Pontani. I’m calling from Save Coney Island. We need your help. The City has put forward a rezoning plan that would ruin Coney Island. It shrinks the famous amusement district, creates a wall of huge high-rises, blocks the ocean, rides and boardwalk. It endangers landmarks like Nathan’s Famous. Please call your City Council member today. Urge them to fix this plan. Coney Island is an American treasure. Let’s develop it the right way. Visit saveconeyisland.net to find out more.
Angie’s telephone calls cap off a busy 10 days in the fight to save Coney Island. Here are some highlights:
• On July 8, Dick Zigun of Coney Island USA issued a video plea urging citizens to call their City Council members and tell them to fix the City’s flawed rezoning plan.
• On July 9, Save Coney Island delivered thousands of petition signatures and postcards to the City Council — with individual packets of constituents’ signatures given to every single Council member.
• On July 9, the Municipal Art Society of New York issued its testimony to the City Council, complete with vivid and detailed, never-before-seen renderings of how their vision for Coney Island differs from the City’s.
* On July 12, a New York Times editorial called for needed changes to the City’s rezoning plan: “We like the Municipal Art Society’s idea of doubling the size of the amusement area and removing hotels from the south side of Surf Avenue. This way, when visitors get off the subway, they will meet sunlight and open air, not a high-rise barricade.”
• On July 13, as the City honored Jane Jacobs with a street renaming, Save Coney Island released a statement from Jacobs’s son, Ned Jacobs, pronouncing himself “appalled” at the City’s Coney Island rezoning plan.
• On July 13, a small army of “Jane Jacobses” — wearing wigs and her trademark glasses — showed up at the Jane Jacobs Way ceremony with signs that said “Jane Jacobs Would Save Coney Island.” Speaker Christine Quinn noted in her public remarks: “I think that Jane Jacobs would be very happy that the Coney Island folks are here today. So thank you all for being here. And if anyone thinks Jane Jacobs’ tradition is dead, they could go to the City Council phone line, where Coney Island folks have been calling in on a regular, regular basis.”
* On July 15, a group of leading historians of New York issued an open letter urging the City to fix its rezoning plan. The current 14 signatories include Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Ric Burns and Pulitzer Prize-winning historians Mike Wallace and Edwin Burrows.
* On July 15, Save Coney Island held a call-in rally in Union Square, helping New Yorkers dial their Council members to urge them to save Coney Island.
* On July 17, Miss Cyclone Angie Pontani telephoned thousands of New Yorkers to urge them to save Coney Island.