Astroland owner: I’ll be back (maybe)!

Astroland owner left to sit and spin
The Brooklyn Paper / Gary Thomas

The woman who kept Coney Island’s Astroland alive during the neighborhood’s long decline only to see it close down one season too soon says she wants back into the action.

Carol Albert, who sold her land to landowner Joe Sitt, who didn’t renew her last year, says she will make a pitch to reopen the space-themed amusement park now that the city has bought her land back from Sitt.

“Of course I’ll make a proposal,” Albert told The Brooklyn Paper days after the city issued a call for bids last week to run an amusement park on an interim basis until the city can bring in a permanent theme park operator and, if it all goes to plan, transform Coney Island into a 24-7-365 resort, entertainment, retail, and games destination.

Albert said she still has all the rides — except for the water flume — from the day Astroland closed for good last year after Sitt declined to offer her a third one-year lease extension. Such extensions were necessary because Albert sold her land to Sitt in 2006 for $30 million.

“I’d like to put a new amusement park there, with all the old rides and some new,” she said. “I’d bring in lots of new rides.”

Albert, who is attending an amusement park operators’ convention in Las Vegas, expects to face serious competition from some big-time theme park owners and ride manufacturers, who are beginning to get into the amusement park game.

Experts said that they expect bids from many companies, including the one that operates the Victorian Gardens amusement park in Central Park during the summertime. That company, Zamperla, did not return a call for comment.

Neither did Jim Seay, a well-known ride manufacturer who was on a city-commissioned Coney Island advisory panel earlier this year. Seay is expected to make a bid, too.

For now, city officials, who are drumming up business at the same Vegas convention are mum.

“We’ve received great feedback so far from a number of amusement operators,” was all that David Lombino, a spokesman for the Economic Development Corporation would say.

The city request for proposals seeks “the introduction of amusement rides and ancillary uses beginning for the upcoming 2010 season and extending for a term of up to 10 years.”

It said that the city would spend $2.2 million to ready the site for next summer — though not make significant infrastructure improvements.

“It is expected that the operator will use temporary toilets and generators,” the request for proposals stated.

It is unclear if Albert even has a shot at getting the Coney contract. Though many visitors think Astroland and Coney are one and the same, the city is now partnering with her foe, Joe Sitt, in uniting to rebuild the area, with the city taking the lead on the open-air amusement park and Sitt having a great deal of control over the construction of adjacent hotels, retail and indoor amusements.

In many ways, Coney watchers say, Sitt relieved the Bloomberg administration of a big headache: what to do with the underwhelming Astroland.

Still, Albert will fight to get back.

“My heart is in Coney Island,” she said. “Everybody knows that.

“Plus, the name ‘Astroland,’ which is synonymous with Coney Island, is trademarked,” she added.

How the land breaks down in Coney Island.