Thank you to Paul Georgoulakos and his family and staff for more than 40 years of service to Coney Island. Here’s our slide show from November 13th’s “Thank You Coney Island! We Love You” party along with additional images.
Writing about the closing of Paul’s Daughter, formerly known as Gregory & Paul’s, is so overwhelmingly sad that we keep postponing it. We keep hoping the Coney Island Rumor Mill has it right this time and the rumors that some or all of the evicted Boardwalk businesses will get one to three year leases from Luna Park turn out to be more than wishful thinking. The legal wrangling begins in court on Monday.
The evicted business owners and their attorney will be rallying on the Boardwalk on Monday at 2 pm. A politician is expected to show up. We can’t say the pol’s name, but considering the absolute silence from officials since November 1st’s Monday Morning Massacre, a politician’s support would be news. UPDATE... ATZ learned that the event previously described to us as a “rally” and which we were unable to attend was actually a meeting on the Boardwalk in front of the Grill House. In attendance were the business owners, their attorney and a politician, as well as the press and bystanders. The pol was State Senator Carl Kruger, who said “Coney Island should be evolution not revolution” and promised to fight for their cause. Watch News 12 Brooklyn at 5 pm for a report and check Rich Calder’s blog in the NY Post.
When Mayor Bloomberg visited Coney Island this season, we’re told that he posed for a photo with 81-year- old Paul Georgoulakos. If somebody would send us the photo, we’ll gladly post it with an appropriate caption: @MikeBloomberg: Please show respect for Coney Island’s elders & renew Boardwalk leases. In the meantime, call 311 or 212-NEW YORK outside of NYC and leave a comment for the Mayor.
Paul’s hand-cut french fries are the best in all of Coney Island–yes, better than Nathan’s! Our fondess for G & P’s fries is linked in our memory to Gregory’s appearance in the lede of our travel feature for Islands Magazine in 2000. Color photos of Coney’s characteristic “Shish-Kabob Hot Dog French Fries” signage were splashed across the pages along with pix of the Wonder Wheel and the Mermaid Parade. “Greetings from Coney Island!” was published in the Best Beaches Issue along with Thailand, Greece, Kauai, Puerto Rico and Bermuda! A sticker proudly proclaiming “Coney Island NYC” appeared on the cover of issues for sale in New York.
Here’s the beginning of the story…
Last summer in Coney Island, I discovered that a freshly-spun cotton candy from Gregory and Paul’s was my equivalent of Proust’s madeleine. I was waiting for my order of crinkle-cut, Coney Island-style french fries, when the sight of cotton candy being turned out by a deft hand caught my eye. One, two, three twirls round a paper cone — and it was done. But instead of handing the confection to the fellow who was putting the finished products into clear plastic bags, Gregory handed it to me.
“How did you know I wanted one?” I was incredulous.
“I could see it in your face,” the canny showman explained.
He was right. Though it never would have occurred to me to eat cotton candy as an appetizer to french fries, that’s exactly what I did at Coney Island that day. And blissfully. The moment the magical stuff began to melt on my tongue, I was transported back to the little New England carnivals of the 1950s and ’60s, when I was a carny kid who had the run of the midway, and “floss,” as we called it—along with french fries, hot dogs, popcorn and snowcones — was everyday fare.
When the magazine came out in December 2000, Coney was on the cusp of a renaissance. Now it’s come to this: out with the old-timers and the quintessential Coney Island eateries and every little bit of authenticity. Why can’t old and new co-exist in the new Coney Island?
Related posts on ATZ…
December 9, 2011: Paul’s Daughter Signs 8-Year Lease for Coney Island Boardwalk
November 13, 2011: The End of Paul’s Daughter As We Know It–Will They Return?
October 13, 2011: Photo of the Day: Coney Island Americana Looking for New Beach