Coney Island Boardwalk to receive massive reconstruction

November 19, 2021 Jaime DeJesus
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After nearly a century, Coney Island’s Riegelmann Boardwalk is receiving a major reconstruction.

On Wednesday, Nov. 17, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he has allocated $114.5 million to begin a phased reconstruction of the historic 2.5-mile boardwalk. It first opened on May 15, 1923.

The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission designated it a landmark in May 2018.

Three months later, elected officials and Coney fanatics gathered at the official landmarking of the Riegelmann Boardwalk for a celebration.

The reconstruction will work in phases and include new piles and resilient materials, which will allow the boardwalk to still be open to the public during construction.  

Once completed, NYC Parks states the reconstructed boardwalk will feature new concrete structural elements such as piles, pile caps and planks, along with new decking, new railings and furnishings.

NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff stated that the funding will allow them to build a more resilient, sustainable boardwalk.

Councilmember Mark Treyger with NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff at Wednesday’s announcement of the boardwalk’s reconstruction. Photo by Malcolm Pinckney/NYC Parks

“There are few places as iconic and intrinsic to the spirit of New York City as Coney Island,” she said. “For generations, it has been the destination for those seeking sun, surf, sand and of course the thrilling rides and delicious eats that line the boardwalk. Its history is too important, and now its future will be secured.”

However, only the first phase of the reconstruction is currently funded. 

NYC Parks said the specific sections of the boardwalk that would be reconstructed will be determined in consultation with engineers and designers, who will prioritize which parts of the boardwalk are in greatest need.  

Mayor-elect Eric Adams said that Coney Island and its boardwalk are important for locals and visitors alike.

“After securing its status as an official scenic landmark, I am thrilled that the city is finally allocating funding to secure its future, and ensure it receives the needed resiliency upgrades to maintain it as an international destination for decades to come,” he said.

Adams also thanked Councilmember Mark Treyger of the 47th District, which includes Coney Island, for advocating the boardwalk’s reconstruction. Treyger will hand over his seat to councilmember-elect Ari Kagan in January due to term limits.

“With this funding, we will be able to better preserve and maintain this Southern Brooklyn treasure for generations to come. I’ve always felt that efforts to increase resiliency and preservation of the historic features of the boardwalk go hand in hand, and I look forward to additional support to improve the boardwalk under a lens of equity where support is most needed, especially in the west end of Coney Island,” Treyger said.

This past April, Treyger passed a bill that curbs the use of most vehicles on all New York City boardwalks — including the Riegelmann Boardwalk itself, which stretches along the southern shore of Coney Island from Sea Gate to Brighton Beach.

The bill limits the weight of city vehicles that provide maintenance, construction or public safety to city boardwalks to under 2,400 pounds. In addition, the bill only allows other vehicles on the city’s boardwalks in the case of an emergency.

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