Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Plastic planks approved for Coney Island boardwalk

Coney Island boardwalk needs a makeover (Photo by Allan Shweky)
Plastic planks approved for Coney Island boardwalk -

Plastic is the new wood, a judge has decided — at least when it comes to Coney Island’s boardwalk.

Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Martin Solomon has green- lighted the city’s plan to replace five blocks of the historic — but rickety — structure with concrete and recycled-plastic planks, according to court documents made public yesterday.

Some Brooklynites were quick to slam the decision.

“The Coney Island boardwalk is nostalgic, and it’s famous world-round,” fumed Todd Dobrin, president of a group called Friends of the Boardwalk.

“I don’t think tourists are going to come to see the Coney Island driveway.”

The Coney-Brighton Boardwalk Alliance sued in June, asking the court to order the city to conduct an environmental review before replacing even one wooden plank.

Solomon sided with the Bloomberg administration, which insisted no review was necessary.

“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 city Law Department.

The project would replace 50,000 square feet — about 5 percent — of the boardwalk on five blocks between Brighton 15th Street and Coney Island Avenue.

Solomon may have signaled his opinion at an October hearing when he hammered an attorney representing the alliance.

“I would say I know a little more about this than you do,” the judge, a former state senator from Bensonhurst, snapped.

Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates, said he knew at that point he was fighting for a lost cause.

“The plaintiffs definitely felt that just from the judge’s demeanor that they weren’t going to get a fair shake,” Croft said.

“Sooner or later, the whole thing is going to be made of concrete. It’s a boardwalk; it’s not a sidewalk.”

Croft added that he had some concrete reasons for preferring wood.

Cement, he noted, “holds in the heat, and in the winter, it’s going to ice up and be slippery.”

Speaking of Sandy and its destruction of the Rockaways boardwalk, he remarked, “Of the areas that had jetties, the damaged concrete boardwalks were as impacted as the wooden ones.”

Ida Sanoff, a plaintiff, agreed.

“Those of us who live on the shoreline are very concerned about this,’’ she said. “This has nothing to do with memories or sentimentality. This has to do with safety. ‘’

Mayor Bloomberg, on the other hand, hardened his anti-wood position after the superstorm.

“I guess this settles the issue of wooden boardwalks versus concrete boardwalks,” he told a local newspaper after Sandy.

“There will be no more wooden boardwalks in Rockaway or anywhere else.”

Additional reporting by Rich Calder

A Brooklyn judge yesterday signed off on the city’s use of recycled-plastic planks — instead of wood — in restoring rickety parts of the Coney Island boardwalk.

* Project would replace 50,000 square feet of the boardwalk — about one-twentieth of its length — between Brighton 15th Street and Coney Island Avenue.

* Could serve as model for the entire 42-block boardwalk, except for the amusement area.

* City says any delay would have cost more than $7 million in grant money.

1 comment:

Allan said...

The argument that ice doesn't affect the wood in the winter is just wrong. It is very slippery. I know. I've been there. The boardwalk suffered lots of structural damage from Sandy. The underlying support has caused stress on the deck and there are more safety concerns now than before. It has nothing to do with concrete. The concrete area near Ocean Pkwy showed little if any damage. The prowood group needs to accept the ruling. stop making unsubstantiated claims and move on.