On a weekend that in previous years would have drawn thousands of rock fans to Coney Island for the Siren Festival [RIP], the NY Times glances at the changes coming at the end of this summer, when seven longstanding businesses will be shut down and replaced with sports bars and upscale establishments where "you can have a nice cappuccino." There's no news here for those who've been following along with the sad Coney Island "development" saga, but reporter Liz Robbins's complacent tone is at least punctuated by some intense quotes, like this one from long time Coney Island resident Frankie Colorio:

"They're ripping the heart out of Coney Island, and they're ripping the heart out of the people of Coney Island," Colorio declares. The Suh family, which has run Coney Island Souvenirs for 25 years, knows what he's talking about. "They’re taking the store away; I hate them," says Robert Suh, 29, who now runs the business with his mother—at least until the end of the summer. His father, Thompson Suh, was a former welterweight wrestler who opened the shop in 1987. On his way to sign a one year lease with the city in February 2010, he died of a heart attack and crashed his car in the Midtown Tunnel.

Suh's wife was in the passenger seat, holding her dog, when her husband died. "He said someday they are going to take it away," she tells the Times, gazing sadly at his photograph behind the cash register. Asked how the new company that controls the leases had treated her, she says, "Cold heart. Ice." Valerio Ferrari, the Italian president of Central Amusement International (a.k.a. Zamperla), explains, "We don’t have the same vision. They like the way it is, and we don’t... We will never make Disney here. But it will be something more... refined, cleaner. A little more year-round, if it’s possible, with sit-down restaurants and sports bars."

And that suits Robbins just fine. In the sepia-tinged video that accompanies the article, she complacently intones, "This is what always seems to happen on Coney Island. This place for the last 130 years has been reinventing itself... The beach-goers know, there will always be a bar, there will always be a souvenir shop." Of course, instead of being operated by local residents who stuck with Coney Island through the rough and tumble years and helped nurse it back to life, the sports bars and "refined" restaurants will be operated by a foreign company, Sodexo, which has been fined by New York State for overcharging New York students and denying black employees promotions. You won't find any mention of that in Robbins's article, but this is what always seems to happen on Coney Island.

On a semi-related note, some stray kittens out there need a foster home.