Just one month after word leaked that the New York City Parks Department was considering privatizing the upkeep and maintenance of the Coney Island Boardwalk, two local pols are looking to landmark it.
Councilmembers Mark Treyger and Chaim Deutsch announced on Thursday, December 18 the launch of a public petition calling on the New York City Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC) to designate the historic Riegelmann Boardwalk as an official Scenic Landmark.
The push came on the heels of the Parks Department’s recent efforts to convert portions of the wooden pathway, which dates back to 1923, into concrete, plastic and fake wood.
“There is no question that the historic Riegelmann Boardwalk is one of the most iconic and beloved structures in our entire city and clearly merits this designation,” said Treyger. “I have already heard from dozens of New Yorkers who are shocked this isn’t already the case and wanted to share their personal stories of what the Boardwalk means to them and their families.”
“The Coney Island Boardwalk is a Brooklyn icon that possesses significant value, attracting visitors since 1923,” urged Deutsch.
The pair’s petition has already garnered support, both in and out of the political realm.
“The Riegelmann Boardwalk is imprinted with over 90 years of history, helping to establish Coney Island as America’s playground,” stressed Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “Millions of visitors have made the pilgrimage to southern Brooklyn, and we want to see millions more enjoy its unique, iconic character in the decades to come. I support a scenic landmark designation for the Riegelmann Boardwalk because I believe it is in the best interest of Brooklyn’s cultural and economic well-being.”
“For nearly a century, Coney Island’s wooden boardwalk has provided the public with a rustic observation platform, a cool, soft, raised promenade that captures ocean breezes and affords a respite from New York City’s hard concrete jungle,” said Charles Denson of the Coney Island History Project, calling the “concrete solution,” much like the changes made to Manhattan’s Penn Station, “ill-advised.
“If we allow the Boardwalk to be buried under an ocean of concrete, future generations will wonder how and why this act of vandalism was allowed to happen,” Denson stressed.
Brighton Beach resident Ida Sanoff agreed.
“This is a long overdue step towards making sure that future generations will be able to enjoy this historic treasure and ensuring that the character of the Boardwalk will be protected,” she said.
The Boardwalk stretches 2.7 miles along the Brighton Beach and Coney Island waterfront and, if landmarked, would join nine other Scenic Landmarks in New York City, including Prospect Park, Eastern Parkway and Ocean Parkway.
“The Boardwalk should remain a boardwalk, not a sidewalk,” said Denson.
The petition is available both online at Change.org and in both pols’ district offices.