City to grab unused Coney Island land

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A city plan to seize unused shorefront land in Coney Island doesn’t go far enough, say local leaders.

Mayor DeBlasio will use eminent domain to force owners of three seaside lots to sell the land so he can make good on his predecessor’s 2009 proposal to expand the amusement area of the People’s Playground. But the city should claw back even more land for the public benefit, according to the area’s unofficial mayor.

“I think it’s a terrific idea,” said Boardwalk impresario Dick Zigun. “I just wished they would go further and take the Shore Theater.”

Zigun has long called for the city to forcibly take the crumbling, 90-year-old landmark from the heirs to late Coney Island developer Horace Bullard.

The local councilman agreed the city should intervene in the future of the Shore Theater.

“The land that is now being contested by the city is owned by the same landlord who owns the historic Shore Theater, which has been languishing in decrepit condition for many years,” said Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island). “They have not been responsive to numerous attempts to discuss the future of that site. If they had plans or ambitions to fix up their property, then the community would be all for it, but to let the land rot goes against everything that we’re working for to make Coney Island a year-round neighborho­od.”

The city has been working for years to try and buy the area’s vacant and crumbling properties outright, but landlords have been holding out, hoping the garbage-filled lots will turn into golden eggs amid the Brooklyn’s development rush, Treyger said.

The councilman isn’t taking the mayor’s exercise of eminent domain powers lightly, but he said in this case, it’s warranted.

“It is always preferable for normal and regular real estate business to take place,” Treyger said. “But they’re just speculating to see how the market shapes up. It is extremely frustrating for residents and myself to walk by and see vacant lots holding back our ability to actualize a common vision for the future of our iconic neighborho­od.”

The city will take possession of lots on W. 12, W. 15th, and W. 23rd streets, city officials said. One lot includes the former site of the original Thunderbolt Roller Coaster. It will be at least the second time the city exercised authority over the land — in 2000, then-mayor Rudy Giuliani razed the derelict wooden thrill ride that stood there since 1925.

The parcels are the last ones the city needs to execute a 2009 plan for an expanded entertainment district that includes parkland, additional amusements, and affordable housing, a parks spokesman said. It will be the realization of a major promise the city made to clean up and turn around Coney Island, Zigun said.

“Most neighborhoods that go through rezoning and big projects are lucky to get half of what was promised during the proposal,” Zigun said. “With these projects, Coney will get — in the amusement area — almost everything that was promised.”

