We’re still in shock and will have more to say in the coming days. It’s like a mass wake on the Coney Island Boardwalk at the moment. The funeral will be this weekend…It’s goodbye Ruby’s, Cha Cha’s, Paul’s Daughter, Grill House, Gyro Corner, Shoot the Freak, Beer Island, Pio Pio Riko and Coney Island Souvenir Shop. After hearing the news from folks on the Boardwalk that the venerable Ruby’s and several others were out, ATZ phoned Zamperla USA/CAI CEO Valerio Ferrari for confirmation. It’s shocking but true: the only two existing Boardwalk businesses invited back are Nathan’s and Lola Star Boutique. These lucky survivors will be offered a 9-year lease. The other nine businesses will become part of Coney Island history, unless the City helps them relocate in the neighborhood.
“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.
Where Cha Cha’s is located there will be a year-round restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, with upscale food. Ruby’s and the Souvenir Shop will be replaced by a huge sports bar. Ferrari says they have letters of intent from the companies that will bring in the bar and restaurant, but was not ready to reveal the names of the restaurateurs.
Last night, ATZ was on the Boardwalk taking photos of the vernacular signage and gritty authenticity of Ruby’s, Cha Cha’s, Paul’s Daughter, Shoot the Freak, and the other Boardwalk businesses. It was the last day of the 2010 season. As it turns out, it’s the last day period. The businesses have two weeks to vacate the premises they’ve occupied for 7, 20 and in one case 40 years.
It seems to us that Seth Pinsky of the NYCEDC has some explaining to do. As ATZ reported last year in “Ciao Coney Island! Will Ruby’s, Shoot the Freak, Astrotower & Other Oldies Survive?” (December 18, 2009)…
Before the RFP release, Shoot the Freak’s Anthony Berlingieri made headlines when he appeared at the City’s press conference on the land buy and posed the question directly to Mayor Bloomberg: “Is there a place for us?” NYCEDC President Seth Pinsky gave a diplomatic reply: “Our intention is for the foreseeable future to keep all the tenants in place, certainly through next summer. And we’re going to be looking to work with each of you to figure out where it makes sense for the various tenants to remain as we build out the amusement park.”
UPDATE… November 3, 2010: Friends of Ruby’s Bar Launch Petition, Plan Nov 6 Rally
Related posts on ATZ…
September 17, 2010: On Coney Island Boardwalk, Ruby’s & Cha Cha’s Rock This Fall
April 23, 2010: Photo Album: Coney Island Boardwalk Businesses Open for 2010