The following is a press release posted on Friends of the Boardwalk’s Facebook page:

Various grassroots organizations, and Coney Island and Brighton Beach Residents have filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court in Brooklyn seeking to prevent the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation from destroying the historic Coney Island Boardwalk and replacing it with a plastic and concrete structure.

According to the lawsuit, the Parks Department abused its discretion when it decided that its plan for the Boardwalk was not subject to any environmental review, even though the potential for negative environmental impact is obvious and far-reaching.

Factors such as erosion, flooding, drainage problems and impact on existing use must be considered. Additionally, an agency must consider the project’s impairment of the character or quality of important historical or aesthetic resources and existing community or neighborhood character.

Among the impacts not considered:

Concrete, which does not allow for drainage, creates a heightened risk of flooding and beach erosion when there are storms.

The lack of drainage, in addition to damaging the concrete and plastic itself, also causes snow and rain to ice over in the winter, creating hazardous conditions and necessitating the use of hazardous chemicals and/or snow plows to clear the area.

The increase in temperature of the concrete surface as compared to natural wood can cause an urban island effect, resulting in increased energy consumption, elevated emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases and impaired water quality in the surrounding community.

The replacement of cracking concrete and buckling plastic may require the wholesale removal of sections of materials, causing greater environmental damage and disruption to activities than removal of one damaged wooden plank would cause.

The demolition of the iconic wooden boardwalk that has been in the community for nearly 90 years and it’s part of a world-famous area would significantly impair the character and quality of what is obviously an important historical and aesthetic resource. Additionally, the demolition would equally impair the Coney Island and Brighton Beach communities.

Concrete and plastic absorb substantially less force than wood and therefore place far greater stress on the body. Consequently, people who enjoy the boardwalk for running and walking will be greatly restricted in their ability to use the boardwalk as they have for decades.

Additionally, the lawsuit asserts that the Parks Department is trying to achieve its long term plan to destroy most of the boardwalk, aside from one four block section, and replace it with plastic and concrete without conducting a proper environmental analysis of this large scale action by improperly segmenting the plan.

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  • nolastname

    “Some” people say the boardwalk has been intentionally not repaired. I tend to agree with “some” people.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/34224145@N04/7550646386/in/photostream

    • Yoytu

      Me too.

  • Csconey

    I think everyone that loves Coney Island should insist that the entire boardwalk be wood , period. Anything they have put down that is not wood should be undone. Enough is enough. There is almost nothing left of old Coney Island , now they want to take away what little remains.

  • Arthur Borko

    I support this lawsuit.

  • Whwsailboat

    When are they going to rip up the WOODEN walkway on the Brooklyn Bridge?

    • http://www.flickr.com/knightmare6 Knightmare6

      I believe they can’t since it’s a landmark, not 100% sure on that though.

  • Truth Alert

    council recchia is doing what?

  • Henryrollinsrocks

    This is an excellent list of valid reasons not to change it! Wood is so much nicer!

  • guest

    What about the splinters? And the fact that it costs more to maintain the wood than it would to maintain the other stuff? (wood needs to be replaced much more often than the new stuff would)
    It is the essence of the structure that is historic, not the wood that it is made of. 
    Do you think the wood that is there now is the same wood that was there during the good old days? 
    This is coming from a lifelong coney islander who still jogs on riggelman every weekend. 
    Why would my ability to run on the walk be impaired?Have you run on the boardwalk? Going from the wood to the new stuff near brighton is a dream, feels much netter than the wood which is inconsistent and often dangerous (one board can be stiff, the next can have a lot of give). Also as a barefoot runner, i would love the new stuff. 
    That wood SUCKS. Concrete does not allow for drainage, true, that being said, do our concrete streets and sidewalks flood every time it rains?
    Ice may be hazardous but so are splinters caused by wood (anyhow i don’t see too many people going for a stroll there during the winter) 
    Everything else stated in this article is conjecture or unproven (at least at the time of writing) 
    Again, from a historic perspective, it is not the wood, it is the entire structure itself that is important. And the entire structure itself stands to improve if it is replaced with a newer, more cost effective material.Why would anyone who has a real, actual connection to the area have a problem with this? It’s just another case of people who have nothing to do with an area getting upset at something that has nothing to do with them (like the casinos, ball park etc etc etc )

    • Joe R.

      I still remember getting splinters on the boardwalk as a child, and thinking how stupid it was to use wood instead of some other material. The splinter hazard alone is a good enough reason to get rid of the wood since it’s a given people will be barefoot on the boardwalk.

    • Ishast

       Agreed 100%. I, however, enjoy biking there every morning and the short new stretch at Brighton feels and looks much better (which is beautiful orange and yellow designs and not just a grey slab of rock). I cant imagine how a baby must feel inside a stroller going over those wooden planks. Not to mention people in wheelchairs. Also agreeing on the historic aspect.. it is like saying lets revert to using wooden wheels for automobiles to preserve history. It is unsafe, costly, and outdated. If need be, leave a short stretch of Astroland wooden to preserve some history. Other than that can we please modernize.

