Weather puts damper on Coney Island businesses

May 25, 2013 8:17:00 PM PDT
On a Saturday night in Coney Island on Memorial Day weekend, the Boardwalk is typically bustling with people. Not this year with it being this cold.

The weather has put a damper on local businesses who were hoping to get a boost.

"Memorial Day weekend is probably the third busiest time on Coney Island," said Tom's Restaurant Assistant Manager Billy Tourloukis, "unfortunately mother nature, sorry we're closed."

Tourloukis closed up early because business was slow. For Tom's Restaurant, a staple of the Coney Island Boardwalk, it is a disappointing start to the holidat weekend.

"Last year it was mobbed, the boardwalk was mobbed, the beach was mobbed, everybody was doing great business," said Tourloukis.

But this year, Mother Nature has dampened everyone's spirits. A boardwalk rebuilt after Superstorm Sandy had little foot traffic.

The beaches were deserted and desolate. Amusement park rides, like the Steeple Chase and the Wonder Wheel were motionless.

"People come from different places, New Jersey, Bronx, you don't see that right now. What happened?" said Coney Island resident Nancy Rodriguez.

However, there was one encouraging sign on Coney Island. The grand reopening of the New York Aquarium, six months after Superstorm Sandy caused six million dollars in damage.

Many fresh water fish were killed when the ocean breached the facility.

Visitors will be able to peer down into pools containing walruses, harbor seals, penguins and other mammals.

Sea lions will perform in the renovated aquatheater.

And there are large tanks containing fish and other sea life, native to everywhere from Africa to Belize.

The back half of the aquarium remains closed for repairs until 2016.

The jellyfish and sea horse collections are among exhibits still off-limits.

The late October superstorm's surge flooded tanks with debris-filled water and knocked out backup power to all of the exhibits.

While the stormy weather damped the start of the holiday weekend, there is a bright spot on the horizon. Sunshine is in the forecast for Monday.

"Everybody come on out. Enjoy the Memorial Day on the Monday. Come out to the boardwalk. Enjoy the beach, enjoy the shops and the stores, said Billy Tourloukis. While portions of the boardwalk are still being repaired after the Superstorm Sandy, the majority of it is open for business.