Coney’s illegal furniture stores are packing up

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Four longtime Coney Island furniture stores that are loathed by People’s Playground enthusiasts for taking up prime amusement district real estate are finally packing it in.

The quartet of cheap furniture haunts along Surf Avenue displayed signs this week advertising liquidation sales. Workers at two of the stores, which are near W. 12th Street, confirmed the closures.

“We’ll close in two or three weeks,” said a Coney Island Furniture employee who declined to give his name.

Employees at Lago Furniture also said that the owner was selling, though that was clear to anyone seeing the huge “Space Available” sign in the window. Owners of the two other stores — Astroland Furniture and Home Decor on the Surf — could not be reached for comment.

The pack-up is a boon to those who insist that the furniture stores violate amusement area zoning requiring “entertainment-related retail.” As such, they occupy space that would be better used for rides, restaurants and bars, say many Coney boosters.

“I’d like to see bars and nightclubs move in,” said Dick Zigun, who runs Sideshows by the Seashore across the street and has been a fierce opponent of the couch-hawking shops.

The city rezoned the neighborhood in 2009 to jumpstart Mayor Bloomberg’s vision of Coney as a glitzy tourist destination — an initiative that doesn’t exactly gel with discounted dressers. A Bloomberg administration spokesman has said last year that the city would look into whether the stores are illegal, though it is unclear if the city is kicking out the businesses. The Department of Buildings, which enforces zoning, did not return a request for comment.

But the city has cracked down on the shops in the past: In December, the Department of Consumer Affairs fined the four businesses a total $14,500 for breaking retail rules, including not having written prices, according to the Daily News.

There’s no word yet on what businesses are eyeing the soon-to-be-vacant, one-story spaces.

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Reader Feedback

Chuck Reichenthal from Coney Island says:
It must be noted that this District Manager has been working on ridding Surf Avenue of the furniture stores for some 18 years! Yes, all have opposed their presence, but the Board office has been working with the Department of Buildings, Consumer Affairs, Police and Fire, and the Mayor's office on ridding the area of these stores. Years and years of summonses, visits, court actions, and more have taken place over close to two decades.
June 20, 2011, 9:31 am
Harold Square from Clinton Hill says:
Maybe they could just get Joe Sitt to send in his bulldozers and mow them down. Then it would match the other side of his new, improved Surf Ave.
June 20, 2011, 9:38 am
Chuck Reichenthal from Coney Island says:
The story on the furniture stores may not be accurate..... as usual. (Latest report as of 9:30am, Monday.)
June 20, 2011, 9:38 am
anywho says:
CI sucks.
June 20, 2011, 9:14 pm
Bruce from Coney says:
this is what the person said who wrote in russian, and I quote:

Zdravstvuyte.Pochemu? If the stores are forced off, there will be nowhere for me to buy my sofa and rolls. America believes to be about freedom for all citizens. Now the government acts as Bloomberg KGB. I Spit on a horse which he rode to town! It should be taken to the waste pipe and forced to eat ——! First he forced the promenade outside the shops, stores and streets now! This is a repeat of communism!

To answer him, there is such a thing known as zoning, when those stores opened up, they broke the law. The law througout the nation, especiall here in New York City since as way back to the 60's?? You cant build whatever you want on the land, the city approves what can be built. dont like it? then leave the city.
June 21, 2011, 1:02 am

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