About

The Coney-Brighton Boardwalk Alliance is a group of volunteers dedicated to preserving Coney Island’s beautiful and historic wood boardwalk.  This 89-year-old icon has endured through two World Wars, numerous political administrations, and the ravages of nature’s wrath for nearly a century, but it may not survive the myopic stewardship of the very agency to whom its care is entrusted. If the Parks Department has its way, the Boardwalk will be turned into a concrete and plastic sidewalk! Their explanation for this choice is the citywide dictate to limit the use of rainforest wood, but there are in fact many other options available.

The choice is not between saving the rainforest and saving the Boardwalk — the correct choice is to do both! Stop the use of rainforest wood, and replace it with one of the available sustainable domestic hardwoods such as Black Locust or White Oak for the surface decking (the part that we all see and on which we walk). The support structure underneath should be made from recycled plastic lumber, which the U.S. Army has used to build bridges that support tanks and locomotives. This design would be both cost-effective and desirable, and, most importantly, would preserve the basic elements of what makes the wondrous Coney Island Boardwalk a boardwalk.

Click here to view a map  of the proposed destruction of the Coney Island Boardwalk.

***POST-HURRICANE SANDY UPDATE***

IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT THE CONEY ISLAND BOARDWALK EMERGED FROM THE STORM VIRTUALLY UNSCATHED, MAYOR BLOOMBERG CALLED FOR AN END TO ALL WOOD BOARDWALKS.  CONEY-BRIGHTON BOARDWALK ALLIANCE REFUTES FALSE CLAIMS MADE BY BLOOMBERG’S DEPUTY PARKS COMMISSIONER LIAM KAVANAGH

The last thing that Rockaway residents need, as planning for Boardwalk and beach reconstruction begins, is to be given misleadingly incomplete and factually false information by public officials, such as that contained in the  recent letter published in the New York Post (12/25/12) from Deputy Parks Commissioner Liam Kavanagh. Mr. Kavanagh’s claim that the more than a mile long concrete section of boardwalk installed last year, “…held up, with minor movement and a few damaged planks”, whereas “the wooden boardwalk was ripped from its supports and in many cases splintered and damaged too badly to be reinstalled”, fails to mention some crucially important facts: This mile section of concrete was afforded the protection of being in a groin field (protective rock jetties), with 150 feet of duned beach in front of it, both factors that acted as barriers between it and the pounding waves of Superstorm Sandy. Both these protective elements were lacking in the case of the wooden boardwalk. In fact, the wood section was practically in the ocean at high tide, for many months leading up to the storm. This wood section that was so devastated lies along some of the most severely eroded beachfront in the United States. Further, the Rockaways wood boardwalk joist and carriage bolt infrastructure was built in 1926 with a life span of 60 years, but had never been replaced. Even its timber deck, although refinished in the 1980’s in most sections, was already nine years past its useful prime at the time of the storm. Every carriage bolt in the infrastructure was completely rusted through.

Mr. Kavanagh also conveniently leaves out the most fundamental reason that the wood boardwalk was lifted by the sea. It had a major design flaw. It was not attached to the concrete pile caps on which it rested, thus rendering it particularly susceptible to being torn loose and lifted, as was the case. In contrast, the concrete section was designed to be attached to the concrete pillars, and in fact was, thus affording it yet a third additional layer of protection that the wood area sorely lacked!
Mr. Kavanagh’s claim that concrete is “environmentally friendlier” is false. It depends on what kind of wood and from where it has been sourced. Local sustainable hardwoods would have a smaller environmental footprint than concrete, since cement production is responsible for roughly five percent of human-generated greenhouse gases. The bottom line, is that the most environmentally friendly and likely the most durable boardwalk for the cost, which maintains the aesthetic that most people seek, would use a domestic hardwood deck.
In the face of a severely damaging storm such as Sandy, Mr. Kavanagh’s claim that “concrete…is more durable” than wood is unsupported. Lacking proper beach and design protections, either material is, and was proven to be, susceptible to being ravaged. With those protections in place, either material would have a reasonable chance of survival.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP SAVE THE BOARDWALK

CHECK OUT OUR REPORT ON THE DESIGN COMMISSION HEARING, MARCH 12, 2012.

