Coney Island on Track for Ritzy Makeover

Fans grumble at cyclone-speed gentrification
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2007 6:54 AM CDT
Geoff Rawling, right, holds a briefcase, as he marches along Surf Avenue during Coney Island's 25th Annual Mermaid Parade in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Saturday June 23, 2007. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Landmark Brooklyn amusement park Coney Island is set to undergo a major makeover as an upscale techno-theme park with ritzy retail space and timeshare towers, the Washington Post reports. Thor Equities bought much of the six-block thrill park and officials hope to launch the $1.5B renovation in 18 months—much to the disappointment of Coney Island purists.

The park will retain the wooden Cyclone rollercoaster but gain a Starbucks and TGI Friday's, among other less-dingy nouveau-boardwalk attractions. Some say the "authenticity of New York" is at stake, while others welcome the cash infusion. "I think Coney Island needs to be more ritzy," says the operator of  the "Shoot the Freak" game.