The eight businesses on the Coney Island boardwalk that have been fighting eviction may accept a deal that would allow them to stay for one last summer, but guarantee their eviction at the end of the season. The foreign-run amusement giant Zamerpla, which controls the lease to the NYC-owned property, has for months been locked in a legal battle with Ruby's Bar & Grill, Beer Island, Paul's Daughter, the Grill House, Cha Cha's, Gyro Corner, Shoot the Freak and Coney Island Souvenirs. But now Amusing the Zillion reports that the owners are being offered leases for the 2011 season, on the condition that they go quietly in November.
Linda Gross, a spokesperson for the so-called Coney Island Eight, tells us, "Both sides have, indeed, been talking. I really don’t have any specifics and we expect that at today’s hearing the case will be postponed." (The eviction hearing has been repeatedly postponed for months, and today was in fact postponed again, to March 7th.) Sources tell ATZ "the lease stipulations include a confidentiality or nondisclosure clause, which would restrict the Coney Island 8 from making public statements about the situation." Shoot the Freak would reportedly open for the summer at a different spot, since its location was illegally torn down to make way for an entrance to Zamperla's new "Scream Zone."
Ruby's co-owner Michael Sarrel tells the Daily News, "When you have a loaded gun to your head, and your choice is you could do this or we'll pull the trigger, you don't want the trigger to get pulled just yet." And another business owner who declined to speak on the record told the News, "It doesn't give us another home after next year, [but] it's better than nothing. They have the lease to the property. We don't."
Ironically, taxes collected from the Coney Island Eight and millions of other New Yorkers enabled the city to buy the property at extortionary rates from "developer" Joe Sitt. This property belongs to the people, but we suppose it's naive to expect the Bloomberg administration to let local businesses—who've been at Coney Island through the rough decades—to keep their seat at the table.