7. Child’s Restaurant
Whenever summer rolls around, visitors head Coney Island to relax by the water, where they can find the Childs Restaurant Building located right on the boardwalk and designated a landmark in 2002. Completed in 1924, the iconic, nautical-themed structure is steeped in history that dates back to almost a century. Recently, as part of an $180 million investment by the De Blasio administration to drive economic activity in Coney Island, the building has been restored to house a new, five-concept restaurant called Kitchen 21, operated by Legends Hospitality. Back in 2014, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) partnered with iStar and nonprofit Coney Island USA to fund the $60 million renovation of the long-vacated building, in addition to the development of the now-connected 5,000-seat Ford Amphitheater (New York City’s first open-air concert venue) and the creation of 40,000-square-feet of open space; the concept restaurant, Kitchen 21, offers five unique settings, such as a rooftop wine bar, a test kitchen, a cafe, a clam bar and a gastropub. What originally served as the flagship location for the Childs Restaurant chain has been repurposed several times over the years: it once housed a book warehouse, a roller rink and a candy factory. Today, it’s still noted for its colorful terra-cotta façade and marble columns, which have managed to survive through the years even as other structures in Coney Island have been lost to time. Thanks to the handiwork of the Boston Valley Terra-Cotta Company in Buffalo, New York, the building’s terra-cotta works have now been replicated and replaced. Read more about the restaurant here.