Kathleen Horan, Reporter, WNYC News
Kathleen Horan is a staff reporter for New York Public Radio, covering the neighborhood beat. She also reports 'Reset', an ongoing series documenting police-community relations in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
Longtime boardwalk businesses in Coney Island are putting up one last fight in an attempt to stay open. Several boardwalk businesses were recently denied lease renewals by Central Amusement International, the company that controls the boardwalk and operates the new Luna Park amusement area.
A rally is scheduled for noon on Saturday, organized for the most part by patrons of the nine businesses and concessions that didn't receive new leases and were told they needed to be out by the middle of November.
Most of the public outcry and online petitioning has centered around saving Ruby's Bar, a 76-year-old spot, that's part time capsule and part boardwalk rec-room.
One of Ruby's owners, Michael Sarrel said whatever happens, they’ll be open tomorrow.
"If, in fact, we're gone we wanted to offer them one last chance to celebrate Ruby's," Sarrel said.
Sarrel believes if local elected officials get involved, like Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, maybe there’s a chance for the bar to be included in CAI's new plans for the boardwalk.
“What we're hoping is that we can get 10,000 people to send emails directly to Marty Markowitz -- we'd like somehow to maintain some of the new with some of the old.”
Markowitz has said that the future of Coney Island should be a mix of established businesses and new ones. But boardwalk leaseholder Central Amusement International is moving forward with plans to modernize the area and bring in tenants they believe will attract customers year round.
A spokesman for CAI said the venues that are closing will be replaced by other seaside attractions that reflect the "unique character and innovative spirit that characterized the golden age of America’s playground."