13 December 2010

Coney Island's Shore Hotel Destroyed

Good-for-nothing, enemy-of-the-people developer Joe Sitt has been at it again, destroying what's good about Coney Island one building at a time. The son of a bitch smashed the Shore Hotel and the Henderson Building to bits the other day.

The old wooden-frame Shore building was built back in 1903.

Boy, do the City Fathers hate Coney Island.

(Photo courtesy of Amusing the Zillion.)


Marie said...


I have no words.

upstate Johnny G said...

Ahhh, Brooks, thanks for your kind words in reply to my post re Elaine's. There are days when my positivity is positively battered. Today is one of those days, thanks to what appears to be the hand-in-glove relationship between the Landmarks Commission and developers. The fact that the hearing on these buildings was delayed FIVE YEARS, and only held AFTER rezoning had been completed strongly suggests that the Commission did this deliberately. They may have felt that "preemptive" landmark designation would hurt redevelopment efforts, but that isn't or shouldn't be their primary concern. It's a conflict of interest is what it is.

Just WHO are the members of the Landmarks Commission, and what are their backgrounds? Real estate sales/development by any chance? Perhaps there should be a peaceful, but passionate demonstration outside their homes or at the next meeting. If Critical Mass can marshal hundreds of cyclists, historic preservationists and neighborhood activists ought to be able to do something similar. It's time to throw some light on things like this....when the people's business is being conducted in the shadows.

On days like this I think of the saying that a fool knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. And I think of the core of Paris, where the law requires facades to be protected, and height restrictions apply. Paris is bustling, busy, full of business, and yet it's beautiful, and I can still go have coffee at the Procope, is still going strong since opening in 1686!!

People have been conditioned to value "newness" above almost everything. The vast majority of ads on television are for new cars or new drugs. We worship new technology - look at the people rushing to buy "4G" phones when the reality is that NO network currently provides anything CLOSE to 4G service. And look at how we treat old people - stuff them into nursing homes to die.

Perhaps what we're seeing in NYC is a fundamental transformation wherein history AS A CONCEPT is being discarded. NYC may be becoming a place that only recognizes "short term" history, going back perhaps only 10 or 15 years at most. The focus is almost entirely on the future and even minimally on the present. This is what many people take to be "progress", with "new" being automatically preferable to "old" or "historic". It doesn't have to be this way. Imaginative re-use of historic structures is a valid means to "progress". But when the "highest use" of a piece of land is assumed to be that use which promises the most revenue for the developer, history will always come in second to gleaming glass towers.

Marie, I think that despite all my words here, you have still better captured my feelings with your comment!

Now I will go down to Le Veau d'Or to see M. Robert (and yes, that is his daughter there) for a bite of lunch and then later on to Bill's Gay Nineties for a drink and maybe a chat with Jack about this year's college basketball season. Tomorrow, if my spirits have not lifted, I'll stop by Grand Central's Oyster Bar for a palliative dozen or so then go stare at the murals in Bemelman's over a couple of martinis. Sanity should be restored by 3 pm or so.

Marie said...

Johnny G - I have also been thinking about the Landmarks Commission...

Incidentally, I had confused the Shore Hotel and the Shore Theater, and Amusing the Zillion set me straight. You see the Theater has been Landmarked today? I'm sure Brooks will be on it :-)