Coney Island

Signs point to landmark status for Coney Island Boardwalk

March 19, 2018 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Councilmember Mark Treyger has been pushing for the city to declare the Coney Island Boardwalk an official landmark for four years. Eagle file photo by Lore Croghan
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Coney Island residents could see their beloved oceanfront boardwalk become an official city landmark after all.

A concerted effort waged over the past four years by local City Council members, Coney Island civic leaders and historians to convince New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission to declare the boardwalk an official landmark yielded the most promising results to date when Crain’s New York Business reported last week that the commission has agreed to hold a hearing on the matter.

Meenakshi Srinivasan, chairwoman of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, stated at an unrelated hearing on March 15 that she is supportive of landmark status for the iconic boardwalk, according to Crain’s New York Business, which also reported that a hearing to discuss the boardwalk will be placed on the Commission’s calendar.

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The Commission could reach a decision as early as this spring, Crain’s New York Business reported.

Landmark status would protect the 2.7-mile-long boardwalk from demolition or major structural changes.

The structure, which is officially named the Riegelmann Boardwalk, opened in 1923 and is named after Edward Reigelmann (1869-1941), who served as Brooklyn borough president from 1918 to 1924 and spearheaded its construction.

The boardwalk, which stretches from West 37th Street in Coney Island to Brighton 14th Street in Brighton Beach, is a major tourist attraction, attracting millions of visitors each year, according to Councilmember Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-parts of Bensonhurst).

The city’s Department of Parks and Recreation is the agency responsible for maintaining the boardwalk.

Treyger and another lawmaker, Councilmember Chaim Deutsch (D-Sheepshead Bay-Manhattan Beach-Brighton Beach), who have been working together to secure landmark status for the boardwalk, jointly released a statement on the latest developments.

“This as an important first step in ensuring that this cultural touchstone beloved in Southern Brooklyn, across the city and by millions from beyond the five boroughs is preserved and protected in perpetuity for generations to come. Landmarking the boardwalk also creates an additional accountability tool to ensure consistent upkeep and maintenance. We look forward to seeing this process move forward and, along with our community, will continue to offer our support every step of the way. The city’s landmarks process must be an equitable one, reflecting the rich history and tradition of all of New York City’s communities,” the statement reads.

Treyger and Charles Denson, president of the Coney Island History Project, filed an application with the Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2014. Up to now, however, the Landmarks Preservation Commission had turned down requests to hold a hearing on the issue.

Concerns about the fate of the boardwalk escalated two years ago when the de Blasio administration started a controversial project to replace some of the structure’s wooden planks.

In 2016, Treyger and Deutsch applied pressure to the Landmarks Preservation Commission by pushing through a non-binding City Council resolution supporting landmarking the boardwalk.

“Our push to see this local treasure receive landmark status has the support of all of the elected officials who represent this area, countless citywide officials, and the entire City Council. Our community’s push to landmark the boardwalk was done without the help of lobbyists or conservancies. This was a true grassroots effort with local leaders and stakeholders,” Treyger and Deutsch stated.

U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Canarsie-Coney Island), City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James have all announced their support for landmarking the boardwalk.



Article was updated to correct spelling of the last name of the president of the Coney Island History Project. His name is Charles Denson, not Denton.

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