Archive for the tag 'riegelmann boardwalk'

The Parks Department says it can avoid routine maintenance by replacing wooden planks that warp over time, seen above, with concrete and plastic. (Photo by Ned Berke)

A site trailer and construction fence were installed at Brighton 15th Street this month – a first step in a controversial plan to replace the Riegelmann Boardwalk’s iconic wooden planks between Brighton 15th Street and Coney Island Avenue with cement and plastic. But several elected officials are expressing outrage about the work, and at least one is threatening to cut off funding to the project.

Construction on the Coney Island Boardwalk officially began on November 11, the Parks Department confirmed, despite fierce objection from community members, advocates, and local politicians who disagree with the plan to replace the boardwalk with artificial materials.

“I remain very disappointed that the Parks Department is moving forward with this major change to the boardwalk without completing any safety studies to determine the impact it will have on the community,” said City Councilman Mark Treyger. “The Parks Department is also ignoring the will of the local state lawmakers who allocated this funding for repairs, and not for a new concrete road down the middle of the iconic boardwalk.”

The state lawmakers in question are Assembly members Alec Brook-Krasny and Steven Cymbrowitz, who together allocated $10 million to the Parks Department in 2009 for general repairs and improvements to the 2.5-mile span. The funding can be cut off at the lawmakers’ discretion – but only before the contracts are signed. That time has passed, but Cymbrowitz said he’s still going to find a way to close the funding spigot.

“I am outraged that Mayor [Bill] De Blasio and Commissioner [Mitchell] Silver have fast-tracked the destruction of an iconic landmark in southern Brooklyn. As I wrote to Mayor de Blasio, concrete and composite plastics are a poor approximation for a boardwalk. It’s a boardwalk, not a sidewalk. There are also significant safety concerns with this project since no impact study has been done,” said Cymbrowitz in a statement. “This is an underhanded misuse of the money and the mayor knows it. I will work to make sure that the millions of dollars I allocated are cut off. I fought hard for the boardwalk to be repaired, not to fund the elimination of the boardwalk as this community and all New Yorkers know it.”

He’s backed up by both Treyger and Councilman Chaim Deutsch, who say that the funders’ intentions should be considered in how their money is spent.

“The money came from Assemblyman Cymbrowitz, and whoever gave the money for the boardwalk should have a voice in it,” Deutsch told this outlet.

Even though Coney Island’s boardwalk survived Superstorm Sandy relatively unscathed compared to the Rockaways’ concrete walk, Mayor Michael Bloomberg deemed all wooden boardwalks insufficient to withstand the ocean’s surges, and commissioned them to be replaced with concrete. That was the plan anyway, following a 2008 directive from Bloomberg’s office that city agencies would stop using tropical hardwoods – the type used to construct the boardwalk – for environmental reasons. The de Blasio administration has continued to press forward with those policies.

“Using tropical hardwoods could contribute to the climate change that helped destroy the boardwalk in the first place and it would be more expensive,” said a spokesperson for the Parks Department. Critics point out that there are other options, including sustainable domestic hardwoods such as Black Locust or White Oak, that can be used.

But the lower cost of maintaining concrete, long a part of the Parks Department’s justification for switching to cement, does not necessarily mean it will hold up better during storms, said Councilman Chaim Deutsch, who represents the Brighton Beach portion of the Riegelmann Boardwalk. He, Treyger and Cymbrowitz want an impact study that considers the performance of concrete in storm surges. Other areas, including Manhattan Beach and the Rockaways, saw huge concrete chunks barrel through the streets as they broke up during the October 2012 storm.

“[This is] about what is safer with the community in case another storm comes in,” he said. “It has to be safe, not just more resilient in terms of repairs, but what’s safe in regards to any kind of surge.”

Even before the storm, advocacy groups filed a lawsuit hoping to stop the plan, demanding a full environmental review. But just weeks after Superstorm Sandy, a judge ruled that the project did not need to undergo such a study since it would not constitute a signficant change the existing structure.

The boardwalk construction is expected to be completed in time for the 2016 beach season, according to the Parks Department. Elected officials are asking the city to terminate all construction until the concerns of residents are addressed.

Here is a map of the proposed plan via the Coney Island Boardwalk Alliance:

boardwalk-map

Click to enlarge

– With additional reporting by Ned Berke.

Akselrod (l) and Cymbrowitz (r)

Akselrod (l) and Cymbrowitz (r)

A Russian-language radio ad promoting the Republican campaign of Ben Akselrod claims credit for a project currently funded by his opponent, Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, Sheepshead Bites has learned.

The commercial was heard airing on Davidzon Radio last week. It appears to be a paid announcement in which a supporter listed the candidate’s accomplishments, including among them that “Paths in the sand to the sea are also his work.”

Hear the ad below:

The ad, translated by three independent sources for Sheepshead Bites, appears to be highlighting Mobi-Mats, special mats on Brighton Beach and Coney Island beach that extend from the boardwalk to the water’s edge. They allow those in wheelchairs, or who suffer from other disabilities that make walking on sand difficult, to access the waterfront and are popular with the area’s senior community.

