I launched Coney Island News last year with the intention of providing hyperlocal news in a neighborhood that was badly in need of it.
Unfortunately, my other work obligations now prevent me from dedicating the necessary time to write on this site. I thoroughly enjoyed reporting on the local community and I am grateful to all the people who were willing to speak on the record about their neighborhood.
Coney Island News shared concerns of local residents about topics ranging from ferry service to creek pollution to police brutality. This site covered local political races as a regular beat (and included campaign finance breakdowns), provided weekly schedules of events, and was the first to break the news of plans for trolley service to accompany a new real estate development in Coney Island. Just weeks earlier, residents voiced their wide-ranging frustrations at a community board meeting about that same development.
Locals also shared their visions on the future of the boardwalk and activists slammed the Parks Department and NYPD for their role in contributing to the boardwalk’s decay by driving heavy vehicles on it year round. The boardwalk was finally landmarked last week in a major victory for the area, but the damage still needs to be addressed.
Small business owners were heard, too. Coney Island News was the first to report on a petition circulated among local businesses on Neptune Ave. in opposition to a proposed Business Improvement District over concerns that it would present a tax burden for them and heavily favor the amusement district.
When Coney Island News published photos of trash lingering on the streets around Coney Island, it prompted action from City Councilmember Mark Treyger, who sent teams to clean it up. When WIN quietly moved forward with plans for a controversial homeless shelter on Neptune Ave., Coney Island News uncovered exclusive details about it and prodded shelter officials until some answers were provided.
These stories show the power of hyperlocal news as a necessary tool to keep communities informed and hold powerful people accountable. Local residents should know when, for example, a City Councilmember like Chaim Deutsch becomes one of only two in the entire city to vote against banning gay conversion therapy and then tries to hide that vote by refusing to respond to multiple media inquiries.
The community deserves this kind of accountability — and it’s only possible through hyperlocal news. I hope Coney Island News was able to make a difference for a little while. Thanks for reading.