Despite denial from management, what once was a beautiful seven-story movie palace in Coney Island is now home to squatters. On Tuesday, the Daily News made their way inside the Shore Theater on Surf Avenue and discovered a woman sleeping inside on a mattress, among other traces of temporary residence. Though the exterior was restored, the decaying interior is facing much neglect.
Owner Jasmine Brullard, who inherited the theater in 2013 from her late father Horace Brullard, took the property, along with his other holdings, off the market despite countless offers and her father’s devotion to restoring the beachfront properties he’s owned since the 1970s and 80s.
The management has long struggled to keep trespassers out and away from the landmark, which in turn has become a shell barely resembling a theater. According to the Daily News, “steel wires hang from the rotting ceilings above heaps of dust-strewn wood and bags filled with debris.” Trespassers have reportedly even cut the front door lock and replaced it with their own deadbolt and selling metal off window frames.
Past government interferences in Coney Island, such as the illegal Giuliani administered destruction of the rusting Thunderbolt coaster (also owned by Brullard) back in 2000, haunt the area, but it’s about time someone stepped in and took this restoration seriously. Dick Zigun, the unofficial mayor of Coney Island requests the theater is made an eminent domain: taken from the Brullard family in exchange for compensation.
Coney Island has managed to reclaim its identity as a safe, welcoming attraction, but without a full restoration, the Shore Theater is holding the area back.
Follow Rachel Aster Perlman on Twitter @craezy