Source: NYC Dept. of Parks and Recreation

Source: NYC Dept. of Parks and Recreation

The New York City Parks Department began installing temporary bathrooms on the Riegelmann Boardwalk in Brighton Beach this week after construction snafus and community opposition plagued a plan for a permanent comfort station by the Oceana condominium complex. But the city says it’s still going through with its long-term plan to place the elevated bathrooms in “New Brighton,” meaning the installation is hardly a victory despite the claims of local leaders.

The $2 million pod-like bathrooms, elevated to heights recommended by FEMA to withstand future flood conditions, first began appearing on the boardwalk in May. A planned potty in front of the Oceana luxury condominium complex (50 Oceana Drive West) brought outrage from residents who said the bathrooms would block their million-dollar views and attract homeless people and rowdy teenagers. The Parks Department shrugged off the complaints, despite opposition from pols including Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz and District Leader Ari Kagan, the latter a candidate for City Council.

As the project moved forward, construction crews struck upon bedrock while driving support pilings into the ground, forcing them to alter plans. Opponents also filed a lawsuit that heads to court later this month.

Parks then announced they would install temporary bathrooms on the boardwalk at Coney Island Avenue in order to provide service to the community. The stations were delivered Monday night.

News of the temporary stations was met with cries of victory from the elected officials who sided with Oceana residents.

“I’m pleased that the Parks Department listened to residents who wanted the comfort stations moved elsewhere. This is a victory for the community, but more important, beachgoers will finally have comfort stations in a busy and accessible location,” Cymbrowitz said in a press release touting the achievement.

Likewise, in a release about improving lighting and safety conditions on the Brighton Beach end of the boardwalk, Kagan claimed victory over the “new” location.

“We are happy the city has listened to the community with regards to the bathroom,” Kagan said.

Cymbrowitz added that the temporary location was a “win-win” for all involved, saying that Parks was responsive to a letter he wrote the mayor asking that the temporary location be moved away from Oceana.

Parks, though, told Sheepshead Bites that the long-term plan is still the same: to place permanent structures at “New Brighton” – the location of the Oceana complex. Moreover, a spokesperson added, the decision to place temporary structures near Coney Island Avenue had little to do with local opposition: it was simply the most logical place to put them while construction was underway on the permanent location.

“Due to the ongoing construction to prepare for the permanent bathroom facility at the New Brighton site, Parks selected Coney Island Avenue as a logical alternative site for the temporary facilities until the New Brighton site is complete,” said Parks spokesperson Meghan Lalor.

The modular pod unit is currently at a staging site on Brighton 15th Street, where it will remain until it’s ready to be installed at the permanent site at New Brighton.

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  • BrooklynBus

    Again I ask why are no heads rolling over the fact that elevated bathrooms were mistakenly built adjacent to existing bathrooms that are now functioning. To say these will be lifeguard stations does not answer the questions why those bathrooms were erected. There is no way in hell that these were intended as lifeguard stations since they were erected in pairs, for men and for women. They would have been single facilities if they were intended as lifeguard stations. We need accountability.

    • samuel

      They were always gonna be lifeguard stations. There are women life guards you know! Total of four sets to be built. Oceana and near Aquarium are public restrooms and near handball court and towards restaurants are for MEN & WOMENS lifeguards, THAT WAS ALWAYS THE PLAN!!!

  • Speeder

    I bet when the next Sandy strikes, the local community opposition will be the first ones to rush into these elevated bathrooms for safety.

    For the permanent installation, I’d hope the city come up with a pleasing artistic (but still practical) design, somewhat like what they did at the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. Perhaps it will become a little landmark that even the local residents will feel proud of. Let’s face it, the beach of Brighton Beach (and Coney Island) isn’t anything special, it’s just a stretch of sand and a plain wooden walkway, just like every other beach.

    And why is Oceana condo complaining? They don’t even own the land in front of them a.k.a. the beach. If they want the view, then get out of your air conditioned caves.

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