    • The2recentimmigrant

      I agree. I  prefer the concrete to the wood.  Concrete is much cheaper than wood, and we can use the saved money to help poor people. Also, I am in favor of environment. I don’t like thinking of trees killed for our pleasure. Also, concrete will not fall apart the way wood does. Also, there is less to fix in concrete, the wood always needs fixing, and that cost the money.  Also, nobody falls over concrete. Everybody falls over the wood.

      • BrooklynBus

        People don’t fall on sidewalks? When you do fall on a sidewalk, the chance for serious injury is much greater tan if you fall on wood.

        • The2recentimmigrant

          There is no reason to fall on the boardwalk concrete, unless there is a rock or another debris there. And it is much more dangreous to fall on the current boardwalk wood. You can get huge splinter in your arm, or a nail can move into your skin.

          • BrooklynBus

            You don’t get a severe head injury or break your hip from a splinter. You do from concrete. The boardwalk is full of seniors who just can’t afford that type of fall. There doesn’t have to be debris or obstacles to cause them to fall. They can get dizzy or lose their balance for some other reason.

          • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

            There goes that equivalence again. It’s possible to  fall on concrete, therefore concrete=wood as far as falling. Have you been on the boardwalk? It’s so ripped up that the danger of falling is ONE THOUSAND times as high as on the concrete. When I run, I actually close my eyes for a second to relax when i hit the concrete, it’s a pleasure compared to the stress of running on the wood, with boards, missing, nails three inches raised.  At first I swallowed the line “running on wood is better than concrete”, but GUEST above got me thinking, and he’s right. Running on the concrete is FAR better than running on the raised/lowered, board there/board missing, nail up/nail down.

                The comment about the senior. Sir, most hip accidents by seniors are caused by the hip breaking FIRST, and the person falling as a result, NOT  the reverse. anyway, that’s stretching an argument, turning to seniors to defend wood. It’s the seniors falling en masse right now.

               Comparing a crack in the concrete is absolutely ludicrous compared to the messed up wood. Doesn’t even deserve responding to, if that’s the best one can do in defending wood, forget it.

                How the heck do the wood people expect to maintain the wood? The city’s broke. That’s BROKE. There’s no money to fix  the over one million boards  that make up  the boardwalk.

               But I do have an idea. If we want wood, let’s raise the taxes of everyone in the neighborhood to pay for the restoration/maintenance. No? Oh, somebody ELSE should pay for it? As usual!

               I was originally on the fence, wood vs. concrete, but Guest’s post up there, along with my recent bad fall (worse than i thought, the rib is still healing a week later). Guest is absolutely right. Wood is so badly antiquated, expensive, has no purpose besides “it’s the history of Coney”…. Yeah, so is Dreamland, old Luna Park, Steeplechase. Time and progress move on. I don’t want to fall anymore. Bring on the concrete

          • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

             They are doing repairs so that so they can “prove” that wood is dangerous. And since they insist on allowing heavy vehicles onto the boardwalk minor damage will become more serious.

          • Kool4Coney

            the concrete is already cracking… it will look like the sidewalks in a little while…  split, separating and with weed grass growing through the cracks…  the stuff that falls from the food eaten on the “board”walk will stain it and stick to it and remain there… making the ‘new’ concrete walk look old and dirty.  

          • BrooklynBus

            Not to mention the gum spots that are far more noticeable on concrete than on wood.

    • BrooklynBus

      Don’t you appreciate the spring in your step that wood provides and is lacking from concrete? I find I can walk much farther on wood than concrete without getting tired. If the wood was maintained, it would be a pleasure. I wouldn’t mind a plastic substitute that doesn’t become slippery if you still had that spring in your step. But I heard they want to make the entire boardwalk with concrete and just want to put a layer of pastic wood over the concrete. That would take away the spring in your step and would be no different than if it were all concrete.

      • guest

        Not at all. The spring in my step comes from proper running form and technique as well as non-intrusive foot wear (Vibram Fivefingers, Nike Free, etc) and a healthy diet that provides me with tons of energy. What i don’t appreciate while running is splinters in my feet, loose pieces of wood, nails full of scurvy, etc. The wood is also a pain in the ass for inline skaters, skateboarders who don’t have wide wheels and bicyclers who use “tour de france” style road touring bikes with very thin speed wheels that can actually get stuck in between the boards of wood.     
        Also the possibility of falling or tripping over the loose boards should be enough to put the whole BS “wood is safer” argument to rest. No one fighting the concrete stuff has yet to bring up ONE valid point as to why the wood should stay. 
        And if the reason for them installing the concrete is to be able to support heavy machinery so they can build condos, so what? There’s already condos lining the walk on Brighton and even still those were built with heavy machinery WITHOUT having to install a concrete boardwalk so there goes that argument as well.  

  • Kool4Coney

    the switch to concrete has absolutely nothing to do with safety from splinters :)  it DOES have to do with needing a better way to move heavy equipment to build unwanted hi price condos and redevelop the boardwalk into a year round SHOPPING CENTER -  in truth THEY want to “pave paradise and put up a parking lot”

    • guest

      Yes because the crackhead infested CI of today is VERY reminiscent of paradise, right?

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