According to an email and this post on the Coney Island message board, the annual post-Polar Bear swim party at Ruby's Bar on the boardwalk will proceed, despite escalating fears that the beloved dive would close. On Christmas Eve, a large number of businesses on the boardwalk were plastered with "For Lease" signs by Thor Equities, which owns much of the property on Coney Island and is locked in tough negotiations with the city over the make-up of a proposed upscale hotel and amusement project.

A tipster tells us that three businesses on the boardwalk, including Ruby's, have been given an option for a lease for the 2009 season, and negotiations are to start next week. But there's rampant speculation that Thor Equities president Joe Sitt may demand as much as triple the current rent.

Not among the lucky three is the Lola Staar boutique on the boardwalk, and owner Dianna Carlin says it's because of her outspoken opposition to Sitt. She tells the Brooklyn Paper: "They have malicious plans for Coney Island and I’m a person who stood up to their plans — and that’s a threat to them. It was already going to be a tough season without Astroland and now this." Carlin says she'll open another branch of her souvenir shop in the Stillwell Avenue subway station. Tomorrow at noon there will be a rally on the boardwalk to protest Thor Equities.