SAVE THE SMALL BUSINESS SOUL OF CONEY ISALND PROTEST
ON THE STEPS OF CITY HALL
DEC 5TH, 1PM
Celebrate Small Business Saturday a few days after, on Dec 5th at 1pm, and rally to Save the Small Businesses of the Coney Island Boardwalk.
The small businesses of the Coney Island Boardwalk are in danger of being pushed out by massive rent increases. Help us tell their landlords Central Amusements International (Luna Park, Scream Zone) and the City of New York that small businesses are a valuable asset to Coney Island and deserve to thrive rather then being pushed out.
In 2009 the City of New York used millions of taxpayer dollars to purchase 7 acres of the Amusement District to ensure the Spirit of Coney Island was preserved. They leased this land to Italian Corporation, Central Amusements International, who opened the amusement parks Luna Park & The Scream Zone. CAI also took control of operating the Cyclone & The B&B Carousel which are both landmarks owned by the City. In addition to this they opened boardwalk businesses Coney Cones & Place to Beach. They control all of the commercial spaces along the boardwalk and soon they will control all of the spaces in the Stilwell Ave Subway Station after they won the MTA RPF issued earlier this year. Those businesses are also in danger of not having their leases renewed or renewed at “market rates” which will essentially push them out.
Almost all of the tenants on the boardwalk have owned businesses in Coney Island for decades, for some generations.
In 2010 all of the businesses along the boardwalk were granted 9 year leases which expire, ironically, on Small Business Saturday, Nov 30 2019. Some of the businesses were given a lease renewal agreement with a rent increase of as much as 500% making it clear that CAI does not value the same small businesses neighbors who welcomed them into the community and worked side by side with them to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy.
CAI hired a brokerage firm, Lee Associates, known to be vocally against small businesses and the Commercial Rent Control Bill to decide what “market rate” rent should be for these boardwalk businesses. The brokerage firm began shopping the spaces around to new tenants, behind the current tenants backs, months before the lease renewal agreement were presented to the current tenants.
Coney Island was created by small businesses with a unique vision that they had the courage to make into a reality on our shore. Small business visionaries are responsible for creating the world famous destination that is loved by millions today. Historically Coney Island is known as the People’s Playground. It has always embodied a sense of diversity, charm, character and most importantly SOUL.
CORPORATIONS ARE TAKING OVER CONEY ISLAND
Over the last 10 years Coney Island has lost some of this small business legacy. A large majority of the Amusement District is now owned and operated by one Corporation, CAI. Small businesses are becoming fewer and fewer.
What sets Coney Island apart from other Amusement Parks is the fact that it was composed of many different and unique visions. However now we are in danger of the majority of Coney Island becoming controlled by one corporation, one vision. And, judging by recent actions which seem to be motivated purely by greed, we have reason to doubt their vision and intentions.
Since 2010 most of the new businesses that have opened along Surf Ave are chains or corporations. But even larger corporations seem to be struggling to survive. The Applebees that opened on Surf Ave in 2013 quietly went out of business in September of 2019. The Wahlburgers that opened in 2015 also quickly went out of business.
Yet despite this, the same month Applebees went out of business, Starbucks hung their “Coming Soon” sign on Surf Ave, right across the Cyclone. This will be our first Starbucks in the Amusement District.
We fear Coney Island may be starting to loosing it’s character and soul.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
But, the good news, is that most of Coney Island is owned by you, the taxpayers of New York. It CAN be saved. Visit the “Take Action” page at SaveConeyIsland.com for list of elected officials you can write to to have your voice heard. Tell them that more needs to be done to maintain Coney Island’s Small Business Soul & Legacy and that the small businesses that are on City owned land should not get pushed out due to massive rent increases.
And join us on the steps of City Hall at noon on Monday on Dec 5th for our Save the Small Business Soul of Coney Island Rally.
The City of New York has a responsibility to ensure the taxpayers get what they paid for, the preservation of the Spirit of Coney Island.