The signs, they are a-changin’!
The Shore Theater’s iconic sign will not be coming back to the landmarked Coney Island building, according to the property holder, who says that the Hurricane Sandy-mangled marquee is unfixable and will have to be replaced.
Horace Bullard — who bought the former moviehouse in 1978 — said that the iconic sign is past repair. One of its letters blew away in the storm, which turned the sign’s base into a mass of wind-twisted metal.
“It’s too far gone,” said Bullard,
The property owner says he plans to find a replacement sign, but wouldn’t speculate how much it will cost or how much he’s willing to spend on a building that hasn’t been opened to the public for decades. The building, which was built in 1925 and made a city landmark in 2010.
“The prices are just astronomical,” said Bullard, who’s come under fire for failing to maintain the choice property at the corner of Surf and Stillwell avenues. “The building looks different without the sign. It looks like it’s missing something.”
The city says that Bullard is legally required to keep the building’s historic facade intact, but Coney’s faithful claim that Hurricane Sandy did more to the Shore Theater than rip away its signature sign. There are darker problems within the building that Bullard has no intention of addressing, they claim.
“A month after the hurricane, he hasn’t done anything to mitigate mold,” said Coney Island Mermaid Parade founder Dick Zigun, who had to tear out the first floor of his building at the corner of Surf Avenue and W. 12th Street to prevent the harmful fungus from forming. “I looked through the storefront window there the other day, and there’s still dirt and mud caked on everything.”
Zigun said that the damaged interior, coupled Bullard’s failure to have the sign replaced immediately, is another example of how the Coney Island real estate magnate is neglecting a precious piece of history.
“This is the latest insult to an official New York City landmark,” said Zigun, repeating calls he made this summer demanding that the city take possession of the theater by eminent domain. “At this point, I would call him a slumlord.”
Bullard claims that the inside of the building’s old bandpit sustained some water damage and that the conditions aren’t right for mold to grow.
“Whatever came in we’re pumping out,” said Bullard, adding that the theater didn’t suffer the sewage back ups that hit other Surf Avenue stalwarts. “Mold is something that you have if you have pockets of leaking water, where water is constantly coming in, and drying, and coming in again.”
Bullard’s claims completely contradict city warnings following Hurricane Sandy, which indicate mold can form from a single exposure to moisture.
“Flood-damaged homes may already have extensive mold growth,” the city’s Health Department announced shortly after the storm. “After a flood, it is important to clean and dry affected items as quickly as possible to prevent mold growth.”