The lease held by Nathan's Famous at Stillwell and Surf avenues on Coney Island doesn't run out for 18 years, and CEO Eric Gatoff insists, "We expect to be in that building forever." But some Coney Island lovers are still freaking out over Mayor Bloomberg's rezoning plan, which was recently approved by the City Council. They worry it leaves the hot dog icon vulnerable, because there's nothing in the plan to stop a developer from buying the property (owned by the Handwerker family, which founded the original Nathan's) and building a nice 20-story hotel tower. An application for landmark status was submitted by Coney Island USA to The Landmarks Preservation Commission years ago, but no verdict has yet been issued. Now over 130 people have signed an online petition in the past few days demanding landmarking, and Coney Island USA founder Dick Zigun tells the Daily News, "To not have Nathan's would be insane... You don't want the new Coney Island to be indistinguishable from a suburbanized, homogenized, standardized amusement park off the New Jersey Turnpike." Speak for yourself, Zigun—the Great American Scream Machine at Six Flags makes the Cyclone seem like a kiddie Teacup ride.
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