Coney Island Boardwalk Truce: Businesses to Stay for Summer?


The hotly contested beachfront businesses on the Coney Island boardwalk look set remain and keep that decades-old charm, if that is what you call it, for one more year.

Attorney Marc Aronson, who represents the eight boardwalk businesses in the eviction case against their corporate entertainment landlords, Central Amusements, told New York magazine, “We’re working on something that’ll be an amicable resolution for all the parties and something that’ll be really just for both sides, and we’re really close.”

Details of Aronson’s “amicable resolution” are hard to find, but insiders told the hyper-local Coney Island blog Amusing the Zillion that the likely scenario included an extension of the existing leases, but that the 2011 summer season would probably be the last for the “Coney Island 8.”

A possible eviction settlement is in the works between the longtime tenants and current property holders that would see the final boardwalk tenants have one last season on the beach and resolve their legal battle against eviction.

The scheduled court hearing on February 16 was the second since notices of eviction went out late last year, but both parties chose to wait until March 9 for a third legal appearance that looks increasingly unnecessary.

The group’s spokesperson, Linda Gross, did not know the progress of the case, but said, “I know that they are talking and really hoping that they can come to a settlement soon.”

Ruby’s was shown preparing for another season of business on Curbed NY, but not all of the businesses are rushing to ready their stores. With no deal certain, Tina Georgoulakos at Paul’s Daughter said, “I feel like it would be too heartbreaking to get the store ready.”

The two businesses are part of a group that has already lost one of its number, Shoot the Freak, to Central Amusements demolition, and it appears that only the remaining seven will remain. Shoot the Freak’s empty boardwalk space is now ready to become the beachfront entrance to Central Amusements’ new theme park, Scream Zone.

That they have been offered a chance to stay is remarkable. As leaseholders on the boardwalk property, the eight businesses faced a daunting court case, and the legal challenge to the denial of a new lease looked increasingly untenable with the opening of the Coney Island season only months away.

No elected officials openly supported their resistance to development, and one, City Council Member Domenic Recchia, actively railed against them. Aside from the feeble grassroots campaign against their closure and the disgruntled cries opposing gentrification’s encroach, the Coney Island 8 had little to wager.

Their legal stalling however, made the threat of an empty, shuttered beachfront an unacceptable sight for the landholding overlords. Here’s to the seven final months of Coney Island lore, but can “Sodom by the Sea” ever be sanitized?


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