[UPDATE BELOW]

Considering all the stuff that could have happened with Coney Island, we actually liked the new Luna Park. It's still reasonably priced, isn't surrounded by Vegas-like hotels and concessions, and allows for free beach access. But all that changed with news of operating company Zamperla's alleged mission to shut down boardwalk mainstays like Ruby's and Cha Cha's. Joe Sitt ain't got nothin' on Zamperla.

The company reportedly asked 11 boardwalk businesses to submit business plans by August 31th detailing ideas for upgrades to make their businesses "successful." Zamperla would then decide which leases to renew. The company plans to open a "Scream Zone" amusement park off the boardwalk next summer, and business owners think they're being squeezed out to make room for a boardwalk entrance and its own concessions.

Shoot the Freak owner Anthony Berlingieri argued, "Who’s Zamperla to tell us how to be successful?...Trust me, we’re not going without a fight!" Other business owners shared his sentiment, with varying levels of confidence. Dianna Carlin of Lola Staar Boutique said she's "concerned," but Ruby's bartender Willie Hinds said, "We’ve been here over 60 years, and everyone’s local, not just tourists. We’re what the real Coney Island is all about." That's right: cheap drinks and falling through boardwalk floors!

Symbalz from the Coney Island Message Board has a bit of cautious optimism, saying, "If Zamperla isn't demolishing the buildings, most of em will be back." We just hope that doesn't jinx it.

UPDATE: Luna Park operator Central Amusement International's spokesman Tom Corsillo just sent us this statement: "As a result of the significant invesment made by CAI to launch Luna Park—Coney Island's first new amusement park in decades—America's playground is having its best season in years. Just as they did with the transformation of Astroland into Luna Park, New Yorkers, tourists and all who care about Coney Island will soon have more good news to cheer about on the Boardwalk." ("MWAHAHAHAHA!")