Last Saturday at Ruby's Bar and Grill, there was a boozy protest against amusement giant Zamperla USA's move to evict eight longstanding businesses around the Coney Island boardwalk. It was supposed to be the last hurrah for the beloved dive, but this Saturday there will be another last hurrah. Ruby's Facebook page says: "Due to overwhelming requests, from our loving and loyal customers, Ruby's plans on opening up for the last time." And if Ruby's lawyer is right, this might not be the last time either. "We're about to fight the biggest battle ever," attorney Marc Aronson tells the Daily News.
Aronson, who is representing the eight Coney Island bars, eateries, and attractions facing sudden eviction, is spoiling for a fight. "They're not going to be out in November and they're not going to be out in December and they're not going to be out for a while. [Zamperla] can't simply just go and change the locks; they have to go to landlord-tenant court for an eviction. Let me be very brief; [Zamperla is] bound by certain representations and promises that were made [and] have a legal effect."
When the suit finally goes before a judge, the business owners are expected to argue that Zamperla led them to believe their leases would be renewed, and encouraged them to spend thousands of dollars to come up with new business plans that would fit with Zamperla's vision for a year-round Coney Island. Shoot the Freak owner Anthony Berlingieri says city officials even helped the owners to prepare their business plans, and treacherously strung them along. "Everything was pushed into the area of us staying," he tells the News. "Then you tell us to get out in two weeks?"
An online petition to save Ruby's is currently 3,000 strong.