Labor Day (the unofficial end of summer) and I must admit I did not update this blog at all (shame on me).  However I will be uploading photos from some very good photographers who capture Coney Island’s essence.  Also, I’ll recap all the great things that happened this year.  So come back in the new week or two and check it out!  Thanks!


30,050 Hits & Counting


The following information has been provided by,

 written by Jason Singer

GottaLoveConeyIsland will be in Black Out mode until 2/22/12 in protest of the following unfortunate news, and apologizes to any fans this may inconvenience, but we deem the matter far too important for anyone with sand in their shoes to ignore. Please read the following, and decide for yourself.



If you love Coney Island, now is the time to show it by helping save our Boardwalk, before it is too late, otherwise


By:  Bob Singer

By: Bruce handy

…..Will be gone forever.
By:  Jay Singer


The Coney Island Boardwalk has provided a unique, peaceful respite for visitors and locals alike from the concrete city all around us. This 89-year-old icon has endured through two World Wars, a plethora of political administrations, and the ravages of nature’s wrath for nearly a century, but it may not survive the myopic stewardship of the very agency to whom its care is entrusted. If the Parks Department has its way, the Boardwalk will be turned into a concrete sidewalk/roadway!

Please sign this petition to convey to the NYC Parks Department that the people of New York, as well as visitors from around the world, deserve the continued enjoyment that only the Boardwalk provides and that no concrete facsimile can ever replace:

More information:

The first reason cited for the concrete proposal is that the city can no longer use wood from the Rainforest, since it is not ecologically sustainable. While this is so, we have encouraged the Parks Department to choose one of the sustainable, non-rainforest, and domestically grown woods that are available, and are viable, both structurally as well as economically. We have pointed out other boardwalk communities who have found success with just such a solution.

Another reason is cost. The City believes that maintaining a concrete walk is less expensive than maintaining a wood boardwalk. Depending on what material is used for both the support structure and the decking, this may in fact be true. However, the cost differential decreases significantly over time. In fact, an engineer in another city did a comparative cost analysis for their boardwalk and found the additional cost for wood was one million dollars over a 50 year time frame. That’s $24,000 additional cost per year for wood. This seems minimal, when compared with what would be lost if the boardwalk is destroyed.

The Parks Department seems to be underestimating the maintenance that concrete requires over time. They “tested” their concrete plan in two sections (one at each end of the boardwalk), and already, less than one year after they installed it, the concrete has many unsightly cracks, stains and gum spots. In some areas, whole chunks of concrete fell away and the Parks Department had to replace them (you can see where they patched certain areas, because the patches are different colors). Additionally, the concrete slabs are drifting apart from one another, creating a safety hazard. You can read about it here:

The last reason cited is related to safety and sanitation. The City says a concrete walk would better support the heavy police cars and garbage trucks that are used on the boardwalk. However, there is no reason to use these heavy vehicles. In other areas of the city, policemen use lighter forms of transportation, such as bicycles. And in Central Park, trash is often collected with golf carts.

A concrete walk creates its own safety and sanitation concerns. The Parks Department plans to use a slab concrete substructure in all areas of the boardwalk (even the four blocks by the amusement park that they intend to cover with wood planks). This leaves absolutely no place for drainage. In the places where they’ve tested this substructure, water and ice build up regularly, and food and vomit get stuck between the boards and rot there. Also, the concrete has absolutely no give to it, and damages the joints of the people who run and walk along it every day. The Parks Department tried to throw some rubber between the boards and the concrete, but it doesn’t do much in terms of shock absorption. The boardwalk was meant for people, and these issues create far greater risks for the people who use the boardwalk every day.
For additional Information, please go to

Thanks to Jay for providing this valuable information and I hope you will join us in signing the petition and voice your opinion about the destruction of this historic boardwalk.


02/02/2012 06:48 PM NY1 Exclusive: Coney Island Business Owner To Move Entire Building From Boardwalk

By: Jeanine Ramirez

A Coney Island business owner is being forced to leave the boardwalk, and he’s taking his whole building with him—literally.

Steve Bitetzakis is fighting back the only way he knows how. He lost his battle to keep his business, Steve’s Grill House, on the Coney Island boardwalk and now he’s taking the whole building with him. “It’s better than nothing, because they were looking to take the building from me,” says Bitetzakis. Bitetzakis erected the modular building back in 1993 on land that’s changed owners several times over the years. The city now owns the land, but the Grill House is not part of plans for the new Coney Island. His lease was not renewed after the end of the season, but Bitetzakis says the building is his and a judge agreed he could keep it. However, he must move it if he wants it.

