Notwithstanding our earlier report, not to mention Jennifer 8. Lee’s report in this morning’s Times, the city has not actually bought the site of the landmarked Wonder Wheel. The one-acre parcel that was purchased by the Bloomberg administration is actually the site of the Deno’s Wonder Wheel kiddie park immediately adjacent to the Wheel — its owners, the Ward family (the last of the original 19th-century Coney landholders), had reached a preliminary agreement last year to sell the parcel to developer Thor Equities, but when that fell through, the city pounced to acquire part of the land for its planned amusement district. (Brooklyn Paper gets the story right.)
The Wonder Wheel itself is still owned by Deno’s operators Dennis and Steve Vourderis, who also have a lease on the kiddie park site that runs through 2020. So the standoff likely will continue between the Vourderises, who say they want to keep on running their park, and the city, which wants to bring in a single operator to run the new amusement district. Expect more twists and turns between now and the start of the rezoning process, which at last word from the city was slated to begin in December and run through next summer.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 16, 2008