Save Coney Island’s 2010 Recap

As the end of the year approaches and everyone is still in the spirit of giving thanks, we wanted to thank you for your support over the past year.  The summer of 2010 was a critical season for Coney Island, with many twists and turns.  From the successful season of the new Luna Park, to the ongoing demolition of historic buildings, to the efforts to evict longstanding Boardwalk businesses, the past half year has shown us that Coney’s future remains precarious, with both enormous potential and profound threats.

Save Coney Island remains committed to a vision of Coney Island that promotes its extraordinary heritage as it is revitalized to become a thriving amusement destination once again.  Now that the rides are packed up for winter, we thought it would be a good time to take a look back on the work accomplished this year – none of which would have been possible without your absolutely vital support.


  1. In March we wrote a commentary, published by the Center for an Urban Future, that made short-term recommendations for enhancing the Coney Island visitor experience. The report led to
    coverage by programs like WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show.” To our delight, some the items in
    our list had come to pass by the end of the season.
  2. Working with leading preservation groups, we prepared an application for the creation of a
    Coney Island historic district that was submitted to the New York City Landmarks Preservation
    Commission. The application was supported by the New York Landmarks Conservancy, the
    Historic Districts Council, Coney Island USA, and the Coney Island History Project.
  3. With the same coalition, we prepared an application for a National Register Historic District
    for the New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). The SHPO responded to our
    application with a Determination of Eligibility for inclusion on the State and National Registers
    of Historic Places. Eventual inclusion on the registers would potentially make government funds
    and tax incentives available for the restoration of the historic buildings.
  4. In September we helped organize a fantastic panel at the CUNY Graduate to discuss how
    Coney’s history could play a part in its future. Moderated by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian
    Mike Wallace, the panel included developer David Malmuth, historian Michael Immerso,
    preservationist Lisa Ackerman of World Monuments Fund, and amusement operator Valerio


  1. With the help of volunteer architects, we created three renderings of Coney’s endangered historic
    buildings. These designs illustrated the tremendous reuse potential of the buildings and offered
    alternatives for redevelopment without demolition.
  2. Our crack team of volunteer graphic designers produced and printed a beautiful map of Coney’s
    amusement area. This map lists all the businesses, services, and attractions, and it provides a
    brief history of Coney. It is the only free map of the area available and we hope to do a far larger print run next season.
  3. In support of our historic district application, we designed and produced postcards addressed
    to the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission. Volunteers collected signatures from Coney
    Island supporters all over the city throughout the spring months.
  4. We created a brochure to bring attention to the significance of the historic corridor that remains
    on Surf Avenue. The brochure includes descriptions of the individual buildings with historic
    images illustrating their unique histories.
  5. We published an Op-Ed in the Daily News calling attention the importance of Coney’s history to
    its redevelopment.


  1. Throughout the summer, we conducted almost 20 free walking tours of historic Coney Island.
    Hundreds of people who joined us and learned about the tremedous opportunities to make Coney
    Island’s rich history central to its future.
  2. We staged two pieces of political theater at Coney Island to bring attention to the demolition
    threat by Thor. The first was a mock auction in which Coney’s mermaids considered adaptive
    reuse scenarios for the area’s historic buildings. The second was the Rally of the Many Marxes
    held at Henderson’s Music Hall, where Harpo Marx made his stage debut.
  3. In addition to these things, throughout the year volunteers from Save Coney Island have initiated and
    attended meetings with a variety of experts and stakeholders — from preservation organizations, to
    developers and state and city agencies — to advocate for the best Coney Island possible. In order to build
    on the successes of this last year, to keep our initiatives active, and to explore new strategies we rely on
    your continued support.

To all of you who contributed, volunteered your time, or even attended any of our events: none of this would have been possible without you. Thank you.

Please donate to support our work by clicking on the “Donate” link at the top of the left column.

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