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Coney Island Battle Becomes a Total Freak Show

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When we last left the Coney Island redevelopment mess, Mayor Bloomberg had offered Thor Equities $105 million (down from a $110 million offer several months ago) for the company's 10.5 acres of land in the area?an offer refused by Thor's Joe Sitt, who instead announced plans to open an amusement park called Dreamland on the former site of the Astroland, the legendary attraction he ousted. The city then announced its own temporary amusement park, which might feature a Ringling Brothers' circus, an opportunity created when Sitt's negotiations with Ringling fell apart because of a dispute over concessions sales. Phew, caught up? Perf. Now, on to the latest weirdness.

Over the weekend the Times' Charles Bagli checked in on the warring sides, focusing on the role of City Councilman Dominic Recchia, a childhood friend of Sitt's who has been firmly aligned with the developer (at the expense of the city) in the competing Coney Island redevelopment visions. The Bloomberg-Sitt feud is an interesting one, certainly, but it lacks the outright freakishness of the battle shaping up between Coney Island Circus Sideshow operator Dick Zigun and John Strong III, a longtime carny?and we've been waiting years for the opportunity to use that term with total seriousness?who Sitt brought on to run Dreamland's own circus of the strange. The two have already exchanged heated words, and as seen above and on the Coney Island message board, Dreamland's marketing push is taking aim at longtime Coney activist Zigun's Sideshow. In a war of the freaks, aren't we all winners?
· Beyond Sideshows, the City and a Developer Face Off Over Coney Island’s Future [NYT]