After Superstorm Sandy devastated Coney Island, the effort to rebuild the beachfront and the boardwalk has led to a slew of businesses planting their flag on the cleaned up shoreline. The New York Daily News is reporting on the increased corporate presence on Coney Island that is hoping to transform the area into an economic goldmine.
Previously, we reported on the arrival of Applebee’s to Coney Island and the boast from CEO Zane Tankel:
“Imagine sitting above the excitement of Surf Avenue, watching the comings and goings on the infamous Coney Island Boardwalk while dining on Applebee’s signature favorites,” Tankel said in a release.
Outside of Applebee’s, which is about as hip as a root canal, other establishments like candy chain “It’Sugar,” which sells a $40 five-pound gummy bear, are popping up as well. If you buy the five-pound gummy bear, I’d watch out for bees. Not the gummy kind.
In 2014, the Johnny Rockets diner chain will be moving to Coney along with a Red Mango frozen yogurt shop. The Brooklyn Nets have also opened their own athletic sports store featuring $85 bikinis brandishing the new basketball team’s logo on the tops and bottoms. Next to the Nets shop, the Bridgehampton-based Wampum skate shop will be selling fashionable clothing and expensive skate boards for more than $200.
Charles Denson, director of the Coney Island History Project, proclaimed that Coney Island has become the hot new real estate location in the city.
“Speculation has returned to Coney Island. It is the Gold Rush mentality,” Denson told the Daily News.
As for fears that the new corporate footprint will drive out the proud mom-and-pop stores still dotting the boardwalk, local business owners seemed not to worry.
“It’s Coney Island. As long as it’s sunny, everyone is making money,” said Peter Agrapides Jr., whose popular Williams Candy Shoppe is known for scrumptious, guilty pleasures like the candy-covered marshmallows in its window.
“There is plenty of money for everybody,” Agrapides added. “You just have to know what you are doing.”
Only time will tell if the effort to increase the profitability and tourist friendliness of Coney Island will be sustainable but with the beach and boardwalk looking immaculate these days, it’s hard to bet against it.