Example of a Mobi-Mat (Source: assistivetech.net)

Example of a Mobi-Mat (Source: assistivetech.net)

However, there appears to be no record of Akselrod working to obtain Mobi-Mats. The first set of them appeared in 2007, five years before he ever ran for office. Three new mats – two in Coney Island and one at Brighton 6th Street – were added this summer. At the time of the announcement of the expansion, Council members Mark Treyger and Chaim Deutsch claimed credit for their placement.

While Treyger and Deutsch prodded the city for additional placements this summer, the only local elected officials to steer actual funding for the mats are Assembly members Alec Brook-Krasny and Steven Cymbrowitz – the latter of which Akselrod hopes to unseat in tomorrow’s election.

The mats that served the disabled this summer were paid for with mayoral funding, the Parks Department confirmed. A further expansion is planned with funding from Cymbrowitz and Brook-Krasny in response to the community’s need for more accessibility, said a Parks spokesperson. Those funds were part of a $10 million allocation in 2009 for repairs and general improvements of the Riegelmann Boardwalk, and the local Assembly members requested Mobi-Mats be part of the scope.

The radio announcement was made by Bella Akhmechet, a supporter of Akselrod’s who contributed to his campaign. It goes on to say that she has known the candidate for more than a decade as a “respectable and worthy person … who is not indifferent to our needs.” It touts his “distribution of humanitarian aid” after Superstorm Sandy, and notes that he is a “humble person,” urging potential voters to cast their vote for Akselrod during the campaign.

Like many campaign ads placed on Davidzon Radio, it is not explicitly labeled as an ad. However, Akselrod’s campaign paid $3,000 to Davidzon Radio on September 12 for radio advertising.

Askelrod did not return multiple requests for comment.

The candidate, a Democrat, has been actively campaigning on the Republican line following his defeat in the Democratic primary. The GOP nomination came following a write-in initiative on the Republican line that he organized as a safeguard, and he won the Republican primary with 46 votes, as first reported by Sheepshead Bites. He was recently endorsed by former Republican Congressman Bob Turner.

Although he promised to resign as president of the Bay Democrats, the local Democratic club he leads alongside 45th Assembly District Leader Ari Kagan, he has not yet done so, according to reports.

With thanks to our readers who volunteered to translate to the advertisement.

A scene from last year’s Light up the Shore event. Photo by Ned Berke

The following is a press release from the Bay Improvement Group:

Elected officials, recovery organizations, community leaders, and residents of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, will gather on Wednesday, October 29 at 7:30pm to remember the two-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, which devastated South Brooklyn, including this waterfront community.

The remembrance, part of a city-wide initiative “Light the Shore” spearheaded by the long-term recovery groups, will be held overlooking the water on the deck of the Baron de Kalb Knights of Columbus, located at 3000 Emmons Avenue in Sheepshead Bay.

In addition to residents impacted by the disaster, elected officials Councilman Chaim Deutsch and Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz; representatives of nonprofits involved in Sheepshead Bay’s recovery, including the Bay Improvement Group (BIG), Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS), Kings Bay Y, and Resurrection Brooklyn Relief; and religious leaders will attend the event, now in its second year.

A brief memorial ceremony will be held alongside the bay, or inside, in the event of rain. Light refreshments will be offered afterwards, when residents will also have the opportunity to meet disaster assistance representatives and learn more about recovery services they are still offering.

No reservations necessary. All welcome.

Questions about the event may be addressed to Bay Improvement Group at 718-646-9206 or by emailing bayimprovementgrp@gmail.com.

Source: mikey k/flickr

Source: mikey k/flickr

A dead man was found beneath Coney Island’s Riegelmann Boardwalk on Saturday, sparking an investigation into his death.

The man, who has not been identified, is described as a Hispanic man in his 40s. He was found at approximately 6:15pm near West 25th Street.

The Daily News reports that no foul play is suspected, but an autopsy will be done by the medical examiner to determine how he died.

Source: Davidzon Radio

Source: Davidzon Radio

The following is a press release from Davidzon Radio:

Residents of southern Brooklyn demonstrated their solidarity with Israel, Sunday evening, at a rally on the Reigelman Boardwalk that stretched from Brighton 5th Street to almost Ocean Parkway. The gathering was sponsored by Ben Akselrod and Davidzon Radio, which arranged for Sofa Landver, a member of Israel’s Knesset and Minister of Repatriation and Integration, Aleksander Valdman the deputy mayor of Ashdod and Larisa Gershtein, the former vice mayor of Jerusalem to address the crowd live from Israel providing the latest information on events in the Holy Land.

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Remember parkour, the sport described by The Office‘s Jim Halpert as “the internet sensation of 2004 … and the goal is to get from point A to point B as creatively as possible”? Well, it just happened in Coney Island. And it’s much cooler than when Michael and Dwight did it.

Brooklyn-based parkour collaborative Bullettrun posted the above video over the weekend, showing their members jumping, flipping, rolling and generally being more awesome than the rest of us on the Coney Island boardwalk, Child’s Restaurant, on the beach and in front of housing developments.

