After a marathon seven hour negotiating session yesterday, seven out of eight businesses on the Coney Island boardwalk that have been fighting eviction agreed to a "deal" late last night that would allow them to stay for one last summer. But after this season, they must slag off so that international amusement giant Zamperla can build a giant generic sports bar/restaurant complex operated by the French-based Sodexo, one of the world’s largest food and facilities management companies. So long Ruby's, and God Bless Generica!
Sodexo, you may recall, has paid $100 million in legal settlements to settle lawsuits accusing the company of overcharging New York students and of denying black employees promotions. The company also coughed up a $20 million settlement for overcharging school districts statewide and the SUNY college system for food and vending-machine services. "This company cut sweetheart deals with suppliers and then denied taxpayer-supported schools the benefits," then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo noted at the time. As we've said before, Sodexo behaves like a shady grifter willing to do anything for a buck—so maybe it'll bring back the old carny days of the Boardwalk.
Details about the deal have yet to emerge, but one can safely assume it comes with a confidentiality agreement, so we may never know what kind of incentive the Coney Island 8 got to go quietly. Or the Coney Island 7, rather—Shoot the Freak, which was illegally demolished by Zamperla to make way for their new Scream Zone, accepted an undisclosed cash settlement to quietly disappear now. The other's—Ruby's Bar and Grill, Cha Cha's, Paul's Daughter, Kris Gregs Beer House, Gyro Corner, Beer Island, and Coney Island Souvenirs.
A source familiar with the negotiations tells us, "They're all very sad." It's unclear if they will relocate somewhere else on Coney Island after the season ends, but our source tells us, "People are tired. Some think it may be better to be in Coney Island than not, but in Coney Island location is key." Indeed, we can't quite see this scene unfolding with the same degree of glee on the sidewalk somewhere on Surf Ave.