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 “The old sign was outdated anyway.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