Hundreds Gather in Coney Island to Protest Closure of Boardwalk Businesses

Saturday, November 06, 2010


There was a wake in Coney Island on Saturday, but it wasn't for a person. It was for the handful of spots on the Coney Island boardwalk that weren't granted new leases by Central Amusement International, their new landlord.

Neil Monteko, of Long Beach, was one of hundreds who showed up at Ruby's Bar to pay their respects and share stories about the 76-year-old establishment. Monteko said Ruby's is far more than a “watering hole,” it’s a landmark.

"I'd be more than happy to lay my body down in front of this building when they try to blast it down and replace it. This is the real Coney Island. This is what people come to New York to see. It's here and it's special and we ought to respect it."

Ruby's owners say they're consulting with lawyers to see if they can fight the closure.

Farther down the boardwalk, the operator of the beach eats spot "Paul's Daughter," Paul Georgoulakos, said he can't imagine packing up after more than four decades on the boardwalk.

"The memories are the worst. How can you put all of your memories -- 41 years -- pack everything in two weeks and go? That's very hard."

Georgoulakos said he's been warned that he must be out by the middle of this month to avoid fines.

The landlord, CAI, who leases about six acres of the amusement zone from the city, has said they plan to invest millions in a resurgent boardwalk and are looking to rent to tenants who will attract business to the area year round.

The crowd of protesters spills outside Ruby's Bar on the Coney Island boardwalk
Kathleen Horan/WNYC
The crowd of protesters spiled outside Ruby's Bar on the Coney Island boardwalk on Saturday
Ruby’s regulars Jim and Jason Shannon comforted one of Ruby's owners, Melody Sarrel
Kathleen Horan/WNYC
Ruby’s regulars Jim and Jason Shannon comforted one of Ruby's owners, Melody Sarrel
A silent protester sat at Ruby's Bar on the Coney Island boardwalk Saturday
Kathleen Horan/WNYC
A silent protester sat at Ruby's Bar on the Coney Island boardwalk Saturday


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Comments [7]

herenow from here in mnhtn

I also think the way this article was tagged is too neutral.
This WNYC why be neutral when it comes to watching people getting wiped-out by greedy-interests. You're being publicly funded - show some skin in the game.
Greedy-interests have no "interest" in seeing a public radio station thrive, they would only want commercial radio, pushing a consumption driven agenda, promoted.
So DAMN IT, help the "small people."

Nov. 12 2010 05:10 PM
Paul's Daughter

You have one more chance to catch a bit of old-time Coney Island! We're having a party this Sat. at 12:30 at Paul's Daughter Restaurant on the Boardwalk at W. 10 St. Remember the place with the rocket on top? That's us! Please go to Paul's Daughter facebook page ( for photos and details, and "like" us! Let everyone know what's happening. Hope to see you on Saturday! Hot dogs on us!

Nov. 09 2010 06:37 AM

herenow: to be fair, Saturday's gathering seemed to be very last-minute (following of course the sudden two week eviction notice AFTER their official last seasonal day). I don't think the lack of notice on WNYC was can easily find a variety of listeners who will agree that there's no place on earth quite like Ruby's.

That said, have they stated whether they will have any more events before closure? I had an obligation I couldn't skip, and I also imagine many people assumed there would be no way to actually get a drink and celebrate, due to overcapacity.

Nov. 08 2010 12:53 PM

I would like to see an activist public radio station call on the public to arrive at these rallies in solidarity with the "small people" who make up this city and quickly watch it dissolve before their lives - taking with it - their livelihood and neighborhood and entire life's work. Why wasn't WNYC informing the public of this rally? Why doesn't WNYC step outside its cozy well-heeled demographic and stand with the small people getting wiped out from this city. It doesn't all have to be hipsterdom - we can care about the "BP Small People."

Nov. 08 2010 11:38 AM
Belle Mears

So so sad - and well worth a great big fight - but shame goes to all of us who let this happen by not getting ahead of this kind of landlord and protecting Coney Island real estate with special historic preservation status. Wish I had been to Ruby's and Paul's Daughter - this kind of crewel business in NOT what tourists or any Americans want for our "amusement parks" - it does not amuse me to hear this. I will be praying for some kind of a rescue for these Mom and Pop places. Some business people like this landlord just don't GET it. They don't care what the people want at all.

Nov. 07 2010 11:27 PM

typical bloomberg...crush small, unique businesses and replace them with generic chain stores...cvs on the boardwalk

Nov. 07 2010 10:01 PM
Paul Meyer from Brooklyn, NY

It is sad that NYC would allow taking away such historical landmarks on Coney Island. We have to look at the future and historical places are important. If we just get rid of everything old we won't have much history. Coney Island is a special place because of places like Ruby's Bar and Paul's Daughter.


Nov. 07 2010 06:42 PM

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