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Coney Island's Astroland owner calls it quits; park closing Sunday forever


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Coney Island's Astroland owner calls it quits; park closing Sunday forever



September 5th 2008



Last year, a rally was held on its last day of the Summer to keep the park open.


Coney Island's world-famous Astroland Amusement Park is set to shut down once and for all on Sunday - more than a month before the amusement park season officially ends.


After months of bickering with developer Thor Equities over the renewal of a lease, Astroland owner Carol Hill Albert announced she had no choice but to pull the plug.


"I have not given up on Coney Island as Thor Equities has stated," said Albert, who employs 75 year-round employees and 275 seasonal workers. "I have given up on trying to get Thor to negotiate, which I have attempted to do every month since June, and numerous times in August."


The park, which would normally close Oct. 13, had teetered dangerously close to shuttering ever since Thor purchased it in 2006, despite a public push to keep it open until a larger plan for the area was approved by the city.


Albert said the decision was based on a concern for her employees and the amount of time it takes to pack up the rides and games now operating at the 3.1-acre park.


"My employees cannot live in a state of limbo any longer," Albert said in a statement.


The brinksmanship between the two had been bubbled under the surface, but it exploded last week when Astroland lawyer Sid Davidoff sent a letter threatening to shut down the park unless Thor approved a two-year lease agreement.


Coney Island Development Corp. President Lynn Kelly said Astroland's closing illustrates the importance of wrapping up and approving an ambitious zoning plan by the city.


"This further underscores the need for the city's comprehensive rezoning plan as the only hope for preserving the amusement area and bringing the necessary jobs, infrastructure and affordable housing to the neighborhood," Kelly said.


Thor spokesman Stefan Friedman blasted Albert and suggested she was the one leaving Coney Island high and dry.


"We are extremely disappointed that Carol Albert has decided to give up on the future of Coney Island when her current lease isn't even up for a number of months," Friedman said. "However, Coney Island will be fully open for business in the Summer of 2009 with amusements, games, shopping and entertainment galore."

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I am so disheartened that people can't have more on their mind than money where large doses of nostalgia and history is concerned. This park needs to be preserved & kept as is forever. A faint reminder of the bygone era of america's playground.


- A

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