Bitetzakis says he plans on moving his building on February 10. The structure sits on concrete columns reinforced in steel and will be lifted with hydraulic jacks. “They’re going to move it on steel plates with dollies and they’re going to slowly move it to the new location,” says Bitetzakis. He’s still not sure where that new location will be, but Bitetzakis says it’ll be somewhere in Coney Island, although he’d rather remain on the boardwalk. “I have ocean view. I’ve been here. I’ve built up a nice business. Of course I’d love to stay here,” says Bitetzakis. He’s not the only one. Several other boardwalk businesses have been forced out to make way for new businesses near the new amusement parks. His staff and his customers say it’s not fair. “Steve definitely should’ve been here because he’s always provided a good service,” says employee Barry Flynn. “It’s amazing to me that they could put all these new businesses and leave him out. And he’s been here,” says customer Frank Collorio. Bitetzakis’ family has been operating boardwalk businesses since the 1950s. His father Gregory ran Gregory and Paul’s Concession for decades. “It’s in the blood. Coney Island is in my blood,” says Bitetzakis. He vows to continue his tradition of serving Coney Island customers, just not on the boardwalk.


12/09/201110:39 PM

Businesses Get New Leases On

 Coney Island Boardwalk

By: NY1 News

New long term leases are now in place for three boardwalk businesses in Coney Island, including Brooklyn institution Tom’s Restaurant, which will open a location on the spot where the former ChaCha’s and Nathan’s boardwalk concession operated.

New long-term leases are now in place for three boardwalk businesses in Coney Island.

As NY1 first reported earlier this week, Brooklyn institution Tom’s Restaurant will now be setting up a second location.

The 1936 Prospect Heights eatery will open a Coney Island restaurant with a similar menu.

It signed an eight-year deal to take over the spot where the former ChaCha’s and Nathan’s boardwalk concession operated.

Also signing eight-year leases are longtime boardwalk businesses Ruby’s Bar and Paul’s Daughter.

It’s a twist of fate for the establishments, which were evicted at the end of the 2010 season by the new landlord Zamperla.

All three businesses are expected to be open for business in April.


NY1 Exclusive:

Historic Carousel Is Jewel Of New

Coney Island Park


As the city starts construction on a new park next to the Coney Island boardwalk, NY1 has an exclusive sneak peek at its design, which includes a historic carousel that is a neighborhood landmark. Borough reporter Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.*

The B&B Carousel, a fabled part of Coney Island history, used to sit on Surf Avenue. Now, developers will place it next to the landmark Parachute Jump, in a two-story pavilion with folding glass doors that open out toward the boardwalk.

The designer, David Rockwell of Rockwell Group, explains that he wants to have the famed amusement park’s history mingle with the fun.

<i>The carousel in 2005.</i>

The carousel in 2005.

“We’re treating the carousel and the 50 amazing original horses and two chariots as kind of a jewel offset with this round building,” says Rockwell. “And around the perimeter, when you’re on the carousel, there will be a small installation looking at the history of Coney Island.”

The carousel will sit in a newly created Steeplechase Plaza. The city starts construction of the 2.2-acre park this week.

“It’s a wonderful little park off the boardwalk that will allow people a place to hang out. There’s a very shaded grove of trees down the hill, and it’s the first public part of reimagining Coney Island,” says Rockwell.

The city reimagined the more than 90-year-old wooden carousel operating in Coney Island’s future. Back in 2005, Mayor Michael Bloomberg bought the carousel for nearly $2 million, when it was up for sale. It was old but still operational.

The carousel is being restored in Ohio to make its grand return to a $30 million Steeplechase Plaza, which sits in the the footprint of the former Steeplechase amusement Park.

“The parachute jump has always been this amazing icon, but now you’re going to get to enter Steeplechase Plaza underneath it. And as you peek through it, it’ll pull you into the park,” says Rockwell.

The city says the park and carousel will be ready for the 2013 season.

* The blog is waiting on a photo of the rendering of the new building


Blogger’s Note:

 The carousel’s spelling was “Carousell”.  On July 4, 2001, Mike Saltzstein passed away at the age of 60, after operating the beautiful “catch the ring” carousell for more than a quarter of a century.  The Carousell was later sold to the City of NY, dismantled and went through extensive renovation.  I think it fitting that the carousell have a plaque honoring Mike for his dedication and devotion to this beautiful mechanical wonder.


