Out With The Old, In With The New…

(Why not both for Lundy’s — except with a less tacky sign)

…or a combination of the two.

It’s that time of the year when we say, “Out with the old and in with the new.” It gets hard to say, “out with the old” when it means saying goodbye to some of our venerable institutions. It’s even harder to say, “in with the new” when new means ridding our neighborhoods of their charm. The institutions I’m thinking of are Lundy’s and Astroland.

Last week, after years of controversy, Coney Island fans’ greatest fear was realized when, as Curbed.com reported, they awoke to find huge “For Lease” signs on “every building on the boardwalk”. A NY Post article said that the storefronts were “flooded” with ‘For Rent’ signs, while the pictures posted on Curbed showed many of the stores appearing flooded in a literal sense.

Read more about 2008 controversies after the jump.

Because he decided to post the signs on the day before Christmas, developer Joe Sitt, who some say did not have good faith negotiations with the renters before evicting them, is being referred to as the Grinch. The people’s playground has a rich history of being accessible to all, but if Thor Equities and friends has their way, we’ll soon see huge developments with sky high rents. It looks like Nathan’s famous franks will be able to stay, but should we expect new vendors with names like “Wealthy Weiner”, “Gucci Cotton Candy”, or “Prada Popcorn” next door?

Here in Sheepshead Bay, we saw on-again, off-again, on-again, construction to our famed Lundy’s landmark. While David Isaev, gourmet market food purveyor, was in disbelief about why all of Sheepshead Bay wouldn’t welcome a food market opposite the Bay waterfront, Theresa Scavo was saying that we need another restaurant in the Lundy’s building on the bay.

So, as the new kid on the media block (with the Bay News moving out of Sheepshead Bay), we wonder why — if there is not going to be a more community minded use of the Lundy’s space — can’t there be a food middle ground?

If there is some kind of unspoken law that says Lundy’s must be food-related, then why not it be a gourmet restaurant with a food store attached and not just a landmark shell of a once great restaurant?

Satisfying this reviewer’s palate with mainly simple kebabs and average sushi is difficult and the trek to Manhattan for a variety of true gourmet restaurants is about to get even harder. Next year, it would be great to see Lundy’s with a Michelin star (even Zagat’s will do). It’s been done quite successfully before. Joseph’s Citarella, Eli Zabar, and Agata & Valentina are just a few that come to mind.

With all due respect to Sheepshead Bay Fruits and Vegetables Market (1717 Avenue Z) and Sheepshead Bay Gourmet Market (1518 Avenue Z) with their wide variety of foods in their relatively small spaces, I have to say this: a true representation of gourmet considers more of the world.

In 2009, we hope that both the food market vs. restaurant debate and amusement park vs. development feud, come to an amicable end — because when the memorials and the ceremonies are over, life must go on. So, let’s see if we can find a way of turning our grief into something from the best of both worlds.

I’ll be coming up with what I think we really need across the street from Sheepshead Bay. In the meantime, will someone tell David Isaeva to call Eli Zabar or Joseph Gurrera (of Citarella fame)!