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Charles from Bklyn says:
Using eminent domain to take from one private owner to give to another private owner. As far as I am concerned, THIS IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL (Kelo v. New London was wrong and should be overturned). Nice to see our major is going to bat for rich developers. Maybe one day he will help all the non-corporate single landlords in the city. This is a disgrace. Stating this is for the community is not believable. This will force the community farther away ...
Sept. 29, 2015, 1:26 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
If eminent domain must be used, it should only be for public projects only and nothing that is private. The term itself is even defined as taking property for the use of the public. Unfortunately, the US Supreme Court of Kelo v. New London created loopholes for that, which also allowed for Ratner to go along with his infamous Atlantic Yards (or Pacific Park) project despite all the claims against that as well. Another thing is that although numerous states have passed laws on what eminent domain and taxpayer dollars should be used for, which is only for something serving the public and owned by them, NY is not one of those states, and that's mainly because many of the developers are almost in bed with the politicians, though not literally. Of course other wrong US Supreme Court cases include Barron v. Baltimore, Scott v. Sanford, and even Plessy v. Ferguson, and I suggest everyone look those up if they don't know what they are. I really though that de Blasio was going to be the anti-Bloomberg, but it seems to not be the case when it comes to issues such as this.
Sept. 29, 2015, 2:21 pm
Ian from Williamsburg says:
These property owners, Horace Bullard and his daughter, have held this property hostage from renewing this entertainment district for decades. This was only necessary because they let the property waste in an attempt to benefit from people that have invested money into truly improving Coney Island.
Sept. 29, 2015, 9:57 pm
Russ from Park Slope says:
If the people let them do this, it is a only a matter of time until they come for your homes. The founding fathers are rolling in their graves as the capitalism turns into communism. The man died 2 years ago, and the family is "holding out, hoping the garbage-filled lots will turn into golden eggs amid the Brooklyn’s development rush, Treyger said." “But they’re just speculating to see how the market shapes up. It is extremely frustrating for residents" Treyger said. Mr. Treyger its their private property, are you also frustrated that people drive rolls Royce and Mercedes. Why don't you take your family and head back to Russia where you came from, that is where they know how to practice this type of government taking private land from owners. shame on you
Sept. 30, 2015, 2:54 pm
jay from nyc says:
oh good to see all the imitation Constitutional scholars are on here again, leading off Tal "it's all a hamas plot" Barzilai followed by Russ "people who drive rolls Royce ad Mercedes should move to Russia."
News flash geniuses, eminent domain IS constitutional, and "They" have ALWAYS been able to take your house.
In fact, its specifically referred to in the 5th amendment, if you were not such an America Hater you might have actually try and read it every once in a while.
Now shut your commie pie wholes we got stuff to build and jobs to create.
Sept. 30, 2015, 6:52 pm
EDC from troll says:
the only commies here are the ones looking to take away private property de blasio, treyger, torres-springer. robin hoods sorts who think they can take from the hard earned capitalists, workers and give to the poor do nothing slum of coney projects. Mr. Treyger should spent more time with his family to learn about the Communists regime. and for Jay constitutional scholar, you aint got —— to do and no jobs will be created, only the pay offs for the favors. here is more for you Jay: Inverse condemnation is a term used in the law to describe a situation in which the government takes private property but fails to pay the compensation required by the 5th Amendment of Constitution. In some states the term also includes damaging of property as well as taking it.
Oct. 1, 2015, 9:11 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Jay, I don't know what you were taking when you made that comment, but whatever it is, I don't want it. Nevertheless, the government at any level does have the right to take land, but they shouldn't just make it for public use, but also give the person who lived or worked there just compensation as stated in the 5th amendment of the US Constitution. When I say public use, I mean something that will publicly owned, and that can be either a public school, public housing, a government building, a park, streets, highways, electric substations, train tracks, a station house, bus depot, and so many others that are defined by the public. However, something that is privately-owned shouldn't have the right to use this process, because they are not at all serving the public, and the Atlantic Yards, Willets Points, and Columbia expansion are examples of eminent domain abuse. Then again, I guess you would be happy with that, because if this was used for something that was really serving the public, then it must be a communist takeover. Keep in mind that Barron v. Baltimore was all about eminent domain, and made the claim that since a property was confronting the state government for just compensation to make up for their development causing a drought by his pier, his 5th amendment rights didn't apply to them because they weren't the federal government, which lead the ground for states rights until after the US Civil War ended in 1865 when states rights started to be limited, though much of that wasn't really until the turn of the century.
Oct. 1, 2015, 4:19 pm
Bullard Family from Brooklyn,NY says:
