Sandy destroyed a piece of Coney Island history.
Hurricane winds tore apart the iconic red-and-yellow Shore Theater sign atop the shuttered but landmarked cinema at the corner of Surf and Stillwell avenues — but the building’s owner said he’s already talking to contractors to have it rebuilt.
“We’re not going to remove that sign, we’re going to restore it,” said Horace Bullard, who added that the almost five-decade-old marquee would be added to a longer bill of exterior work already underway. “Thank God we hadn’t started on the roof yet, the shingles would be all over the place.”
People’s Playground stalwarts said they were in awe of the damage Sandy wreaked on the sign: two letters were left bent in on the Surf Avenue side. Two more were left hanging perilously over Stillwell Avenue. Then letter “O” was ripped away entirely.
“We were pondering where the ‘O’ went,” said Coney historian and documentarian Jay Singer, who believes the floodwaters claimed the vowel. “It’s probably washed up in somebody’s backyard in Brighton Beach.”
The Chanin Construction Company built the theater in 1925, and the Loews chain leased the property for 39 years, calling it the “Loews Coney Island Theater.” It got the Shore name — and sign — when the Brandt Company took it over in 1964. With pieces now hanging loose, the outlines of the old “Loews” characters have become visible.