Coney’s illegal furniture stores are packing up

The Brooklyn Paper
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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 of $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.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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