One final weekend: Back rent still unpaid, Coney Island’s Dreamland reopens for Labor Day
Coney Island’s Dreamland is back for one last weekend.
Developer Thor Equities shut down the amusement park, which replaced the iconic Astroland, two weeks ago, saying owner Anthony Raffaelle owed over $600,000 in rent.
But after a dressing down from Councilman Dominic Recchia (D-Coney Island), Thor owner Joe Sitt agreed to let the park open up for Labor Day weekend.
The scrambler, carousel and other rides are set to kick into action this morning and run through Monday.
Recchia said that after a long chat, Sitt agreed to reopen the amusement park “for the best interest of our community” – even though the rent still hasn’t been paid.
“The weather’s supposed to be very nice this weekend,” he said. “Coney Island’s open – come on down.”
Recchia has changed his tune since the day of the shutdown, when he blasted Sitt as a “heartless person who only cares about money” and said the 2 a.m. lockout was reminiscent of the Gestapo.
“Thor Equities is thrilled that Coney Island residents and visitors, particularly kids who start school next week, will get one final taste of summer fun at Dreamland over Labor Day,” spokesman Stefan Friedman said.
Raffaelle didn’t return calls for comment yesterday. In an interview shortly after the lockout, he acknowledged owing rent but said the property was in such bad condition when he moved in that he had to spend thousands of dollars fixing blown electrical wiring and broken plumbing.
He challenged the eviction in court, but a judge postponed the case until Sept. 18.
The city is still working to hammer out a deal with Sitt to buy most of the 10.5 acres he owns in Coney Island, after the City Council passed a massive development plan in July.
BY Erin Durkin