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City: ‘Freak’ demolition was premature

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Coney Island’s amusement operators improperly demolished the “Shoot the Freak” booth on the Boardwalk late last year, the city said.

The Department of Buildings last week cited Central Amusement International, the well-regarded theme park operators, for demolishing the beloved paintball attraction on Dec. 22 without first obtaining a permit to do so.

The Italian-based outfit is now facing a token $5,000 fine for the demolition, which is considered premature until a legal challenge to Shoot the Freak’s eviction is heard next week, according to city spokeswoman Jennifer Gilbert.

As such, Shoot the Freak owner Anthony Berlingieri was ready to pull out a paintball gun and start firing (that’s a metaphor).

“We’re dealing with a company that doesn’t play by the rules,” said Berlingieri, who has become the public face of the eight Boardwalk businesses, including the taverns Ruby’s and Cha Cha’s, that were evicted in November. “We shouldn’t be ousted like this.”

Central Amusement has a 10-year-lease to fulfill the city’s vision of a revitalized Coney Island, but can’t move forward until all eight businesses are legally evicted. The pending court case brought by all eight businesses has slowed down that process. Indeed, Ruby’s, a Depression-era watering hole, is still open for occasional business, including warming up the Polar Bears after Saturday’s New Year’s Day dip.

Central Amusement issued a statement saying that the company will “fully cooperate with the investigat­ion.”

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Reader Feedback

JudahSpechal from Bed-Stuy says:
Another great Managerial decision by our greatest Mayor ever!
His Imperialist Bloomberg.
Jan. 4, 2011, 11:22 am
Peter from UWS says:
Shoot the Freak was little more than an embarrassing empty lot filled with garbage
Jan. 4, 2011, 4:10 pm
Erik from Brighton Beach says:
Sounds like Shoot the Freak is upset that he couldn't get the city and the amusement guys to pay him off to leave quietly...
Jan. 5, 2011, 12:07 pm
chris from brooklyn says:
Rubys and Cha Cha's and a bunch of other places should have been landmarked with the businesses allowed to stay. PLUS I thinks its disgraceful that in this counrty you can just be put out of business just like that. If the weather is good, coney island does awesome and people come from all over..It does not have to look like 5 ave. people love it the way its been for years..Go build your —— idea somewhere else
Jan. 5, 2011, 3:35 pm
Jack Treehorn from Midwood says:
Bunch of WOPs from Italy want to destroy Coney Island! I say they should go back to "the boot" and eat their pasta. A restaurant on the boardwalk to sit and read a paper? What's wrong with the things that were there already? I'm sure that the restaurant they want to build will be prohibitly expensive anyway. Let em kiss my ass!
Jan. 7, 2011, 1:51 pm
davep from coney island says:
Can't be done soon enough. the boardwalk establishments are filthy, disgusting. The place needs renovation badly. Have lived there 30 years and it's long overdue.
Jan. 8, 2011, 7:24 am
nancy from coney says:
hey jack not nice 2 make fun of a nationality just because you dont like what a certain bunch are doing.not all us italians are bad would you like us making fun of your group.that being said why are all you people boohooing overa garbage dump where there were nothing but loud anoying people working there.the place smelled and looked bad.im for one glad itsgone, but they could have done something better with the spot instead ofmaking an exit 2 the new rollercoaster. are people that lazy they cant walk 10 feet 2 the ramp by chachas,the other places on the board walk serveed a purpose but need 2 fix up their places make it look more attrractive
Jan. 8, 2011, 9:12 am
vinnie the clam from coney says:
hows bouts me and some of my associates go and fix dose guys?
Jan. 15, 2011, 2:55 pm
Dean Donavan from SO CAL says:
Oh man that sucks. They should never have torn that down. I have always wanted to do that. Its horrible that they made the demolish it. But hopefully they can rebuild and start over. If they do they can get the guns here.
http://www.airsplat.com/
June 8, 2011, 6:38 pm

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