Streams

Coney Island Businesses Hurt By Rainy Summer

Monday, September 12, 2011

WNYC
Coney Island Scream Zone, part of the new Luna Park development Coney Island Scream Zone, part of the new Luna Park development (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

Many longtime business owners in Coney Island said the wet, unpredictable weather this season resulted in a serious drop in revenue. The storms and evacuations this summer have left businesses scrambling.

Michael Yacoub, who manages Footprints Cafe, said at least half the season was a disappointment: “Forty-five good days and 45 rainy days, so it wasn't as we expected for this summer."

Yacoub said they tried to make up some of the drop in business by increasing takeout orders, but their receipts still dropped by about 20 percent.

Coney Island Gyro, two blocks from the boardwalk, also saw a double digit dip in customers. Owner Michael Shvartsman said the rain has been horrible for business. "I’m very worried because I don’t know what’s going to happen. If this continues, I don’t know how I’m going to survive.”

Michael Sarrell, who co-owns Ruby's Bar and Grill, said they added a new coat of paint and refinished the bar, hoping their final summer on the boardwalk would be their busiest.

“We invested all that to make our last season, the best season. But monetarily it didn't turn out that way.”

Ruby's is one of seven boardwalk businesses that will lose their leases at the end of next month.

Sarrell said they’ve sold about 30 percent less food and drinks than last summer.

He and other vendors said, in addition to the rain, weekend subway disruptions also kept customers away.

Tom Corsillo, spokesman for boardwalk landlord Central Amusement International and the operator of the Coney Island amusement areas, agreed the weather hasn’t been cooperative this season.

But Corsillo is staying mum about whether Luna Park and the Scream Zone, which features four new roller coasters, are on track to meet or exceeded 2010’s profits.

The Coney Island season officially lasts through Halloween.

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