If you were thinking this morning about how great it would be to spend a winter's day at the beach, here's good news. Ruby's Bar & Grill—the imperiled Coney Island institution—will open up for the annual Coney Island Polar Bear Swim. Despite receiving an eviction notice from the sinister corporate amusement giant Zamperla, the essential boardwalk dive isn't budging, and plans to open for "a HUGE protest" on New Year's day. A host at Ruby's (Facebook) tells us the doors will pop at 10:30 a.m. for the annual "Polar Bear Plunge for Camp Sunshine." Meanwhile, questions are being raised about the food service company that Zamperla wants to install on the Boardwalk to replace eight businesses, including Ruby's.
Following up on some good reporting from Amusing the Zillion, the Post looked into the questionable track record of Sodexo, one of the world’s largest food and facilities management companies. (They brought desperately-needed Dippin’ Dots to Coney Island!) Sodexo, which would operate a year-round restaurant complex on the Boardwalk once these old relics are brushed aside, has paid $100 million in legal settlements to settle lawsuits accusing the company of overcharging New York students and of denying black employees promotions.
Actor Danny Glover was arrested earlier this year protesting the allegedly poor working conditions that Sodexo employees toil under. And in June Sodexo coughed up a $20 million settlement for overcharging school districts statewide and the SUNY college system for food and vending-machine services. "This company cut sweetheart deals with suppliers and then denied taxpayer-supported schools the benefits," Cuomo said. In other words, Sodexo behaves like a shady grifter willing to do anything for a buck—so maybe it'll bring back the old carny days of the Boardwalk.
As for Ruby's, its first court date with the other "Coney Island Eight" was initially scheduled for December 10th, but postponed. One source at Ruby's explains the bar is "fighting The Order to Show Cause of why we should be evicted, when the rent is paid... The infrastructure is just starting this coming spring and the city has acknowledged it will take at least 3-5 years for the infrastructure. So I think Zamperla is jumping the gun
a little; some things wont work until others are in place. This [lawsuit] process should take at least 6-8 months, then we are into spring/summer, but, that doesn't mean we can open."