The Coney Island Bank Building Is Gone Forever – R.I.P.

You know, all this time, I secretly believed the Coney Island Bank building would somehow be saved.

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Sure, it’d take a miracle, but when I saw this conceptual idea of one way it could be restored, I thought: maybe it’ll all work out in the end.

Maybe one of the last few historic Coney Island buildings will not only to survive, but prosper as a concert venue or event space. Maybe Thor CEO Joseph Sitt will have an Ebenezer Scrooge-like change of heart at the zero hour. Maybe this dilapidated but gorgeous historic building, a last vestige of a Coney Island that is no more, will be brought back to life.

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Nope.

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Photographer Lindsay Wengler took these heartbreaking photos of the demolition, which is now past the point of no return. Check out her site for a full look at the destruction. And here’s my post covering the entire interior, if you want to see what’s been lost forever.

But hey, it’s just business!

So here’s my question. A few years ago, a major movie was considering filming in the bank building, and my recollection is that part of the location agreement included paying for a full asbestos abatement. The deal ultimately fell through, and the asbestos abatement was allegedly carried out by Thor this summer…

But is anyone testing to see if they got it all? I heard the cost was estimated at over $25K, which seems like a major undertaking to me.

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Picture by Lindsay Wengler

Don’t let anyone convince you that Thor gives a shit about saving Coney Island. Look at their track record, and you’ll see they buy, demolish, and resell. Call their office, and you’ll find that no one answers the phone. Scouts I know that have dealt with them describe them as fitting every sleezy developer stereotype, right down to the tacky clothing and greasy hair.

Really heartbreaking when the dipshits at Thor get their hands on a gem like the Coney Island Bank. I’m starting my watch today to time how long it takes Thor to put something up on this site that adds any value to Coney Island.

And all the while, Joseph Sitthead just laughs and laughs…

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-SCOUT

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16 comments

  1. I was down in Coney Island for the rally for Ruby’s last Saturday and saw the violent holes that had been ripped in the bank. (I actually just did a post on the state of Coney Island here: http://atlasobscura.com/blog/coney-island-is-dying). Hopefully some of the historic district can still be saved. I would love to see the inside of the Shore Theatre.

  2. It’s a shame. I was hoping to get back there and take more photos. I have to get back there before the rest disappears. Here’s one I took last year: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gbrophy/4304624400/in/set-72157623682447500/

  3. Sometimes the bad guys win. :( Thank you for at least preserving this building in photographs. That’s better than nothing at all. It is heartbreaking to see, though.

  4. I really do believe that developers who don’t know where to “draw the line” are the scum of the earth – those that will do whatever it takes to make a buck! These scumbags will not leave a lasting impression on this earth (at least not a positive one anyway)! There’s some solace in that at least!

  5. Oh, DAMN. This is heartbreaking. That shot of the demolition literally gave me a pain in my gut. I don’t think I can bear to go through and look at more shots of it.

    Thank heavens you have the photos, Scout. And now posterity will have to rely on them the same way we rely on things like this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_M._Schwab_House
    http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=schwab%20riverside&w=40045986%40N00

  6. I know it’s sad, but if people actually went there, maybe it wouldn’t be in such disrepair. This is NYC it’s constantly changing.

  7. @Nick

    Plenty of people go to Coney Island. I think what you mean is white people with money.

  8. It’s all part of the gentrification of NYC. The city is a career destination for everyone.

    The people couldn’t stay near their history due to rising housing costs. These buildings represent a different era and different people. The type of people who have been displaced.

  9. That series you did on the Fake NYC in Orlando and/or Vegas ringing a bit truer.

  10. Thor is only following the mayors wishes. He doesn’t want any part of New York History to survive. He wants to remake New York City so you will no longer be able to distinguish it from any other big city. He wants to drive any sense of what New York is and was from the face of the earth. He also wants to enrich the developers so the will be beholden to him

  11. Sitt’s inspiration for the name “Thor Equities” is laughable…

    “I was a comic-book collector and Thor was the Norse god and the comic-book character that protected planet Earth from the monsters that were destroying the buildings on the planet. That fit in with my concept of being the protector of the cities.”

    Source: http://www.inc.com/magazine/20060101/qa-sitt.html

  12. Joseph Sitthead? Seriously? I passed by that building but never realized what was inside. Damn.

  13. Hope you don’t mind if I just say this in responce to your post (no reason other than it made me smile!) :
    The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese. :)

  14. Hey matt…Their next documentary should be the exposing of Peter Vallone…The people want to know that he really writes JA and his real name is Jason Itzler, occupation, pimp…

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