Coney Island

Flood-prevention study makes Coney Island Pumping Station’s future uncertain

Eye On Real Estate

March 9, 2016 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The long-vacant Coney Island Pumping Station (the building at right) stands on the shoreline of Coney Island Creek. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan
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The fate of the Coney Island Pumping Station depends on the outcome of a flood-prevention study.

The Art Moderne masterwork was on the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s calendar for landmark designation consideration — which meant it couldn’t be demolished without the preservation agency’s permission.

That protection is gone now because the commission voted on Feb. 23 to remove the long-vacant building at 2301 Neptune Ave. from its calendar.

The city-owned pumping station is located on the shoreline of Coney Island Creek, in an area the city Economic Development Corp. (EDC) is scrutinizing in its Coney Island Creek Resiliency Study. This Superstorm Sandy-inspired feasibility study of flood prevention and mitigation strategies was launched in 2014.  

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Depending on the study’s outcome, it is possible the pumping station property might be used for a flood-mitigation system, City Councilmember Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island, Bensonhurst) told the Brooklyn Eagle in a recent interview.

Is there a scenario in the study that calls for the pumping station to be torn down? we asked.

“It’s unclear,” Treyger said. “If it is feasible to build a connector [across Coney Island Creek], it’s unclear what that will mean.”

The study is ongoing. There is no plan of action yet, Treyger observed.

“The city needs some flexibility on how best to protect our vulnerable coastline,” he said.

“The conversation about the pumping station is far from over. It’s just beginning.”

If the pumping station property does not need to be used for flood prevention and mitigation, the councilmember would like for it to be renovated and turned into a recreational facility.

“Ideally, it would be great if we can mitigate flooding, preserve history and activate programming that meets the needs of the community,” Treyger said. “That’s a win-win-win. That’s the goal.”

Flood resiliency measures that are ultimately carried out along Coney Island Creek should be rooted in science, meet Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) standards and enhance public assets, he said.

Two personal notes: Treyger said that as a former history teacher, he has a deep appreciation for the Coney Island Pumping Station.

Also, he has never seen the pumping station’s winged-horse statues. They stood outside the building until 1981, when they were moved to a plaza outside the Brooklyn Museum for safe-keeping. He was born the following year.  

And a note gleaned from our research: The city made a plan for the pumping station’s adaptive reuse — a quarter-century ago —  and budgeted $23 million for it. The plan never came to fruition.

Transitional housing for homeless families was going to be constructed in the yard surrounding the building. The pumping station was to be made into a community facility for the housing’s residents.

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