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Coney Island Businesses Try To Make Most Of Holiday Weekend After Closures

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TWC News: Coney Island Businesses Try To Make Most Of Holiday Weekend After Closures
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New Yorkers are flocking to Coney Island for some fun, but are the crowds enough to help small businesses recoup the losses felt on the fourth of July? NY1's Mahsa Saeidi filed the following report.

The drama of the swaying Astrotower in Coney Island may be over, but business owners said the hit to their pocketbooks still remains.

"We have a very finite number of days to make money, and when we lose a day, that's one of the days that we've lost, and we can't get it back," said Michael Sarrel, owner of Ruby's Bar and Grill.

What they lost was approximately two days of foot traffic because of concerns about the structural integrity of the long-abandoned Astrotower. It prompted officials to close many of the areas biggest attractions from Tuesday through late in the afternoon on the Fourth of July.

"It definitely impacted business about 30 percent," said Denos Vourderis, owner of Famiglia Pizzeria. "We were closed, the boardwalk, our establishment."

Vourderis' family has owned and operated La Famiglia Pizzeria, along with Deno's Wonder Wheel Park, for the past 43 years. This year was the first time they were ever closed on Independence Day, which is historically one of the biggest days for business.

Vouderis said the losses cannot be made up.

"Profit-wise, probably not," he said. "We're 30 percent off, so it's hard to pick up after that."

Sarrel agreed, but said that considering the predicament they were in, officials performed well.

"To get a 400-foot crane to Coney Island the day before Fourth of July is an amazing task," he said.

Crews reduced the height of the Astrotower from 275 feet to 92 feet.

Everything is back to normal on the boardwalk, and all the rides, including the Cyclone, are back open to the public now.

Business owners said they now hope the rest of the summer will be filled with sunny days and lots of happy customers, such as Bruce Cantin, who grew up in the area.

"To see it like it is now, all lit up and so many people down here, and so many new rides and stores and stuff, it's fantastic," Cantin said.

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