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Remembering the Unbuilt Plans of A Coney Island Dreamer

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Last week, the city's Economic Development Corporation unveiled plans for a new Thunderbolt roller coaster that will be built in Coney Island's Luna Park. The EDC said the coaster will rise on the same site of the original ride, memorialized in Woody Allen's Annie Hall, but that's not quite true; the coaster will actually be built on city-owned land next to the original site. The original Thunderbolt land is privately owned by the estate of Horace Bullard?a man who dreamt of rebuilding Coney Island long before the city stepped in with a redevelopment plan. Bullard died in April, and an article in today's Times details his long-held plans to rebuild Steeplechase Park on properties?the Shore Theater, the Thunderbolt roller coaster, and Playland Arcade?he bought in the '70s and '80s (weirdly, the Times article does not mention the city's plans for a new Thunderbolt).
Bullard's plans almost came to fruition, but the recession in the 1980s, coupled with a long, drawn out battle with the city, led Mayor Giuliani to revoke the approvals in 1994. In 2000, the city demolished the Thunderbolt, which eventually led to Bullard winning a $1 million settlement from the city. In recent years, all three of Bullard's properties were for sale, but after his death, his daughter removed them from the market. His daughter shares his vision for Coney Island, but says she has no specific plans. Real estate folk think that she's banking on the city's revitalization efforts to improve the property values before selling. Previously, the landmarked Shore Theater had been listed for $12 million, while the coaster and arcade lots asked a combine $90 million.
· As Coney Island Stirs, One Man's Vision Is Unbuilt [NYT]
· Shore Theater coverage [Curbed]
· Horace Bullard coverage [Curbed]