Stringer to city: Grant Coney Island Boardwalk landmark status
Says iconic Coney Island structure deserves recognition
Comptroller Scott Stringer has thrown his support behind an effort led by Coney Island Councilmember Mark Treyger to push the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to declare the iconic Riegelmann Boardwalk an official city landmark.
In written testimony submitted at a hearing of the City Council’s Land Use Committee on Wednesday, Stringer said that landmarking the boardwalk “will further the best interests of the community and the city by allowing the city to pursue its sustainability goals while granting official recognition to this nearly century old icon.”
Stringet noted in his testimony that the Coney Island community sustained devastating damage in Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and that the city is working on ways to make the shoreline more sustainable against future weather disasters.
The boardwalk, officially named the Reigelmann Boardwalk after Edward J. Riegelman (1870-1941), who served as Brooklyn borough president from 1918 to1924, is more often referred to by its nickname, the Coney Island Boardwalk.
The 2.7-mile-long wooden structure opened in 1923.
Wednesday’s hearing took place to discuss a non-binding resolution introduced by Treyger (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-parts of Bensonhurst) to have the council support the idea of landmarking the boardwalk.
The council does not have the power to declare the boardwalk an official city landmark, but Treyger stated that he hoped the resolution would serve to put pressure on the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Landmarking the boardwalk would protect it any plans the city might have to tear parts of the structure down and replace the wooden planks with plastic or concrete, according to supporters.
Currently, the city needs no approval to make significant changes to the boardwalk.
“New Yorkers and visitors from across the globe have been making memories along the boardwalk’s 2.7 miles of wooden planks for nearly a century, and we must ensure that people can continue to create more memories on those same wooden planks going forward,” Treyger said in a statement.
Prior to the Land Use Committee hearing, Treyger encouraged residents to go on social networking sites to support landmarking the boardwalk under the hashtag #LandmarkTheBoardwalk.
On Twitter, Alex Gleason wrote, “Thanks to CM Treyger we have the chance to preserve something truly historic.”
Another supporter, Brklyn Girl, tweeted, “Help save the Coney Island Boardwalk.”
With help from Coney Island historian Charles Denson, Treyger filed an application with the Landmarks Preservation Commission to landmark the boardwalk in 2014.
Treyger, Denson and Councilmember Chaim Deutsch (D-Brighton Beach-Sheepshead Bay), whose district also includes sections of the boardwalk, met with commission officials in 2015 and urged them to consider the historical context under which the boardwalk was built.
But to date, the commission has not granted the request.
In his testimony, Stringer noted that the Cyclone and the Parachute Jump are familiar Coney Island structures. “But when New Yorkers think about Coney Island, they probably think about one thing above all else: the historic Boardwalk which for generations has been the place where diverse beachgoers and residents alike have reveled in the beauty and possibility of Coney Island,” he stated.
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