Coney Island Baby
Speaking of fuckjobs, the developer who has been handed the rights to the Coney Island boardwalk has unilaterally decided not to renew the leases of some of the longstanding businesses on the boardwalk. Nathan’s remains, but pretty much everyone else is getting screwed. Shoot the Freak, gone. Ruby’s, gone. Cha Cha’s, gone. Paul’s Daughter, gone. Grill House, gone. Gyro Corner, gone. Beer Island, gone. Pio Pio Riko, gone.
This story has been well-covered, so here’s a selection of some of the news and commentary.
“They didn’t have the vision that we have for the Boardwalk,” Ferrari told ATZ. “It’s a business decision.” He says Zamperla/CAI’s vision is to revitalize the Boardwalk by making it a lively place open 365 days a year. But it’s also a matter of investment dollars. Luna Park is investing $1.4 million in a new restaurant at the corner of Surf and 10th Street, formerly occupied by Gregory & Paul’s. A Boardwalk restaurant/bar hoping to get a lease renewal would have had to make a million dollar investment as well, Ferrari said.
In an email with a link to this petition, a rep for the Concerned Citizens of Greenwood Heights writes, “If you give two shits about C.I.’s past, present or future…sign the petition…I am not saying Ruby’s or any of the establishments are the be-all-end-ll of C.I., but there must be a discussion, not a corporate take over.”
And that’s not the only resistance being formed against this week’s sudden string of Coney Island boardwalk evictions. Grub Street reports that the owners of many of the establishments that were given two weeks to pack up and move out, including Cha Cha’s, Ruby’s, Shoot the Freak, the Grill House, and Gregory & Paul’s, are meeting with a lawyer today to find a way to fight the owners of Luna Park. Meanwhile, Ruby’s will open on November 6 for a final farewell/rally to save the place
What’s to come? Upscale restaurants and middle-brow chains, the Xeroxed world we’re all subjected to, inured to, numbed to–and powerless to stop. Between Thor’s demolitions and Zamperla’s evictions, Coney Island is going to look like a massive car-wreck victim after multiple plastic surgeries. We won’t recognize her.
Said Ruby’s co-owner to the Daily News: “It’s really saying, ‘To hell with Coney Island the way it is and the way it was. We want to create a brand new, clean Coney Island for upscale people only.'”
Lauryn Chinnici, a waitress at the Mulberry Street and Coney locations of Cha Cha’s, told us, “My heart is broken. I want to break down and cry. They’re going to try to turn it into A.C., but what they don’t understand is it’s an urban community and the urban is not going to move out of that community. Bloomberg does not go to bat for the people that live here and it’s all about the tourists and what they can bring in.” Cha Cha agrees: “Coney Island is the poor man’s paradise, and they’re full of baloney about making it a year-round amusement park. Unless they’re going to dome it, it’ll never be year-round. If these people think they’re going to go in there and pay year-round rent, it ain’t going to happen.” Citing boardwalk rumors presumably based on a Daily News item back in August, Cha Cha says, “To throw out people who’ve been there in order to bring in newcomers like Atomic Wings and Shake Shack is not the thing to do.”