Please sign this petition to tell the NYC Parks Department that the people of New York as well as visitors from around the world deserve the continued enjoyment that only the Boardwalk provides and that no sidewalk can ever replace!

You can also visit our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter .  Please help us spread the word, by sharing these links with your friends!

Call the New York City Design Commission at 212-788-3071 and email the  New York City Parks Department to let them know you want to keep the boards in the Coney Island boardwalk!

If you have any questions, want more information, or want to get involved in helping to save Coney’s boardwalk, please contact Rob Burstein (robburstein@hotmail.com) or Christianna Nelson (christianna.nelson@gmail.com)

13 thoughts on “About

  1. Matthew Mercado says:

    Walking on wood seems to be much more of a natural surface to walk on. Much more comfortable then concrete. If there can be other wood’s that can been used to keep Coney Island Broadwalk historically the same, then I believe the city should try to preserve it. It’s enough that we have to walk through out the city on concrete. Can’t we get a little break when we go to Coney Island. Wood look’s prettier too. Please keep the wood surface.

  2. Barbara L. Moskowitz says:

    PLEASE DO NOT REPLACE OUR WOOD BOARDWALK WITH CONCRETE. THAT WOULD BE A TRAVESTY AND IS ABSOLUTELY THE WRONG WAY TO PRESERVE THE BEAUTY AND HISTORY OF THE CONEYISLAND HISTORY.

    • RICK RIVERA NY Photographer says:

      NY has lost Prosp Pk ZOO, ALBEE SQ MALL, DODGERS, GIANTS & of course WTC. The boardwalk has everything! MANY NYERS bring their out of town friends & family to view this historic landmark!
      With the peace it endures & the love so widely spread, the BDWLK in this economy is still NY’s least expansive entertainment!
      NY needs the BDWLK NOW more than ever!

  3. bemshi jones says:

    please save the wooden boardwalk. Strengthen repair don’t destroy. thanks.

  4. AK says:

    Save the boardwalk!

  5. Douglas Friend says:

    save wood and leave the concrete behind!

  6. Jerry Sattler says:

    If the parks department took care of the boardwalk and fixed the planks this conversation would not be needed. Secondly if the parks department trucks would use the beach and the boardwalk the planks would be broken as they are now.

  7. Will Sanchez says:

    Save the Boardwalk and please save The Putnam Trail too! Please see http://www.savetheputnamtrail.com/

  8. Jon says:

    Replacing the wood has nothing to do with the rainforest or even with saving money, it has to do with their desire to turn Coney into a mall and allowing police cars on the boardwalk to control the crowds.

  9. Carole Pozner says:

    Do not use concrete on the Boardwalk in Coney Island / Brighton Beach! Suitable & affordable non-Rainforest wood is available & reasonable. Concrete is ugly, user-unfriendly, inappropriate, & will cause disasters in the wet & cold months via flooding & sheets of ice. The reason the boards got into such bad shape is that Parks did not maintain them for years, exacerbating the horrible conditions caused by heavy govt. vehicles regularly using the Boardwalk when they never belonged up there in the first place!

  10. scorbs12 says:

    Mayor Bloomberg wants this city to be the greenest in America. I hope he holds his parks dept. to this goal and asks them to listen to the community when plans are formulated. There is a tendency “to build for the next century,” as if the long-lastingness of structures is most important. This impulse should be resisted. A more worthy impulse is to preserve the textures, the natural resources that allow communities to thrive. Other more utilitarian concerns can then follow. By doing this, by putting people first, not structures, a legacy is made worth passing on to future administrations: a model of how to keep a great city moving ahead but scaled down to the people who enliven it and make it greater.

  11. Willy Norton says:

    I use to go to Coney Island and have run on it for the Brooklyn 1/2. It should be replaced but with wood or something resembling wood.
    Linda Norton

  12. “savetheboardwalk | Save the Historic Coney
    Island Boardwalk from Being Replaced with Concrete and Plastic” was
    a quite wonderful posting, . I hope you keep authoring
    and I will continue to keep viewing! Many thanks ,Fidelia

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