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Businesses on the Coney Island Boardwalk Receive Their Marching Papers

Monday, November 01, 2010

WNYC

Many longtime shops, eateries and concessions on the Coney Island Boardwalk will close next season.

They were denied lease renewals by Central Amusement International, the company that controls the boardwalk and operates the new Luna Park amusement area. CAI had asked eleven businesses to show how they intended to modernize and improve their operations by requiring them to submit business propsals.

Carol Albert is the former owner of the now defunct Astroland amusement park and still runs the landmarked Cyclone roller coaster. She admits that she may step down as operator next season because of rising costs. But that’s different than being forced out. She says boardwalk owners aren’t exactly shocked, but they’re sad.

"People are upset, there's just no question about it and you know when you've been in business for a long time and suddenly you're told you can't do it anymore, of course you're going to be upset," she said.

Among the businesses that are closing are the 76-year-old bar Ruby's, Paul’s Daughter, Gyro Corner, Beer Garden and the paint ball attraction "Shoot the Freak."  The only concessions that have received confirmed leases so far are Nathan's Hot Dogs and the Lola Starr Souvenir Boutique.

Spokesman for CAI, Tom Corsillo, says it plans to invest millions of dollars in a resurgent boardwalk featuring world class entertainment, dining and retail stores.

Specific plans haven’t been released except that CAI is looking to invite tenants who will open a sit down restaurant and a sports bar, which will both operate throughout the year.

Coney Island History Project's Charlie Denson says updating the boardwalk shouldn't mean removing the old timers.

"The fact that we're losing all of them at once is really a shame -- it’s not as if one of them went out of business and is being replaced, it’s really a clean sweep of the boardwalk. If that was their intention, they should have let them know from the beginning."

Businesses that didn’t receive new leases have been told they have 15 days to vacate.

Proposed design for Coney Island

Proposed image of a future Coney Island.

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Comments [5]

norbert nowotsch from munster, germany

it took a while before the bad news reached me in germany. i visit the boardwalk whenever i´m in nyc, since 1981.
how stupid. how sad. those people are killing the magic of a special place and turn it into nothing.

Nov. 18 2010 04:12 PM
Ben from Brooklyn

These gritty businesses are what made Coney Island Coney Island. Brooklyn has already lost a lot of it's flavor to sterile chain stores. I appreciate what Luna Park did for Coney and will patronize their park again BUT I will not patronize the new businesses on the Boardwalk especially if they are the redundant chains that ruined the flavor of the city with their lackluster ho-hum offerings.

Nov. 08 2010 10:46 AM
Lindsey from Brooklyn

Sit down restaurant? Sports bar? Really? That's not Coney Island! What's next -- a $75 admission fee? Oversized resorts? The best thing about Coney Island is you go could at any time of the day and have a good time on the cheap! You could spend the day at the beach and the evening on the boardwalk where there was live music, dancing, tons of food, games, etc. This isn't the Hamptons!!!!!!! Leave the culture of Coney Island ALONE!

Nov. 06 2010 01:15 PM
Vince from Brooklyn

Curiously missing from this article is any explanation as to why these business could not submit plans for improvement or some kind of business plan.

I think that's fair to ask of businesses in an area that has degraded over the years. Ruby's, for example, is a hole. It would be nice to see their family-owned business have a plan for its future.

Nov. 02 2010 08:21 AM
tony dwyer from Stuart, FL

How can they be allowed to rip the heart out of the boardwalk? What a shame. Mr Bloomberg do something. Squeaky clean aint Coney Island. I come up from Fla. every year just to walk the boardwalk and have a beer and clams a Cha Cha's. I won't be comming any more.

Tony Dwyer

Nov. 02 2010 07:22 AM

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