Coney Island is about to really be buzzing.
The landmarked Childs Restaurant will reopen as an indoor-outdoor concert venue in July, officials announced on Feb. 16. The city tapped entertainment megalith Live Nation to book shows at the 5,000-seat amphitheater, and the company, which owns Ticketmaster and regularly sends national acts to Barclays Center, is poised to bring big-time talent to the seaside concert house. But one People’s Playground stalwart said he is excited about the prospect of local programming, too.
“We are looking forward to making the traditional Coney Island events, such as the Mermaid Parade, even bigger and better,” said Boardwalk impresario Dick Zigun, whose arts group Coney Island USA will help operate the venue. “Getting ready for the parade will all happen inside the amphitheater. We used to be out on the street with no weather protection, broken sidewalks, glass in the street, had to rent bathrooms. So this is a major improvement for the 3,000 or so artists who are in the parade.”
The venue opens in July, but Zigun is hoping to get a sneak peak during the June parade.
“Since the mermaid parade is in June, we might be the first use of the facility, and I’m excited about that as well,” he said.
The concert hall will feature two 50-foot doors that open onto an adjacent lawn so music fans can rock out in the great outdoors during summer months.
Former borough president Marty Markowitz dreamed it up as a place to house his annual Seaside Concert series in 2013 after Coney Islanders pushed back on his previous plan to put an amphitheater in Asser Levy Park.
The city paid owner iStar Financial $60 million for the Childs building and to restore the 90-year-old structure, which sits on the Boardwalk at W. 21st Street. Construction began last February.
Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment, which controls the Brooklyn Nets and the team’s home Barclays Center, will sell off naming rights, and Legends, the Yankees’ concessionaire, will sling refreshments, officials said.
Promoters haven’t announced the first season’s lineup, but Zigun knows exactly who he wants to break in the new stage.
“If it were up to me, Iggy Pop in the first season,” he said.