©blhphotography via Creative Commons
To the horror of many, some of the wood in the famous Coney Island Boardwalk will soon be replaced by a mix of plastic and concrete. The Public Design Commission has approved a plan to remove the boards from Brighton Beach’s 15th Street to Coney Island Avenue in exchange for concrete sections with faux plastic boards. The new boardwalk is thought to be more cost effective, but many locals are urging the Parks Department to use sustainable domestic hardwoods.
The Coney Island Boardwalk is an iconic symbol of the now dwindling beachside area of Brooklyn’s Coney Island. The historic boardwalk wood has been continually replaced for over a hundred years, and as the amusement rides and circus spectacles of the community’s past close, the boardwalk has been the only part of its past to consistently remain. So the plan to remove the boardwalk from Brighton Beach’s 15th Street to Coney Island Avenue has hit close to home for many local residents and enthusiasts.
The Parks Department’s plan is to install a 12 foot concrete strip down the center of the boardwalk, with recycled plastic faux-wood planks on either side. This would help emergency vehicles navigate better, and it will also be less expensive to install and reportedly last longer. The Parks Department claims that this decision was made in reaction to Bloomberg’s PlaNYC initiative to use less endangered tropical hardwoods in city projects.
But the Coney-Brighton Boardwalk Alliance argue that this “mishmosh” ruins the aesthetic of the boardwalk, suggesting that sustainable hardwoods like Black Locust or White Oak are just as effective. They also point out that other concrete areas on the boardwalk are already cracking.
The Park Department has yet to completely approve the new plan, but if it is passed, much of the boardwalk could become plastic and concrete, with only the historic Coney Island Amusement District being safe from the renovation.