Less Vegas, more Coney Another new plan for beachfront Mecca scales down original

The Brooklyn Paper
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Reality has already hit Joe Sitt’s development plan for Coney Island.

Where only a few months ago, Sitt was hawking an indoor, Vegas-style complex with a water park, a climbing wall, a blimp port, and a House of Blues theme restaurant, new schematics now show a more subdued face for his proposed amusement Mecca.

Sitt’s “Stillwell Walk” would run from Surf Avenue to the Boardwalk, from W. 15th to W. 12th streets. If it’s built, Coney landmarks such as Ruby’s Bar on the Boardwalk, and Faber’s Fascination, an old-time game salon on Surf Avenue, would be demolished.

Instead of those vintage amusements, Sitt bets on bringing in the Boardwalk’s only movie theater or even a circus.

Sitt owns 12 acres of prime, albeit faded, Boardwalk properties near Stillwell Avenue. He presented the plans to Community Board 13 last Thursday.

Sitt did not return repeated calls from The Brooklyn Papers.

Coney Island insiders — who’ve seen plenty of “renewal” plans burst faster than balloons in a carney sideshow — viewed the new designs with some optimism.

“It’s better than it was, but it still needs some work,” said Dick Zigun, founder of the Coney Island Circus Sideshow and a longtime player in the seaside attraction’s future.

Sitt’s plan for a 19-story condo tower and retail center has drawn intense fire from community members.

“I don’t know why they keep trying this in Brooklyn,” said Zigun, “Don’t they ever learn that amusement parks and bars where people get drunk and loud don’t mix well with housing.”

For now, the condos are just another sandy mirage — unless Sitt can get the city to change the zoning to even allow a residential use. .

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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