Prominent historian of Coney Island Michael Immerso warns of the danger to Coney Island’s historic Surf Avenue corridor in an article just published on The Huffington Post. Immerso, author of “Coney Island: The People’s Playground,” writes:
Surf Avenue and the nearby Bowery were the core of Coney Island’s amusement district. This core district was not defined by its architecture but rather by its honky-tonk flavor: cafes, dime museums, dance halls, and sideshows. Henderson’s Music Hall, the Grashorn Building, and the Shore Hotel — all of which Thor is threatening to demolish — embody those uses and therefore are architecturally representative of this historically significant amusement district and certainly merit preservation. The Grashorn Building dates back to the 1880s, when Coney Island emerged as the world’s pre-eminent amusement mecca. Henderson’s is the last surviving example of the music halls that thrived at Coney Island at the turn of the century and were proving grounds for such iconic figures Harry Houdini, Irving Berlin, Jimmy Durante, and the Marx Brothers.