The Real Deal excerpt -
The moderator of the panel, the Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation's Joan Bartolomeo, asked the three if they ever get sick of the politics and hassles that accompany large development projects in New York City.
"At some point, do you ever say 'why am I doing this'?" Bartolomeo asked.
Sitt said he was surprised by the emotional public response to his plans to redevelop Coney Island, including removing aging buildings to make way for newer attractions.
"I admit, in the case of Coney Island, I got kind of blindsided," he said.
Ten years ago, the Brooklyn-native said, "nobody had any interest in Coney Island," adding that he got involved in the seaside amusement district "not so much for the investment," but more "as a personal hobby, to try to give back" to the community.
"My goal was to [try to] wake up everybody's passion," he said. "I guess we did too good a job of promoting Coney Island."
Still, he said, the controversy has had its benefits in terms of drawing attention to the area. He cited that as one reason Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus made its debut in Coney Island in 2009.
"A lot of the controversy… to some degree, for the sake of the project, I actually enjoy it," Sitt said.