Coney Island

Councilmembers want city to landmark Coney Island Boardwalk

December 19, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Councilmember Mark Treyger says the boardwalk should be preserved for future generations. Photo courtesy Treyger’s office

One day in the future, you might be stepping on a city landmark when you take a stroll on the Coney Island Boardwalk.

Brooklyn Councilmembers Mark Treyger and Chaim Deutsch have launched a petition drive calling on the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission to designate the boardwalk, which is officially named the Riegelmann Boardwalk, as a scenic landmark.

The two lawmakers are urging residents to sign the petition, which is available at change.org and at their district offices.

“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. 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,” Treyger said.

“The Coney Island Boardwalk is a Brooklyn icon that possesses significant value, attracting visitors since 1923,” said Deutsch (D-Brighton Beach-Sheepshead Bay).

Treyger  (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst) said the landmark effort is especially urgent now, because the city is considering replacing the wooden boardwalk with a concrete structure.

The boardwalk is named after Edward Riegelmann, who served as borough president from 1918-24.

Construction of the boardwalk began in 1921, one year after the BMT subway line was extended to Coney Island. Riegelmann spearheaded the $3 million project to construct the boardwalk and improve public access to the beach. According to the city’s Department of Parks, the project required 1.7 million cubic yards of sand to create an additional 2.5 million square feet of beach area. More than 3 million feet of timber was used to construct the boardwalk. The 80-foot-wide boardwalk, stretching from West 37th Street to Ocean Parkway, opened on May 15, 1923.

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Treyger and Deutsch already have support from many civic leaders in Coney Island and Brighton Beach.

“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. This historic structure must be protected and preserved. The Boardwalk should remain a boardwalk, not a sidewalk,” said Charles Denson of the Coney Island History Project.  

“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,” said Brighton Beach community activist Ida Sanoff.

Other elected officials are also on board.

“The Riegelmann Boardwalk is imprinted with over 90 years of history, helping to establish Coney Island as America’s playground. 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,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

“The famed Coney Island Boardwalk has been an important part of the social, cultural and economic fabric of our city for generations,” said U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn-Queens).  

To sign the petition, visit www.change.org, or stop by Treyger’s district offices at 2015 Stillwell Ave. or 445 Neptune Ave., or visit Deutsch’s office at 2401 Avenue U.

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