So far, Thor Equities’ highly publicized “Festival by the Sea” and “Dreamland” attractions have been a bigger bust in Coney Island than last season’s “Summer of Hope,” − and there isn’t much indication that this weekend will be any more promising.
Earlier this week, a spokesperson for the controversial developer insisted that Memorial Day weekend would bring the official start of the “Festival by the Sea” but was vague on specifics.
“We expect to have rides, the best freaks in the world and local and regional vendors offering everything from locally made jewelry to the Red Hood food vendors,” Loren Riegelhaupt,
Senior Vice President of KnickerbockerSKD, told this newspaper. “Memorial Day weekend is historically the start of the summer, and we are very excited to bring the Festival this year and to grow and get better each week.”
Last weekend’s scheduled opening of the festival on Stillwell Avenue was delayed after the city ruled that the tents Thor wanted to use wouldn’t pass muster in high winds.
Meanwhile, the 25 rides and attractions meant to replace Carol Albert’s Astroland Amusement Park on West 10th Street and Surf Avenue were also a no−show.
A spokesperson for Thor attributed their delay to necessary “upgrading.”
Thor’s problems are only reinforcing the city’s belief and the belief of many Coney Island critics that the developer has always been more interested in scoring huge returns on new condos and hotels rather than building the glitzy Las Vegas−style amusement park principal Joe Sitt proposed.
Thor Equities spokesperson Stefan Friedman vehemently denies that view.
“Every iteration of Thor Equities’ plans for Coney Island has not only included amusements, but has made clear that rides and games would be the centerpiece of our revitalization of the area,” Friedman said. “Any claim to the contrary is just false.”
Last weekend, anyone interested in checking out the “Festival by the Sea” was instead met with a sign reading “Closed Due to Threat of Bad Weather” and the bare bones of the tents erected on Stillwell Avenue earlier this spring.