Southern Brooklyn

Will Smith To Save Slice Of Coney Island History

Grashorn Building in 1969.
Grashorn Building in 1969. Photo © Charles Denson via Coney Island History Project (and via Amusing the Zillion)

What more appropriate place in the world is there for the third installment of Men in Black III (MiB III) to be filmed than beautiful and bizarre Coney Island? And who better to save an endangered Coney Island building than Will Smith? (Ed. – Uh… anyone?)

The movie, centered around a top-secret agency that “polices, monitors and directs alien activity on Earth,” will see the return of original cast members Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, as well as Josh Brolin (who will play a younger Agent K, Tommy Lee Jones’ character, in a time travel twist). They’ll be be filming in Coney Island from May 2 to 6, according to a report by Amusing The Zillion, and Coney’s oldest building — the dilapidated Grashorn, on the corner of Surf Avenue and Jones Walk — has also been given a stay of execution from the clutches of Thor Equities.

Amusing The Zillion’s Tricia Vita further notes that construction workers are currently repairing the interior of the Grashorn for use as the crew’s location headquarters, so they’ll be pulling the structure out of the dredges. The Grashorn was erected in the 1880s, but has recently fallen into extreme disrepair and inhabitation by squatters, and was slated for demolition.

Bonus points? A retro ’60s transformation for the film’s time travel scenes will be incorporated into some of the buildings along Surf Avenue, Jones Walk and the Bowery, as well as on the Boardwalk and in Wonder Wheel Park. The film is slated for release on May 25, 2012.

MiB III, time travel, the ’60s and Coney Island? It’s time to whip my hair back and forth in joy.

Comment policy


  1. I love how Thor Equities gets blasted for wanting to do SOMETHING with property that hasn’t been relevant in forever. That entire area needs a facelift.

  2. I’m with you all the way. The hipsters are fighting to keep Coney Island a disgusting dilapidated slum. They come a couple of times a summer to laugh about it, then go back to their modern neighborhoods, and carry on the fight from there.
    Then there are the people who moved out precisely to get away from this Coney Island, then fight ffrom the suburbs to keep it filthy and dilapidated.

  3. People moved out because the area surrounding Coney Island was aging, and the city decided to buy up a lot of land in that area to building low-income housing. A significant portion of the earlier housing in the area was rental, much of the rest were converted summer houses. The Urban Development Corp had bought up about half the real estate west of Stillwell. UDC went bellyup, and empty buildings were the end result.

    It’s not the hipsters that are fighting to see a development plan for Coney Island which respects its historic role as a recreational area. It’s businesspeople who have made a long commitment and long time New York who have continued over the years to participate in what Coney Island offers. If you don’t go there, you wouldn’t have any knowledge of that.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here