Say bye-bye to the boardwalk
Iconic, if gritty, businesses like Ruby’s bar, Shoot the Freak, Coney Island Souvenirs and Gyro Corner were given notice yesterday that their new landlord, Zamperla, would not be renewing their leases.
“This decision is absolutely, 100 percent greed,” said Anthony Berlingieri, owner of Shoot the Freak and Beer Island, “We kept Coney Island alive. They’re gonna have to take me to court to get me out of here.”
Only three businesses were given permission to stay: Nathan’s, Lola Star and The Beach Shop. The owner of the Cyclone roller coaster is also leaving Coney Island and handing off the landmark to a new operator.
Zamperla spokesperson Tom Corsillo explained that while each of the businesses were evaluated, only those that fit within their “vision for a new Coney Island” were renewed.
“I’m in shock,” said Dick Sigun, the self-proclaimed Mayor of Coney Island and artistic director of the nonprofit Coney Island USA, “but I have to respect Coney Island isn’t separate from corporate America. Everyone has to realize that this is the way real estate and capitalism works.”
With only two weeks to leave, business owners are at a loss.
“We’ve been here for 76 years. We’re a Coney Island institution,” Ruby’s co-owner Michael Sarrel said. “We’re hoping there will be a public outcry.”