The iconic parks of Southern Brooklyn damaged by Superstorm Sandy will remain closed for months while the city focuses its resources on higher priority disaster needs according to a report in the New York Daily News.
Parts of the famed Coney Island Boardwalk, nearby Coney playgrounds, the Red Hook Recreation Center, and all of Manhattan Beach park will remain closed indefinitely until clean up crews and repairmen get to them. The clean up and repairs themselves are expected to take months, and there is a possibility that they will be closed through the early part of the coming summer.
While everyone wants to enjoy the use of the public parks and spaces come summer, delays into their restoration is understandable given the priority of addressing the livelihoods of those lost homes, power, and vital services due to Sandy’s relentless destruction. Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey echoed this sentiment to the Daily News, stating that, “There are many issues at the moment that are larger than open space. You’ve got residents without heat or homes and major disruption of services.”
Still, business owners in and around the parks are worried that the delayed restoration will keep the large crowds away, forcing them to cut back on hours and jobs.
“It’s like a trifecta,” Stephanie Rodriguez, a ticker-taker for the Wonder Wheel, told the Daily News. “If we have a dirty beach and boardwalk the beachgoers will go somewhere else. The attraction owners will lose money — then they’ll cut the employees’ hours and we’ll be broke.”
As for Manhattan Beach Park, the Parks Department is hopeful that it will be fully open come summer, but that possibility is still subject to further storm damage assessment.
While the parks are low on the priority list, Jeffrey’s agency has tapped into federal emergency funds to recruit over 300 temporary clean up crew workers who are addressing the damage at Coney, Manhattan Beach, and Red Hook.