Source: Alcmaeonid via Wikimedia Commons

Coney Island’s wooden boardwalk may have seen its last summer. A court decision last week puts the Parks Department one step closer to tearing out the iconic stretch of old-world wooden charm and replace it with the plastic and concrete slabs of progress.

Judge Martin Solomon ruled that the Parks Department may move forward without an environmental review of the effects of plastic and concrete versus wood – a study that opponents were sure would have shown the new materials’ shortcomings and halted the project.

“We are pleased the judge found that the Parks Department complied with the law, thus allowing this project to proceed,” said Katie Kendall of the New York City Law Department, in a statement to the New York Post.

As we’ve previously covered, opponents have charged that replacing the wood would not only ruin the boardwalk’s historic character, but create environmental concerns such as accelerating erosion of the beach. Leading the charge against the boardwalk is Todd Dobrin, president of Friends of the Coney Island Boardwalk, and Rob Burstein, president of the Coney-Brighton Boardwalk Alliance. They published editorials in the New York Daily News that warned of the safety risks of crack forming and heat storing concrete and pushed petitions that over 2,500 people signed.

“We are disappointed in the decision … A moratorium on construction of concrete and plastic boardwalk sections is urgently needed for the safety of the community,” the Coney-Brighton Boardwalk Alliance said in a statement published by the Post.

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  • BrooklynBus

    Personally, I do not care if they use wood or plastic wood, if they choose a good quality that will not get slippery, not the junk they used at Steeplechase Pier. Sme of the substitutes are quite attractive and may last longer than wood.

    But what they don’t talk about is the substructure. As Todd told me, the plan is to put in a concrete substructure with little or no drainage, then just place plastic wood on top of the concrete where there isno concrete strip. If tat is the case, it really doesn’t matter what they put over the concrete, because we will lose te spring in your step that makes it so pleasurable to walk and run on. If we lose that and the drainage, it will make little difference if the surface is wood, plastic wood, or concrete. All choices woud be bad.

    Also, The plan for Coney Island Avenue to Brighton 15th Street was never made clear. One report says it will be all concrete, and another talks of a concrete strip.

    We clearly need to know what is proposed, and why the substructure should be a concrete surface and why it cannot remain the way it is so that is wood or plastic wood is used, it will still feel the same as it feels today with the same drainage abilities. That is most important.

  • yoytu

    Look at that beautiful boardwalk…. A concrete boardwalk just isn’t the same 🙁

  • Bruce B

    Visit Rockaway. I did. The hurricane swept away much of the people’s precious “wood” boardwalk, a boardwalk which was very solid (much more than ours) prior.

    Furthermore, the boards flew into the houses across the street, helping to destroy those houses and making an already dangerous situation brutal. I was told that by two people living in Rockaway, as I took “the tour”

    I noticed that the only part of the boardwalk standing in that area is the concrete pillars that were holding up the wood.

    To all the wood lovers who live along the water. I’d like to see you all rebuild your houses out of wood. No? Why not? Wood is sooooooooo much better… I’d like to see wood houses built and see how many “friends of the boardwalk” are interested.

    It’s okay to argue the beauty of wood, who can disagree with it. It’s absolutely ludicrous that those groups argue that wood is sturdier than concrete. And it’s a joke to talk about that in an oceanfront area. The judge must have gotten a laugh out of that one.

    • Lisanne!

      The esplanade in Manhattan Beach was concrete. Almost completely wiped out in the ’38 hurricane. Repaired and damaged again.

      • Bruce B

        That esplanade was literally right on the water.A few rocks were all that separated it from the water, not more than 20 feet, I’d say. Furthermore, it may have been damaged, but I used to walk along it in the 70′s, till it was closed to the public. so apparently even right on the water, it survived enough. The Rockaway boardwalk had a whole beach to guard it. It was not damaged – it was simply swept away. The concrete pillars remain….

        So it’s settled. Future property along the water will be built all with wood. And I suggest Todd Dobryn’s office be situated in such property.

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  • Kool4Coney

    hmmm the judge found that there was no need for an impact study before going ahead with replacing the wood with concrete? I hope this dumb decision is being appealed

  • JR

    how much does it cost for the real wood planks? where’s the locals that live in Hollywood and in the sports world that can pay for this instead of the politicians bickering about it?

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