So I rode down to Coney Island the other day, got off the train, walked through the stylish subway terminal to the intersection of Surf and Stillwell, and I saw—this.
What the hell is this totally nondescript, anonymous, uninteresting, gray-and-glass building doing on the southeast corner of Coney Island's most significant intersection?
Oh, I see from the sign in the window: Thor Equities put it there! Thor, you'll remember, is the development corporation that has been systematically ripping out the heart and soul of Coney for the past few years, buying up land, tearing down great old buildings, kicking out Astroland and doing other wonderful, soul-killing things.
This particular corner used to be the home of the Surf Hotel. It was a crummy little two-story thing, and had been left to rot for years. But it was utterly in keeping with Coney's character. This new structure is—well, how should be put it?—not.
Disgusted and dismayed, I looked across the street and caught sight of the iconic Coney Island Nathan's. Thank God it is still here, and still has plenty of personality! So I walked inside and saw—this.
So, what the hell happened here. And when did it happen? When was the interior scrubbed squeaky clean and filled with television screens showing slow-mo advertisements of Nathan's products? When were the old-time ordering counters at the far end removed and moved to the center, where they now resemble that kind of order stations you'd see at any fast food joint across this nation of our? When did the inside of Nathan's get so boring?