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The Changing Face Of Coney Island

Depression-era Ruby's Bar revamps its facade

The Brooklyn Paper
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Call it a sign of the times.

Ruby’s Bar, the beloved Depression-era pub that fought to stay on the Coney Island Boardwalk as the People’s Playground undergoes a massive attitude adjustment, has replaced its vintage sign with a modern marquee to fit in the city’s kinder, gentler vision for the gritty Amusement District.

Workers tore down the 78-year-old watering hole’s hand-painted sign — which famously advertised hamburgers, corn dogs and other beach staples — replacing it a more contemporary plastic lettering.

Coney’s faithful lamented the change, claiming it symbolized the historic amusement district’s slow transformation from a honky-tonk fun zone into a sterilized row of rides, shops, and restaurants.

“I liked it more before,” said Ivan Samayoa. “It had more of the traditional Coney Island look.”

Amy Zuchowski agreed, claiming that Ruby’s won’t ever be the same.

“The character is what made it successful and they’re changing it,” Zuchowski said. “It should be like it used to be.”

But Ruby’s owner Michael Sarrel said he was required to make the change as part of his agreement with Central Amusements, the company overseeing the city’s plan to turn the amusement district into an upscale, year-round, tourist destination. Central Amusements allowed Ruby’s and Paul’s Daughter, a popular food stand, to stay on the Boardwalk last year provided the shops complete expensive makeovers.

“We were ordered to clean up our facade,” said Sarrel. “The old sign was outdated anyway. It needed a facelift.”

— with Derrick Lytle and Ben Lockhart

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at dbush@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at twitter.com/dan_bush.

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Reader Feedback

kelly from park slope says:
I was just there yesterday, and I thought it was an improvement.
June 19, 2012, 2:30 pm
nancy from coney says:
the old sign had more character and the new sign takes alot to get use too but it is alot better plus the old one was faded and warn out it needed to be replaced
June 19, 2012, 8:26 pm
nancy from coney says:
the old sign had more character and the new sign takes alot to get use too but it is alot better plus the old one was faded and warn out it needed to be replaced
June 19, 2012, 8:26 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Marching to mediocrity in Mayor for Life Mike's NYC!
June 19, 2012, 10:10 pm
C. from BK says:
You can update a sign without completely removing it's character. This looks like a sign for a Chili's or TGIFriday's. It's terrible. Paul's Daughter had a much better take on updating the sign.
June 20, 2012, 2:11 pm

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