Stillwell Avenue during Siren Festival, photo by Sam Horine
The headline in today’s amNewYork is grim: Astroland owner Carol Hill Albert says she’s preparing for the 46-year-old Coney Island theme park to close for good next month unless she gets a one-year lease extension from landlord Thor Equities within the next week. Asked by the paper if she was resigned to closing, Albert said, “I kind of am. I’m getting there.”
Before anyone panics in fear of having to go cold turkey on their skeeball jones, remember that this is the same thing Albert said all last summer, when she repeatedly put her rides up for sale, then pulled them off again in hopes of striking a deal with Thor. In fact, the real news here is that Albert says she’ll now settle for a one-year lease extension—until now, she’d insisted that, following lease negotiations last year dragged on until late October, only a multi-year re-up would suffice.
Albert tells the Voice that while she’s “had a good working relationship with Thor that appears to be mutually beneficial, and I of course hope it will continue, they have not reached a decision yet as to whether they will extend our lease for a year.” She says if she hasn’t gotten an answer by August 22, she’ll again have to put her rides on the block. (Last year’s asking price for the water flume: $199,000.)
The ball, then, would appear to once again be in the court of Thor principal Joe Sitt, who needs to decide how long to test Albert’s love of her park against her fear of being stuck with unsold rides and a January eviction date. Thor spokesman Stefan Friedman wasn’t immediately available to comment on the pace of lease talks, but has previously released only a prepared statement that “Astroland is signed until January, 2009.” Come September 7, then, we could be in for a second consecutive final Astroland night ever.