Posts Tagged ‘last call’

Last Drink at Cha Cha's of 2010 Season. October 31, 2010. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

Last year, we had our last drink at Cha Cha’s on Halloween, Coney Island’s last day of the season. That’s Cha Cha’s regular Johnny Corona at the end of the bar. The next day, all but two of the Boardwalk businesses received “Surrender the Premises” letters from the operator of Luna Park. This year, Cha Cha’s and Ruby’s are planning goodbye parties for successive Saturdays in October. Now that their one-year reprieve is over, the businesses must vacate the premises by November 4th. If you want to have a last drink with friends or take photos of the signage, get here before Halloween. After that, they’ll be packing up and moving out.

The home of “Wild Women and Wise Guys” is going out with a bang. Saturday, October 22nd, is being billed as the last big party for John “Cha Cha” Ciarcia and his friends, including Soprano cast members. Musical guests include Killer Joe as well as Vincent Pastore and his Lickety Split Band. Pastore played the role of Salvatore “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero on The Sopranos. His friend Cha Cha, who also operates a restaurant on Mulberry Street in Little Italy, played Albie Cianflone.

According to an email invite: “This is the final Big Party at Cha Cha’s. Starts around 4 pm and will go till???” We’re told that Cha Cha’s final day is Sunday the 30th. Ruby’s Goodbye Party is Saturday, October 29th from 11 am with music by Undercover and Mystical Children scheduled from 2 till 8 pm.

This weekend, local musicians Richi Lupo of Undercover and possibly Erik Knapp of Mystical Children are doing a combo at Cha Cha’s on Saturday at 4 pm. Sunday is Super Major from Sea Gate, also at 4. All of the above-mentioned events are no cover, no minimum. In other words, it’s free to come and say goodbye.

Since October 8th, ATZ has been posting a fave photo (or two) a day to say goodbye to the Boardwalk Mom and Pops who are losing their leases at the end of the month. Click the tag “Countdown to Corporatization” to see all of the posts.


Related posts on ATZ…

October 11, 2011: Photo of the Day: Butterflies & Beer Island by Bruce Handy

October 10, 2011: Photo of the Day: Coney Island’s Famed “Hey Joey!” Doomed

October 9, 2011: Photo of the Day: Ruby’s Old Tyme Bar by Kenny Lombardi

October 8, 2011: Photo of the Day: “The Chief” of the Coney Island Boardwalk

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Sammy Rodriguez at Ruby's Bar, Coney Island. June 20, 2007. Photo © Kevin C Downs Photography

Last week a friend sent us this invite to Sammy Rodriguez’s 85th birthday party to be held on October 1st at Ruby’s Bar and Grill. Coney Island’s beloved dive bar, which will close forever at the end of October, is throwing a birthday bash for its beloved longtime bartender.

With all the changes the past few years it has been a while since we have all been out on a weekend and hung out for a few together. So let’s have a last gathering party with everyone ON SAM”S BIRTHDAY! This is our final year so — ONE LAST BIG HURRAH IS IN ORDER!!!!!!

Sat. Oct 1st 2pm til ???

This is a celebration for Sam and Ruby’s and the years they have had together in Coney. This is not a Save Coney Party or a Media party, this is a party of friends/summer family to celebrate our memories with Sam and Ruby’s.

Sam came from Puerto Rico and worked as a porter, fry cook and bartender in Coney Island for six decades. The story goes that he had a job at the spot “under the boardwalk” before Ruby Jacobs bought the place and kept him on. As one of my friends says, “He helped create Ruby’s as we know it.” Sam’s birthday is October 1st, which this year of all years luckily happens to fall on a weekend. Since he retired five years ago, it’s become a tradition for Sam to come up from Puerto Rico to celebrate his birthday at Ruby’s. We’ll be there to wish him a happy 85th birthday and many more to come, but the sad fact is it may be the last time for this get-together. Will Sam and friends make the trip to Coney Island once Ruby’s is gone? More than 450 attended the big bash when Sam turned 80.

Last call at Ruby’s Bar will be on Saturday, October 29 Sunday, October 30, 2011. Along with seven other Mom-and-Pop businesses, including Paul’s Daughter and the Suh family’s souvenir shop next door, Ruby’s was kicked to the curb by New York City’s Economic Development Corporation and Zamperla’s Central Amusement International to make way for a corporatized, gentrified Boardwalk. This is of course last year’s news (“Out With the Old in Coney Island: Only 2 of 11 Boardwalk Businesses Invited Back,” ATZ, November 1, 2010). As Valerio Ferrari, CEO of Zamperla USA/CAI told us that day: “They didn’t have the vision that we have for the Boardwalk. It’s a business decision.”

What else is there to say? Come out on October 1st and October 29th, and anytime in between to raise a glass to Sammy and Ruby’s and yes, sentimentality –a word that is not in the playbook of the powers that be. On New Year’s Day and Opening Day, we’ll especially miss our old friends. Ironically, these small, family-owned businesses on the Boardwalk managed to keep Coney Island alive and thriving through tough times, even when real estate speculator Joe Sitt was their landlord. It was only after the Bloomberg administration “saved” the People’s Playground by buying the property from Sitt for an astounding $95.7 million dollars of taxpayer money that the Mom-and-Pops got evicted en masse. This is just wrong.


Ruby's, Coney Island. May 28, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i


Related posts on ATZ…

March 9, 2011: Paul’s Daughter: “We love Coney Island and we love what we do”

January 13, 2011: Paul’s Daughter Dishes on the Boardwalk Brawl

January 6 2011: Exclusive: NYCEDC Kiss-Off Letter to Coney Island Boardwalk 8

April 23, 2010: Photo Album: Coney Island Boardwalk Businesses Open for 2010

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