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Coney landmark to reopen

The Brooklyn Paper
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Coney Island’s “rendezvous of the elite” is on its way back.

A group of real-estate developers have a plan to create a grand eatery and catering hall at the former Child’s Restaurant, a long-shuttered city landmark that earned its swanky nickname during Coney’s 1920s heyday.

“We want people getting married there — walking down the aisle and looking out to the ocean on one side and the Parachute Jump on the other,” said Charles Bendit, chief executive at Taconic Investment Partners, which signed a long-term lease over the summer, but only announced it this week.

Taconic imagines the 25,000-square foot, 14-foot-high-ceilinged Art Deco building as an upscale keystone of the multi-billion-dollar revival that is expected to sweep Coney over the next several years.

“This is beachfront New York City,” Bendit said. “Imagine it lit up with cafés and rooftop dining.”

Rooftop dining would be a return to Child’s earlier life as a flapper-era eatery with dancing under the stars.

“Child’s always tried to create itself as a step up from the rest of Coney Island,” said Michael Immerso, author of “Coney Island: The People’s Playground.”

But Taconic is still facing a challenge. The restaurant is at West 21st Street, far the Stillwell Avenue subway station and the amusement district. It’s even a few blocks west of Keyspan Park.

Right now, its closest neighbor is a public service agency and an overstuffed Dumpster that on a recent Saturday was being looted by a homeless man.

Fresh graffiti covered the metal doors blocking the building’s five entrance arches.

“Hopefully, it’ll get better soon,” said Captain Bob, a Coney Island tour guide who regularly takes groups of tourists to the faded landmark.

“I know I want to get in there.”

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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