Heated Debate Over Proposed Coney Island Boardwalk Makeover


coney-island-boardwalkNew York City’s Coney Island boardwalk may be getting a makeover, from wood to plastic.

The New York Times reports that the city parks department is proposing to replace stretches of the aging, 2.7-mile boardwalk with a combination of concrete and a type of recycled plastic that looks like wood.

Rob Burstein, chairman of the Coney-Brighton Boardwalk Alliance, says the plan would amount to “putting a piece of plastic into a diamond ring.”

But aesthetics aren’t the only reason that some people oppose the project, Todd Dobrin the President of Friends Of The Boardwalk told CBS that the construction requirements for a plastic boardwalk will result in poor drainage and eventually flooding.

Dobrin says there’s no drainage for sand or water on top of the concrete. Sand fills the gaps between the recycled plastic boards and water builds up.

Friends of the boardwalk says that their goal, “to initiate, support and encourage projects for the revitalization and improvement of the boardwalk, beach and the Coney Island and Brighton Beach communities.”

The group maintains a website that shows the kind of damage that can occur when plastic planks are laid down in place of wood.

But Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe says the plastic composite can last 75 years and is cheaper to build with than wood.

The parks department says some natural woods last just eight years.

The plan to rebuild the boardwalk must be approved by the city’s Public Design Commission before it can be carried out.

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  1. And then they’ll find out it’s leaking toxic chemicals and have to replace it anyway or ban people from swimming.

    Coney Island used to have character. Now even the roller coaster is gone.

  2. Why won’t there be drainage if it is built the same way the boardwalk is now with plastic wood instead of wood? Many people have decks made out of this plastic wood stuff and as long as there is some space between the boards, just like with real wood, there is drainage. The only problem I know of is that this fake wood gets very hot in the sun and for people walking barefoot that can be hazardous.