An auction was held yesterday afternoon to liquidate the contents of Gregory & Paul's restaurant, one of the last remaining components that made up Astroland's three-acre space. Gregory & Paul's occupied the corner lot opposite the Cyclone, at Surf Avenue and West 10th Street, and owner Paul Georgoulakos oversaw more than 40 years of warp speed summer seasons catering to hungry beachgoers, selling everything from half-shell clams to cotton candy, funnel cakes to sausages.
And there was 40 years of proof scattered around the back kitchens at the auction: Neon beer signs from brands that no longer existed were sold in lots along with cotton candy machines, battered corned beef boilers, old pizza ovens, soda signs and coffee machines, and an industrial drum potato peeler that looked like a cement mixer. In a compact room attached to the manager's office, a giant combination safe—as big as a walk-in closet—waited for a buyer, and someone to engineer an exit strategy through Gregory & Paul's narrow, galley-like prep area.
Mr. Georgoulakos got his first job (selling milk) at Coney (under the BMT station) when he was 19, and basically stayed on. "The business is the weather," he told the New York Times in 2005. "It's 12 good weekends to make your money, and usually you never catch every one of them." Gregory and Paul's occupied two restaurant spaces around the Astroland perimeter; the iconic rocket ship that loomed over the boardwalk and sat atop Mr. Georgoulakos' other Astroland Eatery was taken down [pictures; video] earlier this month.
Just as bidding at the restaurant finished up, a few men who had been working within the chain link fenced-in area next door made their way into Gregory & Paul's to announce that all the cars outside the restaurant would have to move. Space was needed, the men said, to make way for the tractor-trailer, which was getting ready to haul the rocket ship off the property.