The group has been around since 2007, performing their craft in streets, on the stage and on screen. Under the creative direction of Nadia Lesy, who shot the video above, Bulletrun describes itself as a “collaborative, performance, Multi-media Parkour group” that “produces live shows that are presented in theaters, galleries and in non traditional settings, such as a a high school gymnasium and city parks.”

Neat. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go parkour my way over to the deli for a bacon, egg and cheese. Strolling, slowly, while struggling to breathe under the weight of my own man-boobs counts as creative expression, doesn’t it?

Check out more awesome videos from Bullettrun.

The head of the New York City Office of Recovery and Resiliency is getting behind the Bloomberg-era plan to replace the Riegelmann Boardwalk’s wooden slats with concrete, saying that concrete fared better in Superstorm Sandy.

Recovery chief Daniel Zarrilli testified before the City Council last Thursday, telling them that the choice of concrete was a “sound” decision since it performs better in storms.

He added that the de Blasio administration will continue to replace the wooden boards with concrete going forward.

Bloomberg made the decision to replace the boardwalk with concrete after instituting a citywide ban on tropical hardwood in public projects, the material the boardwalk, as well as other fixtures like benches, have historically been made of. It has been fought for several years by locals who want to see the iconic wood stay, and they even filed suit against the city in 2012. Several compromises were sought, including using alternate wood materials, plastic and a combination of all three – although the city made clear its preference for concrete.

But the announcement that the new administration will stick with the plan because it performed well in Sandy is sure to be challenged by critics. In the wake of the storm, locals said that the concrete allowed sand to pile up on the boardwalk, and also served as a less effective buffer protecting the community from the flooding. They also say the concrete accelerates erosion and is less effective at drainage during storms.

The two councilmembers whose districts overlap the boardwalk, Chaim Deutsch and Mark Treyger, both support using wood.

Source: Marie Berne/Flickr

New York Police Department and Fire Department divers rushed to the scene early this morning after receiving a call that a man jumped from Steeplechase Pier and never came up for air.

The 29-year-old man jumped into the water from the West 16th Street pier at approximately 2:30 a.m. to “join two women who were swimming in the ocean nearby,” according to the Daily News. He did not surface.

It took the divers nearly an hour to locate the man and pull him from the water 14 blocks away at West 30th.

He was taken to Coney Island Hospital and listed in critical condition, according to the Post.

Coney Island’s beach, like all city beaches, are only open between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. Swimming is prohibited when lifeguards are not on duty. Jumping from Steeplechase Pier is strictly prohibited at all times.

The 32nd Annual Mermaid Parade is just around the corner, kicking off at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 21.

Antique automobiles, wacky floats and scantily clad mermaids and mermen will roll down Surf Avenue and the boardwalk in New York City’s largest public celebration of art, artists and counterculture. But some are grousing over this year’s choice of honorees as King Neptune and Queen Mermaid.

The event organizers, Coney Island USA, announced recently that the top slots, previously played by Lou Reed, David Byrne, Queen Latifah and other celebrated actors, musicians and notables, will be filled by New York City’s first kids, Dante and Chiara de Blasio.

The mayor’s offspring will be wheeled through the parade in an antique wicker Boardwalk Rolling Chair that dates back to 1923.

“We are extraordinarily honored to have the participation of New York City’s first family in the parade,” said Coney Island USA founder Dick Zigun, who is known as the Mayor of Coney Island. “King Neptune and Queen Mermaid represent the young adults of New York City who are the next generation of visitors to Coney Island and Coney Island USA.”

While many have hailed their selection, we’ve also seen a number of people taking to social media to decry the choice. Some say they’ll be skipping the parade this year because they disagree with the mayor’s politics. Others have argued that the two are hardly creative heroes or counterculture figures.

It’s unlikely the discontent will make much of a difference in attendance at the event, but we wanted to find out what locals think. Are Dante and Chaira de Blasio good choices to celebrate Coney Island’s quirks? Or is this selection just too political for you?

Photo courtesy of Butch Moran

Fireworks rang in the 2013 season. (Photo by Butch)

Coney Island’s traditional Friday night fireworks will kick off for the 2014 season on June 20, just hours before the first day of summer and the Mermaid Parade, Amusing the Zillion reports.

The fireworks, sponsored by the Alliance for Coney Island, are free to all, taking place on the beach near West 10th Street and West 12th Street.

Friday night fireworks are fired at 9:30 p.m.

Before that begins, however, there will be several displays of burning, colored gun powder in the sky over the neighborhood. The Brooklyn Cyclones at MCU Park put on their own shows, and the site reports that this year each show will have a musical theme. The Cyclones begin their display on opening day, Saturday, June 14, and host two more post-game shows that week on June 16 and June 17.

Check Amusing the Zillion for MCU’s full fireworks schedule, which includes several Saturdays and some weekdays.

July 4 falls on a Friday this year, but the People’s Playground might defer to the East River’s blasts. A NY1 report last month claimed that the city was withholding permits to the Alliance for Coney Island for their Independence Day display. Despite multiple attempts, we have not been able to confirm the report, and will update if we hear anything different.

Here’s a little video from last year’s opening night:

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