050708coneyisland.jpgLast month the city announced that the space dedicated to amusements in the latest Coney Island rezoning plan would be cut from 15 acres to 9 acres. City officials explained that the downsizing was necessary to accommodate “local landowners” – the biggest of those is developer Joe Sitt, whose glitzy plans were previously derailed by the city for the express purpose of devoting larger space for the amusement park.

Now Sitt’s Thor Equities stands to benefit most from what the city calls a compromise to break a deadlock in the revitalization plans. The reduced amusement park space will mean more land devoted to hotels and high-end shopping, upsetting a vocal coalition of community groups.

Members, who include the Polar Bear Club and Coney Island USA, tell the Post that the new plan “almost abolishes the area's amusement industry in favor of 30-story hotels, retail space and condos, turning the seaside area into a Mall of America.” On May 22nd, opening day at Coney Island beach, the 4,000-strong group promises a massive rally and “freak show” to shoot down the plans.

Photo from a Save Coney Island contingent in last summer's Mermaid Parade courtesy Wally G.