They’re about to pave paradise, but instead of putting up a parking lot, it appears Coney Island is bound for more bland, bourgeois amusements.
Nine boardwalk businesses found out their leases would not be renewed today. With the exception of Nathan’s and Lola Star’s, many of Coney Island stalwarts will not be returning next summer, including the 76-year-old Ruby’s bar and the always enjoyable Shoot the Freak. The latter is a sad casualty given that its owner supported the redevelopment under the expectation he would have a place in developer Joe Sitt’s Coney 2.0. It will be curious to see whether he, or any of the misfits, who have helped keep Coney afloat over the years will have a place in its future.
If not, it would not exactly be a surprise, as so much of the Island has already been subjected to the wrecking ball. The Cyclone will be staying, as it is a landmark, but Carol Alpert, who has run the rollercoast for three decades, as well as the now-gone-and-partly-forgotten Astroland, has given up her license amidst mounting costs to run it.
The place has seen a banner year since it was saved last winter from Sitt, but that is no reason to sacrifice it to the prevailing whims of newfound business partners and BroBo wimsy–a Brooklyn Brewery is reportedly in talks to move to the boardwalk, as much good news as bad.
What a day at Coney needs is watery Bud and corn dogs, not microbrews and artisanal brats. Has the boardwalk jumped from the sinking ship into the stormy sea? Let’s hope not.