Good news from Coney Island! Some of the beloved, longtime businesses on Coney Island’s Boardwalk may have been granted a last-minute reprieve.
The businesses had expected to be evicted with their current leases about to run out. However, a deal between Central Amusements International — which runs the properties under a lease from the City of New York — and a Miami Beach restaurateur to remake the Boardwalk fell apart after the restaurateur bowed out.
According to news reports, Central Amusement International is now negotiating long-term leases with some of the existing Boardwalk businesses. Ruby’s Bar and Grill and Paul’s Daughter — the two oldest of the Boardwalk businesses — have been named in news reports as businesses that may end up staying.
In response to the news, Save Coney Island issued the following statement:
Save Coney Island is heartened by the news that some of Coney Island’s longtime and beloved Boardwalk businesses may be allowed to remain. This is very good news for Coney Island!
We applaud Central Amusement International for changing course and apparently allowing at least some of the businesses to stay. We urge the City of New York and Central Amusement International to make sure that these businesses are given long-term leases that let them remain under viable terms.
These businesses are beloved Boardwalk icons. They tie Coney Island to its rich history and contribute to its distinctive sense of place. Moreover, these family-owned businesses stuck by Coney Island through some tough times; they earned the right to be part of the new Coney Island.
Successful redevelopment of Coney Island means bringing in innovative, new attractions and establishments while retaining the best of the old Coney Island. The loss of the Boardwalk’s longstanding businesses would have been a tragedy for Coney Island and a grave setback for its redevelopment.
More broadly, the City should work to ensure that local entrepreneurs and small businesses are an integral part of Coney Island’s redevelopment. Coney Island needs the color, quirkiness and creative energy that local entrepreneurs have to offer. They help make Coney Island unique, and not some generic commercial strip.