Sandy Brings NYC Beaches, Or, At Least, The Bathrooms, To 21st Century Standards

Source: NYC Dept. of Parks and Recreation
Source: NYC Dept. of Parks and Recreation

The new bathrooms lining the Riegelmann Boardwalk along Coney Island and Brighton Beach might not be making everybody happy, but some see them as a sign of the city entering the 21st century. A report by Wired details how the destruction inflicted by Superstorm Sandy on the city’s beaches inspired a new wave of modern architecture on New York City’s shores.

As we’ve previously reported, the new modular pod-like bathrooms enraged residents of the Oceana luxury apartment condominiums (50 Oceana Drive West), who said the structures obstructed their million dollar views of the ocean, but not everyone sees them as eyesores. The pods, designed by Garrison Architects, are solar powered and storm-surge resistant, standing 12-feet high, meeting FEMA’s new standards. The city installed 35 of them citywide as part of their $270 million beach restoration plan.

Paula Scher, a partner at the design firm Pentagram, described how the new beach structures were designed to match the time in which they were constructed.

“The things we built are modern, they’re of their time. These are things that were built in 2013, and they look like 2013,” Scher told Wired.

While many of New York’s beaches, especially Coney Island, are known for their vintage appeal, Scher emphasized that the changing world demands new ideas that meet new requirements.

“There are always people who want to hang onto their past memories. Sometimes I do too,” Scher said. “But the reality of our 21st century world is something we have to embrace and live with.”

Am I alone in loving the look of the new bathroom pods? They are big, sleek and make me think of spaceships. They haven’t detracted from my enjoyment of the boardwalk in any way.

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