Posts Tagged ‘Last Hurrah’


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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Easter Brunch at Paul's Daughter on the Boardwalk. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Easter Brunch at Paul's Daughter on the Boardwalk. April 4, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

We’ve set up our phone to live-tweet today’s last hurrah of Coney Island Boardwalk mainstays Paul’s Daughter and Ruby’s. The party starts around 12:30 at Paul’s and goes on till ??? ATZ will be there by around 2 pm. We expect to see many of our friends. If you can’t make it, follow us on twitter @AmusingZillion or on the web at http://twitter.com/AmusingZillion. “misscox,” who inspired us with her live-tweets from last Saturday’s “final last call–or maybe not?” at Ruby’s Bar, will be tweeting, too. Follow that girl! Ruby’s will be open today with cold beer and live music for what we’ve decided to call final final last last call (we hope not).

Final Last Call at Ruby's Bar. Novembe 6, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Final Last Call at Ruby's Bar. Novembe 6, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

The family of Paul Georgoulakos, 81, who has been selling food in Coney Island since 1950, is throwing a party at Paul’s Daughter, formerly known as Gregory & Paul’s. The refreshments, including what we consider the best french fries in Coney Island, will be “on the house.” We’ve been a fan of G & P’s hand-cut fries since we first came to Coney in the 1970s and feel inexpressibly sad at the thought of eating our very last french fry at Paul’s.

Paul's Daughters: Tina and Valerie Georgoulakos with Tina's daughter Natalie.  November 6, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Paul's Daughters: Tina and Valerie Georgoulakos with Tina's daughter Natalie. November 6, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

‘”We just want to say ‘Thank You’ to the Coney Island community,” Paul’s daughter Tina Georgoulakos told ATZ about Saturday’s party. “It is a celebration of the life of this store and the people who love it and Coney Island. We really feel everybody needs a feel good day to get rid of some of the ugliness that has happened.” Founded as Gregory & Paul’s in 1962, the restaurant and eight other Boardwalk businesses were evicted by Luna Park operator Central Amusement International to make way for redevelopment.

In an op-ed in the Brooklyn Paper, CAI and Zamperla USA CEO Valerio Ferrari writes: “The multi-million dollar program will bring back the world-class mix of entertainment, dining and nightlife that was once a hallmark of the famed Boardwalk.” Shoot the Freak’s Anthony Berlingieri, who also lost his lease, responded “Where’s our thanks?” Shoot the Freak was not among the Boardwalk businesses that reopened last weekend to say a bittersweet farewell to friends and fans. As for this weekend, we’ll let you know via twitter…


As we tweeted on Saturday: Boardwalk biz owners met for round table strategy session with their attorney in front of Cha Cha’s. Although tomorrow, November 15, is the date they originally had to get out, notices of landlord CAI’s intent to sue for eviction were delivered or posted on their premises mid-week extending the vacate date through November 19.

When we left Ruby’s on Saturday at 5:30, the joint was still jumpin. It will be open again Sun & “on the house” party 2 doors down at Gyro Corner. Grill House also remained open for Last Hurrah Weekend.

Rubys host emailed on Sunday morning: “Busy schedule. Polar Bears swim @ 1…Killer Joe @ Gyro 1 pm – blues rock & soul…Neptune Jam @ Grill house 1:30 – Paul Sanchez. Bratva – w12/ Surf @ 2 – Changes – bike classic rock band – Richi Lupo – played at Rubys yesterday.”


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