Coney Island’s first luxury high-rise complex has officially opened its doors, offering hundreds of ocean-view apartments and state-of-the-art amenities.
Ocean Drive — at W. 37th Street by the boardwalk — houses a 50-foot pool and a 25,000 square-foot sundeck in addition to its 425 apartments, which rent for between $1,900 and nearly $4,000.
The eccentric developer behind the project, billionaire John Catsimatidis, who amassed a fortune from his supermarket chain Gristedes Foods, claims he saw the sweeping ocean views of the People’s Playground and felt a magical connection to the area.
“I went there on a Saturday and the sun was shining and I fell in love,” Catsimatidis told the Brooklyn Paper. “You breathe in that ocean air and I guarantee that you live 10 more years.”
The apartments range from studios to three-bedrooms, and each boast a private balcony overlooking the southern Brooklyn coast — which is made possible by the buildings’ V-shape tilt that gives even street-side apartments ocean view access from their patios.
The complex’s third floor is the amenities mecca, where renters can find a kids’ playroom, a pool, and a state-of-the-art gym. Residents can also access a large hangout space with billiards and foosball, and can park their cars in a three-story parking garage underneath the building.
The sprawling development also features a 25,000 square-foot sundeck with a 100-inch TV for movie screenings, a bocce court, a putting green, and life-size chess and checkers.
But even for Coney Islanders who can’t pony up the high rent price, everyone can take advantage of nearly half a football field’s worth of retail space on towers’ ground floor — where a supermarket, restaurant, and a drug store are slated to open in the next few months, according to building rep Ralph Zirinsky.
And to ensure that residents’ needs are met, the developers plan to fund a free trolley to take shuttle riders along the one-mile trip between Ocean Drive and Coney Island’s Stillwell Avenue subway station, as well as the upcoming NYC Ferry terminal three blocks away, Zirinsky said.
The endless luxury in the glassy high-rise stands in stark contrast to the surrounding buildings in western Coney Island’s working-class community — which include mostly one- and two-story homes and subsidized housing complexes. Coney Island’s average household income is $54,500 per year, according to city data — meaning that most local families would be paying more than half their income for Ocean Drive’s cheapest one-bedroom apartment.
However, Catsimatidis is not worried about the possibility of Ocean Drive leading the wave of gentrification, saying that he believes “all neighborhoods should have both” wealthy and working-class residents.
Critics of luxury development and the changes it brings should stay in their own lane, he said.
“Let everybody live in their own way. Are they prejudiced against people who are successful and make money?” he said.
In fact, Catsimatidis is himself planning to build more luxury buildings along the iconic boardwalk, including on the Ocean Drive’s adjacent lot — which Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Group also owns.
“We can build three more buildings,” he said. “We’re ready to go, and if there’s cooperation with the city, we will.”