Thursday, November 17, 2011; Posted: 05:11 PM  – by BWW News Desk –

Coney-Island-USA-Purchases-New-Building-20010101Coney Island USA, operators of the last stationary 10-in-1 Sideshow in the  nation, the Coney Island Museum, and the Mermaid Parade, is pleased to announce  the purchase of the Denny’s Ice Cream building (1214 Surf Avenue). The purchase  was finalized on Monday, November 14, 2011.

Denny’s Ice Cream is immediately next-door to Coney Island USA’s landmarked  headquarters (1208 Surf Avenue) and guarantees space for Coney Island USA’s  long-term growth. Immediate plans call for the continued operation of  Denny’s business while Coney Island USA begins work with architects to transform  the space into a new exhibition and special events venue which will be available  for weddings, performances, and special events. Coney Island USA will continue  the tradition of storefront retail on Surf Avenue even after the space is made  available for artistic programming. Coney Island USA Executive Artistic Director  Dick Zigun said, “By owning both of these properties, Coney Island USA has  guaranteed that 100-years from now, Coney Island will remain a quirky and  exciting place for live performance and spectacle.”



Before reading today’s article about Boardwalk busineses auctioning off their wares, I thought it appropriate to add this song by Bob Dylan.  Read the NY Daily News article after the lyrics. 

The Times They Are A-Changin’ – Bob Dylan

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched
to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin’
Then you better start
swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your
eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the
wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who that it’s namin’
For the
loser now will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who
has stalled
There’s a battle outside and it is ragin’
It’ll soon shake
your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the
new one if you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
rapidly fadin’
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they
are a-changin’

Going once, going twice…Iconic

Coney Island Memorabilia Goes to

 the Highest Bidder

Boardwalk businesses like Cha Cha’s Bar that lost their leases put items up for auction

BY Erin Durkin
New York Daily News, Wed. Nov. 4, 2011

The famous Cha Cha's Bar and Cafe on the Coney Island Boardwalk is being forced to auction off most of its property after failing to get a new lease. Todd Maisel, Photographer/New York Daily News

Todd Maisel/New York Daily News

The famous Cha Cha’s Bar and Cafe on the Coney Island Boardwalk is being forced to auction off most of its property after failing to get a new lease.

 Piece by piece, bits of the Coney Island Boardwalk’s storied past were put on the auction block this week and sold off to the highest bidder.

A white upright piano went up for sale, along with a Stuff-your-own-teddy bear machine, a disco ball, a fog-making machine and piña colada and funnel cake stands, as businesses slated to be evicted from their Boardwalk spots sold off their wares.

There were dusty speakers, weathered beer signs, bar stools, cigar boxes, and plates painted with images of Campbell’s soup cans.

“I’m selling these neon signs, one, two, three, four, five,” rattled off auctioneer Joe Benigno. “Can’t get these no more, guys.”

A small crowd of bargain hunters gathered to snap up the items. Among them were memorabilia dealers, business owners looking for supplies, and curiosity seekers looking to spend a few bucks on a beat-up artifact of the iconic Boardwalk.

“People want to get old-fashioned stuff for their bars, memorabilia that was part of Coney Island,” said Benigno, of Best Buy Auctioneers, who conducted the sale along with Vincent J. Casale & Co.

Two of the businesses initially hit with eviction notices by amusement company Zamperla – Ruby’s Bar and Paul’s Daughter – have since been offered eight-year leases to stay. But others are facing the end of the line – and are cleaning house.

Cha Cha’s Bar and Coney Island Souvenirs auctioned off whatever they could sell, while Ruby’s offered up some unneeded items.

“They outright turned me down,” bar owner John “Cha Cha” Ciarcia said of the landlord. “They’re not willing to discuss anything with me.”

So, a pair of blenders from behind the bar sold for a dollar a piece, and a six-foot-high Coors beer sign for $10.

“Glass racks, $25 apiece on these. You just need to clean them up – they’re gorgeous,” Benigno said.

Boardwalk fixture Johnny Corona, 55, took a break from sunning himself on a beach chair – beer in hand, ignoring the early November chill – to buy an illuminated cocktail sign. “We’re regulars…I go back here at least 11 years,” he said. “This is sad.”

