It looks like would-be Coney Island developer Joe Sitt has gone all Henry F. Potter this Christmas, sending workers out last night to put up "For Lease" signs on boardwalk properties owned by his company, Thor Equities. A commenter on the Coneyisland.com message board snapped some photos last night and this morning, depicting the signs above such indispensible boardwalk mainstays as Nathan's and scruffy dive bar Ruby's Bar & Grill.

The sign above Ruby's comes as no surprise, as their lease expires at the end of the month and there has been speculation that they'll soon go the way of Astroland. Nathan's, however, is more of a shock, and has us wondering if this is Sitt's rough way of leveraging for a better deal on the ten acres of land the city wants to acquire from the developer. There is also speculation that Thor Equities began changing the locks and evicting some of the concession stands near the boardwalk last week. As for Ruby's, someone from the bar apparently left this comment on the message board last night:

OK gang--Ruby's here--no fear yet!!! THE POLAR BEAR PARTY IS STILL GOING ON!!!!! as of 6:10 pm 12-23.

We are suppose to receive the lease next week--as far as amount he is requesting--that we do not know until we receive the lease. Thor has not responded to our calls. We know he has spoken to other owners and we are all getting out leases next week. I will know more tomorrow afternoon after conference calls--KEEP THE FAITH!! it may just be a tactic.

Scare tactic or not, it's depressing to imagine the boardwalk without Ruby's, to say nothing of a generic future when the annual hot dog eating contest is held outside a sparkling new Duane Reade or Applebee's. [Though it should be stressed that the sign pictured here is above the boardwalk Nathan's, not the Nathan's on Surf Avenue where the contest is held.] Or as another Coney Island commenter put it: "I want to cry. Seriously, the man has no heart--worse than that, sheer malice mixed with blatant power issues, where his heart should be."