Brooklyn, NY – The longtime operator of the fabled Coney Island amusement park Astroland, confirmed today that the 46-year-old Coney Island icon will close its doors for good Sunday because a new lease deal couldn’t timely be reached.
Carol Albert threatened to shut down the park if she didn’t get a two-year lease extension by 1 p.m. today from Astroland’s landlord, controversial developer Joe Sitt.
The deadline passed with both sides not even talking and Sitt waiting to see if Albert was bluffing.
Sitt spokesman Stefan Friedman said the developer won’t negotiate “through the media or with a gun held to his head.” Rather, he’ll wait and see whether Albert really pulls out after the deadline.
The landmarked Cyclone rollercoaster at Astroland is not affected and will remain where it is.
Sitt plans to replace Astroland with new amusements next season. But critics point out that the developer failed miserably this summer when he arranged to have temporary rides and attractions come to vacant boardwalk land he owns off Stillwell Avenue as they were a huge flop.
Astroland’s potential closing comes while many other boardwalk business owners who rent from Sitt are also sweating it out over whether they’ll be back next summer.
It was unclear just how far apart both sides are in dollars, but Albert’s lawyer told Sitt’s lawyer in a letter dated Friday that the park has seen expenses increase since last year, particularly a $700,000 surge in insurance costs. Astroland was seeking a multiple year lease, in part, to give its workers some stability.
The Albert family sold the 3.1-acre Astroland property to Sitt’s firm Thor Equities in 2006 for $30 million, but negotiated last year’s deal to squeeze in at least one final go-round for Astroland and its employees, many of whom are neighborhood residents with years of service.