Dave Berger, 43, of Ocean City, L.I., bought a guitar, a keyboard, and speakers.

“This is my first (auction),” he said. “It’s Coney Island (and) it’s about to be history.”

Benigno worked his way through Cha Cha’s, bidding out items at a rapid fire pace, until he reached the back of the bar.

“Anything else in here to sell?” he said.


Two Coney Island Boardwalk icons

set to sign eight-year leases after

escaping eviction

BY Erin Durkin

Thursday, October 20th 2011,  4:00 AM
Ruby's Bar and Grill on the Coney Boardwalk is reportedly poised to sign a new lease.

Debbie Egan-Chin/News

Ruby’s Bar and Grill on the Coney Boardwalk is reportedly poised to sign a new lease.

At least two popular Coney Island businesses that had faced eviction are now reportedly set to return to the Boardwalk for the long haul.

Ruby’s Bar and Grill and Paul’s Daughter – among the establishments amusement giant Zamperla had moved to boot from the seaside strip – are now poised to sign eight-year leases in the coming weeks, sources said.

It’s also possible Beer Island and Cha Cha’s will be allowed to stay open, though those talks are more tentative.

Zamperla reversed course after a deal for a Miami-based company to take over the space occupied by Ruby’s and Paul’s Daughter and open a diner and a large international food court fell apart.

The Miami Beach hotel and restaurant operators who opened ice cream shop Coney’s Cones this year clashed with Zamperla over the rent for the rest of the strip, sources said. The ice cream shop is expected to stay open.

A Ruby’s rep said the long-term lease will allow the owners to finally give the beat-up 77-year-old bar a makeover, while keeping its honky-tonk charm.

“While we’ll be modernized, we won’t necessarily be sanitized,” the source said. “The reason we haven’t done it in the past is we’ve been on a year-to-year lease for the past eight or nine years. Now that we know that we have some stability…we’re prepared to put in substantial capital improvements that will improve upon the Ruby’s everyone knows and loves.”

Zamperla, an Italian company that runs the new Coney amusement parks Luna Park and Scream Zone, moved to evict the longtime businesses and replace them with glitzier attractions after taking over the land from the city last year.

The businesses fought back in court and won a one-year reprieve, but they had to forfeit the right to sue, so this year was expected to finally be the end of the line.

Beer Island owner Anthony Berlingieri said he hasn’t been offered a deal but plans to talk to Zamperla officials this week.

“The bottom line is that instead of running around trying to find people who think they know what they’re doing, they happen to have…us here who know what we’re doing. That’s why we’re back year after year,” Berlingieri said.

“We’ve been the ones who have survived Coney Island through thick and thin,” he said. “Hopefully this is the wake-up call…Don’t you think the people who have been in Coney Island for all these years have an idea what it takes to make it here?”



Fairwell Ruby’s Bar

September 2, 2011

I’m sharing this article from Jeremiah Moss’  Vanishing New York.

It’s painful to see Ruby’s and other restaurants and shops go at the end of this season.  Some people may think it’s progress, I for one think blending the old with the new is a good concept. (Diane Howley)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Bar of Coney Island

by Jeremiah Moss
Ruby’s Old
Time Bar
was opened by Rubin “Ruby” Jacobs just a few decades ago, yet it looks like it’s been on the boardwalk forever. Maybe that’s because Ruby had been there all his life, first selling knishes on the sand then operating Coney’s last bathhouses, Stauch’s, Claret’s, and Bushman’s. Souvenir ticket stubs and photographs from the
bathhouses line the walls of Ruby’s bar, along with hundreds of photos from
Coney’s glorious past.Ruby died in 2000 and now his legendary bar is about to join him, thanks to Joe Sitt, who sees himself as comic-book hero Thor, “protector of the cities.”

Painting in Photo by Robert Leach

When you ask Coney people if they’ll be there next year, they shrug and say, “Who knows?” A counterman at Gregory & Paul’s responded by calling out, “Who knows, who knows, only the nose knows! Step right up for ice-cold beer here!”

At Ruby’s, I asked Frank the bartender if he thought they’d have another season on the beach. He told me, “Sometimes I get a good feeling and sometimes I get a bad feeling. Maybe we’ll get another year, but I wouldn’t put my money on it. Why would someone pay millions of dollars for this property and then let us stay? I’m just taking it  one day at a time. Like an alcoholic, or a drug addict.”

 Posted by Jeremiah Moss
at 9:47