As the unofficial first week of summer is underway, businesses at Coney Island are getting a hopping start to the season.
After a slow first two days of the Memorial Day weekend due to some cold and rainy weather, shops, bars and food spots at the beach area were buzzing with customers on Monday.
The holiday weekend was an extra big reopening for Coney this year after much of it was ravaged in Superstorm Sandy in October.
Nathan’s Famous, which reopened its flagship location on the corner of Stillwell and Surf avenues Thursday after recovering from 6 feet of water it was filled with during the storm, was more packed than ever over the weekend, Bruce Miller, a senior director with the company, said.
Both the Stillwell and the boardwalk locations were teeming with customers on Sunday and Monday, he said, after a slower day due to the unseasonably bad weather on Friday and Saturday.
“When the weather was nice it was very busy in the store,” Miller said. “We know there are a lot of people that are happy that Nathan’s is open again on Stillwell.”
He added that Nathan’s expects the excitement over the city’s recovery from Sandy will make this summer one of the best since the iconic hot dog spot opened in 1916.
Nate Bliss of the Coney Island Alliance said Monday that the boardwalk was packed with a larger crowd than he’s seen on previous Memorial Days.
“All the vendors on the boardwalk are doing very brisk business,” he said on the afternoon of the holiday, with crowds of people talking and laughing in the background. “You can overhear a lot of people having conversations that they can’t believe Sandy came through seven months ago, a lot of people saying it looks great.”
Over at El Dorado Bumper Cars and Arcade, current owner Gordon Lee said he was also busy over the weekend, but he wants more people to come down during the summer.
“Not a holiday day, like I’ve seen in the past,” Lee said of Memorial Day, but he added that customer traffic was better than in the few weekends prior.
Lee said between the Superstorm and the bad weather in the beginning of the weekend, businesses in Coney Island have had some harsh luck this year.
"It's almost like a double whammy from Mother Nature," he said. But, "we're open in America's greatest playground, we need the general public to come down and play and enjoy themselves."