The People's Playground

"Please help! Today is my final day to save the shop I’ve owned on the Coney Island for the past 19 years.

Luna Park is not even responding to my pleas to save my shop. I am shocked and utterly disgusted by their greed and lack of care not only for my beloved business but also for the community of Coney Island. They also don’t care about you, their customers. The people who have supported their relatively new business in Coney Island. They are only motivated by greed and the bottom line.

The City is just standing by, watching them exploit Coney Island and draining it of it’s soul. The City claims to have no control over how Luna Park develops Coney Island. They claim this foreign company, based in Italy, has free reign to develop Coney Island however they choose.

The City used taxpayer money to purchase this land in 2009 to preserve the Spirit of Coney Island in perpetuity. Luna Park leases the land from the City and has been given an extremely generous deal. In return they are responsible for maintaining the unique essence of Coney Island. It is unacceptable that Luna Park would drive a loyal tenant of 19 years, whose heart and soul is so deeply invested in the community out with this unreasonable greed. Yet the City claims they are unable to intervene to help me.

I’ve fought for this store and the preservation of the Coney Island Amusement district for almost two decades. I started the Save Coney Island organization in 2007. For years I worked tirelessly as the director of this nonprofit to ensure that the amusement district of Coney Island was developed the right way. This activism, in part, resulted in the City purchasing this land on the boardwalk and brining Luna Park in to develop it. I fought hard for that. I welcomed Luna Park into the community as the most tremendous victory and result of all of Save Coney Island’s hard work.

Over the past 10 years I’ve become an even more valuable asset to the development of Coney Island. In addition to the local community service, relief organization after Hurricane Sandy, the expansion of our free Community Sunset Yoga on the Beach Classes, improvements to my creative little shop and the development of new unique merchandise I design and hand print, I’ve opened numerous retail stores and Roller rinks in other neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Last October I opened a new Dreamland Roller Rink at City Point in Downtown Brooklyn. Despite those accomplishments Luna Park does not value my contributions to Coney Island nor do they care if I stay.

I feel stabbed in the back and betrayed. I welcomed Luna Park into the community, I worked side by side with them to rebuild Coney Island after Hurricane Sandy and I helped contribute to the development and progress we’ve made in Coney Island over the past 19 years. I’m deeply proud of these achievements and proud to be a part of the incredible Coney Island community.

But after today, if this is not resolved, I will have to pack up my beloved shop and leave Coney Island. If anyone has any advice or contacts that may help, please send them my way. I have less than 24 hours to save my beloved shop." -Lola Starr, via Facebook

Photo by Dennis A. Clark (from the New York Post)