Spend the money on the Boardwalk!

Brooklyn Daily

The Parachute Jump is a unique structure that deserves the landmark status it was granted in 1988. However, when funds are in short supply, they should be used to address the most pressing needs first. Rather than spending an additional $2 million, beyond the 1.4 million already spent, on making the lighting on the Parachute Jump brighter — a superficial concern — these funds should be spent addressing Coney Island’s most important and immediate need: preserving its iconic, world-famous wooden Boardwalk.

The Parks Department insists that in order to fix the Boardwalk, they first must destroy it. They claim that a concrete walk is, in fact, still a boardwalk. By this standard, New Yorkers are blessed with thousands of “boardwalks,” including Park, Madison, and Fifth Avenues. There are simple solutions that the Parks Department refuses to consider: minimizing the use of heavy vehicles on the boardwalk; using non-rainforest, sustainable woods that are both structurally and financially viable; and performing basic maintenance. Our politicians too are to blame for this sad state of affairs. While mouthing tepid platitudes of support for maintaining the character of the Boardwalk, they have done little, for many years, to commit some of their funds to an appropriate and reasonable maintenance budget that would keep the Boardwalk in good repair. Imagine the uproar, if the City said Central Park needed to be paved over with concrete, because its maintenance required funding.

The cost differential between concrete and wood decreases significantly over time. The two concrete sections, installed less than two years ago, have already required significant repairs. Concrete is much harder to walk, run, or dance on — all activities enjoyed by various groups here. It’s also not as safe, and is prone to icing over in the winter, and flooding in the summer.

The wishes of the people in our community and throughout our city are clear and need to be respected. Thousands have signed both paper and online petitions stating that they value and want a true wood Coney Island Boardwalk to be maintained.

This unique and historic aesthetic entity, which visitors and locals alike interact with in intimate and meaningful ways on a daily basis, forms the spine of our communities and acts as the anchor for all of the businesses on or near it. Rather than spending limited funds on what amounts to a cosmetic facial for the Parachute Jump, those funds should be used to preserve New York City’s most unique respite from concrete — its jewel, the authentic Coney Island Boardwalk!

Rob Burstein is the president of the Coney-Brighton Boardwalk Alliance.

Reader Feedback

Anonamous from Manhattan Beach says:
Not everyone
who walked the boardwalk, went on the Parachute Jump. That was just a ride for those who dared. The Boardwalk was somewhat as a way of life for the hundreds of thousands who found pleasure in walking on it. Children were wheeled in baby carriages on the boardwalk. Parents were safe with them without crossing streets. My vote would absolutely be for repairing a "Wood" walk for every one to enjoy.
Feb. 19, 2012, 4:01 pm
Jen Thorpe-Moscon from Gravesend says:
I completely agree with Rob. The Boardwalk is a community jewel that should be treasured and preserved. It should be treated as an important landmark, not as some dismissable property that gets funding only if there's any left over after politicians' pet projects of the moment. There can be no replacement for wood -- our boardwalk is only protected if it remains a true boardwalk, built with domestic hardwood. Ask the people of Ocean City what happened when they made their boardwalk concrete -- business and tourism in the neighborhood were destroyed. Only upon restoring their boardwalk to its true wooden glory was the neighborhood revitalized. A true wooden boardwalk is crucial -- for businesses in the neighborhood, for residents of the neighborhood, and for the very integrity of our community.
Feb. 21, 2012, 11:08 am
Chana from Brighton Beach says:
I walk and run on the boardwalk.
I ride my bike on the boardwalk.
I push my husband's wheel chair on the boardwalk.
When I walk, run or bike on the boardwalk, I am fine. As soon as I go onto the concrete my knees and back start to hurt.
My husband grips the chair when we get to the concrete as it is so uncomfortable for him.
It is really simple.
MAINTAIN the wood.
No heavy vehicles on the boardwalk unless an emergency.
My goodness, who came up with the idea of concrete or plastic instead of wood!
Feb. 23, 2012, 5:31 pm

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