Western Brooklyn

Councilman Treyger Moves To Make Coney Island Boardwalk A City Landmark

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Can our beloved boardwalk be saved?

Councilman Mark Treyger asked the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to make Coney Island’s Riegelmann Boardwalk a scenic landmark today, an effort to block the city from replacing its planks with concrete and plastic, reports the New York Daily News.

“This is a globally recognized iconic structure that draws millions of visitors each year,”  Treyger told us. “Many New Yorkers recall stories from their childhood when their families took them to the boardwalk. We strongly believe that the boardwalk is worthy of being designated a city landmark, and is worthy of the same designated services every other piece of our local infrastructure has.”

As we previously reported, the city began construction to replace the boardwalk this month, despite fierce protests from residents, politicians, and activists, who say the concrete will ruin the walkway’s historic character and who question the environmental impact of the project. Shortly after Superstorm Sandy, activists filed a lawsuit demanding a full environmental review of the boardwalk project before construction commenced, pointing out that concrete has not necessarily proven to be more resilient against extreme weather, but a judge ruled against them.

Now the boardwalk’s fate is in the hands of the LPC. The landmark approval process is notoriously sluggish, and it will likely take at least a year for the boardwalk to reach the panel, but Treyger believes the move will put increased pressure on the Parks Department to halt the project.

“Money has been allocated [by local politicians] to make changes to the boardwalk instead of replacing it. This is very much counter to what the community desires,” Treyger said.

The boardwalk’s tropical wood planks have been around since the 1920s. If approved by the LPC, the boardwalk would become Brooklyn’s fourth scenic landmark. Currently, only Prospect Park, Eastern Parkway, and Ocean Parkway are protected scenic sites.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I voted for Mark and if he could get this done it would be worth the vote. Not only is the concrete a bad idea, it has already developed hairline cracks. It retains water and is very hot in the summer. Lets get this done

  2. Councilman Treyger is a terrific public servant, and I appreciate and recognize the sentiment about “preserving” the boardwalk with wood planking. But from a the perspective of physical, environmental and financial sustainability, it just makes no sense.

    First, we have already seen that when Super Storm Sandy hit, it completely destroyed the wooden sections of the Rockaway beach boardwalk, causing tens of millions of dollars in damage, which will take years to restore. The concrete sections were largely unscathed.

    Second, the wood used in boardwalks is all tropical hardwood, so the rain forest must be destroyed to build these kinds of wooden boardwalks. While some have suggested that native black locust could be a viable substitute, there is simply no ample, readily available supply of that wood in the US.

    Third, maintaining wooden boardwalks is notoriously difficult and expensive. Cracked, uplifted and splintering wood is par for the course. Building wooden boardwalks instead of much more durable concrete, would force the city to spend money is does not have for upkeep for years to come.

    Fourth, a wooden boardwalk would be unable to stand up to any kind of serious storm surge. Building a wooden boardwalk in an era of climate change, rising sea level, and more frequent and more powerful storms would be extremely bad public policy

    Finally, the experts have weighed all the alternatives through extensive evaluations of all the alternatives that were reviewed by the NYC Public Design Commission several years ago, and the City made the wise decision then in favor of concrete.The courts have consistently supported that wise course of action. It’s time to move on and build a beachfront walkway that will last for decades and not require expensive maintenance that the city cannot readily provide, and which does not require destroying the tropical rain forest.

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