Construction work on the long-delayed Coney Island Amphitheater is finally making some headway, the New York Times reports. The project, which is being undertaken by iStar, will see the rehabilitation of parts of the historic Childs Restaurant, and the construction of a 5,000-seat amphitheater on an adjacent lot, which was once a community garden.
The stage for the amphitheater will be located within the Childs building, for which one of the side walls was cut away, the Times describes. The stage will have 50-foot tall doors that will be left open or closed depending on the weather. It will also have the ability to be raised and lowered. For performances, the stage will be lowered, and at other times, the developers intend for the stage to be raised so it can line up with the planned restaurant that will take over the restored Childs Restaurant building.
On that note, iStar has brought in a specialist from the Netherlands to ensure that some of the iconic interior design work of the original, landmarked building closely resembles the new one.
The seating space, which is located on the adjacent lot, has been a controversial issue from the start. A decades-old community garden on the lot that spanned about 70,000 square feet was demolished by the city in 2013, to make way for the seats. There is an ongoing lawsuit about the space, filed by the New York City Community Garden Coalition in the State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, according to the Times.
iStar purchased the site in 2012, and has been trying to make progress on the site since. The amphitheater project was championed by former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, and the city has contributed $60 million towards its construction, according to the Times. The original restaurant was built in the 1920s, and ended service about 30 years later. The space was later taken over by a candy factory, followed by an ice-skating rink.
· A Crumbling Coney Island Landmark Is Getting a Makeover [NYTimes]
· Work Restarts on Stalled Coney Island Amphitheater [Curbed]
· Coney's Long-in-the-Works Amphitheater Stalls Yet Again [Curbed]
· City Razes Community Garden in Coney Island [Curbed]