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‘Master of Coney Island’ remembered

We at Courier-Life tip our hat to the memory of a true Brooklyn original –— the Master of Coney Island.

The Master — aka Genaoro Venegas Rivera — a local resident and longtime staple at the boardwalk’s Ruby’s Bar and Grill known for his infectious smile, party-hearty attitude and trademark sailor’s hat — died earlier this month following a long illness. Services were held at the Coney Island Memorial Chapel on Mermaid Avenue on January 11.

Rivera “embodied the Coney Island of today,” neighborhood shopkeeper Lola Staar explained on her blog www.lolastaar.wordpress.com this week.

“For years before we met, I had seen Master on the boardwalk, enthusiastically inviting anyone and everyone to join the party at Ruby’s Bar and Grill,” she noted. “There was always a party at Ruby’s, as far as the Master was concerned and he was always the life of that party. The Master would burst into my store (at least once a day) and shout at the top of his lungs ‘WWWAAYYYppaaaaa! It’s Party-time!!!’ He spent most of his life on the Coney Island boardwalk, always wore a sailor hat and had a zest for life and a sparkle in his eyes.”

Staar remembered fondly that while no ruling body she ever heard of gave the Master his lofty title or hat, the only person to question the title was her 90- year-old grandmother.

“So what are you the master of?” she asked. “Coney Island?”

“No, no, no,” he responded modestly. “Only half of it.”

Rest easy Master. The parties in heaven are a lot livelier now that you’re there.

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