The city has halted demolition of a historic building in Coney Island—temporarily, anyway. The old Bank Building, whose gorgeous interior inspired futile calls for preservation, has been undergoing the lengthy process of total destruction until this morning, when the Department of Buildings ordered all demolition stopped until the site complies with basic safety regulations. Who’s behind such negligence, such apathy for history, such lack of feeling? Why, ol’ Thor Equities, of course!
That evil Coney Island developer sold its stake in amusement area real estate to the city, allowing the redevelopment process to move forward…but it still owns a chunk of land in the surrounding area. While all eyes have been on the boardwalk’s troubles this week and last, Thor has quietly been preparing, for months, the demolition of several historic buildings. The blog Amusing the Zillion reported last month that Thor had set up scaffolding for demolition next to several buildings, like the Bank Building and The Henderson Building on the corner of Stillwell and Surf avenues. (You may exit the subway station one day and find, in lieu of Popeye’s and Faber’s Fascinations, empty space.)
It wasn’t just for show: the bulldozers have been having their way with the lovely and historic Bank Building for more than a week. While that demolition has now been put on hold, the building is already too far gone to be saved by a last minute reprieve. Coney Island is totally fucked: even if Ruby’s were allowed to stay, it would occupy the center of an empty neighborhood—not just an amusement area without amusements, but one without buildings.