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.

A walk on the Boardwalk (in no particular order)

The Atlantis Bar took on many forms.  Toward the end, it became a Western-oriented bar with a country guitarist playing and singing on the bar.  (c)

Before the City decided to fill under the boardwalk with sand, people used to hang out, have parties, and some called it “home”. (c)

After the sand replishment program, the City installed a Welcome sign. (c)

Ruby’s old Tyme Bar – through the years

Ruby sitting outside the bar early spring. (c)

Souvenir Shopping

Hanging out on a grandstand.

Child’s Restaurant Building Landmarked

Old Child’s Restaurant postcard

Child’s building in disrepair (before Landmarking)

Beautiful Terra Cotta work covers the building.

The 2008 Season brought a new look to the words beauty, fun and functionality at the old Child’s building.  Lola Staar’s Roller Rink opened to great applause.  Diana Carlin (aka Lola) worked hard to make her “Dreamland” a reality.

 That’s Lola outside her dream.

Dreamland becomes a reality.

Vacant storefront to become home to Lola’s Boutique.

Lola Staar’s Boutique

Lola outside her boutique.

Shoot the Freak (some how this game seems wrong…)

Cha Cha’s

 Gregory & Paul’s

“Dewey” sat a top of Gregory & Paul’s for many years.  Dewey has since been taken down.

Astroland operated for over 40 years until it was sold to a development company.

The original Astroland Spaceman (Photo: CI History Project/Astroland Archives, all rights reserved)

The Astro Tower revolved 365 degrees and provided a birds eye view of Coney Island and surrounding areas.

Astroland drew large crowds every season.

Plenty of rides and attractions on the boardwalk.

After the 2008 Season ended, Astroland was closed.  It was dismantled and became a wasteland.

The rides were dismantled and taken away. (Photo: Pablo57)

Astroland – Vanished (Photo: Pablo57)

After removal of the Rocket, from a top of Gregory & Pauls,  it sat for most of the winter before being put in storage. (Photo: B. Yankowitz)

   Astroland lot (Photo: Pablo57)

Astroland – Farewell (Photo: Jimvid)

Deno’s Wonderworld Park

The New York Aquarium

Shark Tank

Come back for more…