Hello, I am Horace Bullard's daughter, and I am dismayed by all the negative speculation circulating online. There are individuals currently spreading lies and slander about me and my father, and it is a terrible shame to see these lies printed by so-called "journalists," who are more interested in a "story" rather than actually reporting the FACTS. Many of you who have replied to this article in particular understand that we do NOT, in fact, live in Russia or other communist society, for when the city or state attempts to insinuate themselves into private matters, it is the start of a very slippery slope that may very well end up at YOUR FRONT DOOR. It is easy to look at a situation and criticize, make rude remarks, and pass judgement on something and someone you know nothing about. On the other hand, as I mentioned, I see many of you who replied here have an understanding that things are not always as they seem, and that private matters should remain just that - PRIVATE. I would like to mention "Russ" and personally THANK YOU for your comment; yes, it has only been 2 years since my Dad died, and I have spent every MINUTE of that time taking care of all the legal, financial, and estate matters that are my responsibility by law (never mind grieving for the loss of my Dad - the city doesn't give a rat's ass about my grief). NY city and state impose EGREGRIOUS obligations on people like me, and unfortunately, fulfilling those obligations is a VERY LONG and costly process that most people do not understand at all. 2 years in, and I'm still immersed in the bureaucratic BS that delays the progress we all want to see. So to those who think I am "holding out" or waiting for "golden eggs" to land on my properties, I'm here to tell you you're WRONG. If you want to blame someone, go blame the CITY. Go blame the ADMINISTRATION. Go blame those who have no interest in seeing the private sector thrive; they want the monopoly, and their greed has NO LIMITS. To those who think eminent domain is a good thing for your community? Think again. Next stop is the street YOU live on, or building YOU live in, don't think it can't happen to you, because again, greed has NO LIMITS, so don't think for a MINUTE that you will be excluded. What would you say if you knew the city's greed for private property is so nefarious, that they would EUTHANIZE 6 INNOCENT DOGS, JUST TO GET ONTO PRIVATE PROPERTY? What would you say to that? Do any of you have pets? Can you imagine someone walking into your home and MURDERING YOUR PET, just to get in the front door and take your property? Is eminent domain worth the murder of your BELOVED PETS? That is the REALITY when city and state muscle their way into the private sector. And the irony is, the more they force their way into the private sector, the further away they push communities from REAL CHANGE. And if you're not seeing the change you want, like with some of my properties, do you think that's MY DOING? You think I want to sit around and pay PROPERTY TAXES ON PROPERTY THAT IS NOT PRODUCING ANY INCOME? Or am I up to my EYEBALLS in city and state CRAP that prevents me from moving forward? Which seems more LOGICAL to you?
Let liberty thrive and create opportunities for EVERYONE! Do you want your children to grow up and become successful in whatever they choose to do? Or would you rather the CITY step in and make those choices for them? I highly doubt it. Let people like me deal with all our obligations. In my case, it's only been 2 years (thanks again, Russ!). Look around at OTHER areas of the community that the city "promised" you they would change; meanwhile, 20 YEARS LATER, everything is the SAME. You know what I'm talking about. I'm only going on 2 years, just to give some perspective. At the end of the day, the people want the same thing; no iron fist in HISTORY has EVER wanted the same thing for the people AS the PEOPLE want for themselves. Just because the Kool-Aid's free, doesn't mean you have to drink it.
Oct. 1, 2015, 6:49 pm
Russ father from Park Slope says:
Read some history Russ. Property has been rotting since 1973 way before Bullard death. Building is falling apart and lot is toilet for rats.
Oct. 1, 2015, 7:12 pm
Charles from Bklyn says:
Hey Jay, the use of eminent domain in the US is now very similar to its use in communist totalitarian governments. They take private land to transfer to other people (their friends). Sound familiar? So in many ways, we are now all communist like bastards. So sure, I guess we are all communists now ... thanks for reminding us of our plight.
Oct. 2, 2015, 9:48 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Charles, eminent domain actually predates communism and has always been been about taking land for the use of the public.
Oct. 2, 2015, 2:31 pm
Friar from Seagate says:
we are part of this too
Oct. 2, 2015, 4:03 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First off, knock it off with the personal attacks already. 10. Second off, I do have a life outside the internet, and quit ganging up on me. 14. Jay, the point is that calling someone stupid and ignorant in most areas doesn't help you, it hurts you. To quote Michael Moore, "You are nothing but a wacko attacko." I don't care if you disagree with me, it's attacking me that I don't like. Talking like this really makes me question your age and even integrity. Just recently, I saw a show where people who talk the way you do are considered bullies, so it made me think about you. Just because you are on the internet, doesn't mean you have the right to call people names you wouldn't be able to call them in real life. Overall, if you don't like what I post, then just don't read it because nobody is pointing a gun at your head or a knife at your throat telling you to read them or get killed, so stop with that already. . I have put up with enough of this hamasing over at and Streetsblog, and I suspect that some of you are the same forumers hamasing me over at these sights. Unless you want to face legal action, I advise you to apollogize for the slanderous remarks towards my person, and to acknowledge the veridicity of my arguments.
Dec. 3, 2015, 8:43 am

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