Campaign To Recover Coney Island Kicks Off
After a month of repairs, Coney Island mainstay Gargiulo's Restaurant got set to reopen Thursday, but not without a celebration. The restaurant's teaming up with the newly established Alliance for Coney Island to mark its grand reopening. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.
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Mounds of sand are piled up on the street side of the boardwalk after Hurricane Sandy blew through the beach and into the neighborhood.
The sign on the Shore Theater was ripped from the landmark building. Nathan's was forced to close its doors, but it vows to rebuild with a banner that reads "After 100 years, no hurricane will get us down."
In that spirit of picking up the pieces, the Coney Recovers campaign was launched.
"We will rebuild, rebound, and we'll rejoice at a great new Coney Island," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.
"Coney Recovers is, first and foremost, an attempt to coordinate the incoming offers of assistance, be it volunteers, donations, supplies," said Nate Bliss of the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
The campaign kicked off at Gargiulo's, one of the first restaurants to come back after Sandy, and many Coney Island characters were there.
The event is the first initiative of the newly-created Coney Island Alliance, which is a public-private partnership established promote Coney Island.
"The alliance is something that we talked about for a year already and just recently launched right after Hurricane Sandy," said Wonder Wheel owner Dennis Vourderis. "Originally, we had planned to launch the alliance sometime in January and February for the upcoming season. However, we thought that now would be a good time to step up to the plate."
All here agree the road to recovery will be tough. Mayor Michael Bloomberg pledged his support.
"We have a whole bunch of teams out there to fix it up," Bloomberg said. "It just takes a long time to do it, given the number. But we're not going to walk away from anybody."
The goal is to get Coney Island back up and running for the 2013 rebuilding season, which starts in March. For more on the rebuilding effort, log on to coneyrecovers.org.