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.

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  • Alex

    instead of boardwalk they should rename it concretewalk

  • BrooklynBus

    One question. If concrete is better for storms, why has every other municipality in this area chosen wood and why have some switched back from concrete to wood?

    I invite everyone to take a look at the new boardwalk in Long Beach, NY. It is absolutely beautiful and looks like it could last 25 to 50 years with proper maintenance and no unnecessary heavy vehicles destroying it. The slats are twice as wide, as our boardwalk reducing repair costs and all the nails have recessed heads. Compare that to a new section of the Coney Island Boardwalk just installed last year with nail heads already protruding.

    Our boardwalk is not properly installed or properly maintained. With all the negatives of concrete that Zarilli is just ignoring, and not considering the neglect the current boardwalk has received an other important factors in making his determination, he ought to be fired immediately and replaced with someone who is willing to evaluate all the facts.

    • Lisanne!

      If the Parks Department would stop using the Boardwalk as a truck route we could have wood. But this is part of their fiefdom and they will do what they want.

      • Lonnie Luchnick

        Not to mention the police cars and SUVs

        • Lisanne!

          I think some of the SUVs are unmarked Parks Department vehicles. Others belong to contractors doing repairs on the so called “30 year” concrete planks.

          The operative word here is “walk”. I suppose that is considered an archaic term.

  • guest

    Sadly, the New York we all grew up with and loved is all but dead.

    • J.M.H

      i guess the native Americans are saying the same thing

  • Just-Me

    A boardwalk is made out of wooden boards. If the boards weren’t abused by all the trucks and police vehicles that keep riding on it, of course, it won’t last. The boardwalk was meant for PEOPLE, NOT MOTORIZED VEHICLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jen

    Are they nuts? Sounds like this guy has never even seen Riegelmann Boardwalk. The concrete sections were destroyed in Sandy, and the beach suffered more erosion near the concrete, and the homes near the concrete suffered more damage. Once again, follow the money trail. They aren’t sticking this hard to a horrible idea for no reason.

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