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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.


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.

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

The Child’s building, which has been home to the Coney Island Museum since the 1990’s was given Landmark Status.  This is such great news since many of the old Coney buildings have been torn down in expectation of new developments.

For the entire article, please see the New York times article link.




Ringling Brothers Circus returns for a second season with another spectacular line up of performers!  Check out their site for more info:


Enjoy the show!  Enjoy Coney Island!


Photo courtesy of Coney Island Resident, Bruce Handy, aka Pablo Jonsey.

Bruce provided the following comment about the new Park.

“It’s a joy to watch the birth of Luna Park and the rebirth of Coney Island. The first Luna Park in Coney Island was one of the first amusement parks ever built and the Zamperla team is proud and aware that they are building on historic ground. All roads lead to Rome and all amusement parks lead away from Coney Island. It is an honor to be able to photograph the birth of an amusement park, a once in a lifetime event. I am a very lucky person!”

For images documenting the construction of Luna Park in chronological order, go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/pablo57/sets/72157623843291236/ and keep following Bruce’s photographs.

The following is an article from CNN’s IReport on the New Luna Park (5.18.10)

A new Luna Park, with an entrance reminiscent of the 1903 original is scheduled to open in Coney Island on May 29, 2010.

Several of the 19 new rides have arrived and are being set up by construction crews in a rush to meet the deadline. Workers are also busy on the infrastructure of the park, including electrical wiring  and a drainage system to keep the area dry in rough weather.

The new rides, manufactured by an Italian company, will include a spinning rollercoaster, the “Tickler”, a giant swinging pendulum, a water plunge, a hot air balloon ride and a kiddie rollercoaster.

With names like “Lunar Express”, “Electro-Spin”, “Eclipse” and “Air Race” the rides combine classic theme-park thrills with brand new technology.

Admission to the park will be free and visitors will be able to either pay as they go, ride-by-ride, or purchase a ride package with a wristband giving them unlimited use of the attractions within a set number of hours.

Wristbands will cost  $26 on weekdays and $30 during weekends.

Luna Park is scheduled to open on Memorial Day weekend, ,marking the first phase of New York City’s re-development of Coney Island.


Here is a link to a clip from Channel 13’s series featuring Gerry Menditto talking about his years at Coney Island and working on the Cyclone.  Sorry I couldn’t post the video here, just click on the link!


The Mayor by cck

king and queen keitel aprilosia

The 2009 edition of the Coney Island Mermaid Parade was spectacular.  Many parade-goers didn’t mind getting wet and struttin’ their stuff.  For more terrific images, go to the following links:


http://www.flickr.com/photos/33922338@N06/sets/72157620232993216/show/ by Pablo57


There are literally thousands of great images on these and many other websites.

If you attended or paraded, I hope you had a terrific time!


HI!  Welcome to my Coney Island Blog.  This is the first entry.  Please be sure to check out the entries on the Blog, including Memorabilia, Steeplechase Park and more.  There’s a lot of interesting photos and history here.  If you have an image you would like to add, send me an e-mail at diane_howley@msn.com and I’ll include the photo with your name and caption.  NOTE:  Images with no copyright (c) were taken by me.  In addition, if you wish to purchase any of my images, please send me an email and I’ll give you further information.

Thanks and I hope you enjoy my Blog.


Original 1960’s Bumper Sticker

This Blog will capture the essence of Coney Island from its early days to present (not necessarily in chronological order) with captions, memories and expressions of what Coney Island means as a seaside attraction in Brooklyn, NY and the world.

From the 1930’s through the early 1960’s Rolling Chairs were the alternative to walking the Boardwalk.  Similarly, these chairs were used at Asbury Park and Atlantic City, NJ.

The Parachute Jump was moved from the 1939 World’s Fair (sponsored by Life Saver’s Candy) to it’s historic location on the Boardwalk.  (photographer unknown).  The following are other perspectives of this Icon.

Before renovation.

The Crown of the jump after being dismantled for restoration.

The Parachute Jump was lit for a very brief time before being switched off.

CHECK BACK FOR MORE IMAGES (current in preparation)…