Mind the gap! New cement Boardwalk is a stumbling ground, residents say

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Critics of the new cement slabs installed on the Coney Island Boardwalk near W. 33rd Street say the synthetic sections are shifting apart — and are using Coney’s growing fault lines to pressure the Parks Department into abandoning its plan to pave over the rest of the beloved 2.7-mile stretch.

“If the [gaps] are left unattended over time they could become dangerous,” said Rob Burstein, the founder of the Coney-Brighton Boardwalk Alliance, who said the concrete sections installed in Sea Gate have spread by more than an inch in places after just a year, posing a potential safety hazard.

The city tested the materials in Brighton Beach and Sea Gate last year and plan to install the concrete and recycled plastic lumber on the Boardwalk between Coney Island Avenue and Brighton 15th Street — over opposition from Community Board 13.

The proposal is part of a larger, $30-million renovation to the aging Boardwalk, and is likely to lead to the paving of the rest of the walkway, except for a four-block section in the amusement district between W. 10th and W. 15th streets.

But residents who fear the concrete deck would ruin the spirit of the 88-year-old footpath say the concrete sections are, besides shifting, already cracking up in places. The slabs also freeze solid during cold spells, unlike the old wooden sections, Burnstein claimed.

“The concrete was completely iced over last weekend and I almost slipped because it was so slick,” he remembered. “It’s a real problem.”

But the city Parks Department disagrees: spokeswoman Vickie Karp said the planks are holding up just fine because they are fastened together to prevent shifting, and are maintained by boardwalk contractors.

“The concrete sections of the boardwalk fared very well during the recent hurricane, earthquake and winter storms,” she said.

Parks officials have long argued that concrete is sturdier, and — at $90 per square foot — roughly $40 per foot cheaper than real timber.

But the Parks Department’s plan to rip out the wood suffered a setback last October when the agency responsible for approving the proposal, the Public Design Commission, put the makeover on hold, and demanded a more detailed study of the project’s environmental impact.

A second hearing was tentatively scheduled for Jan. 30, but has now been moved to the end of February.

Concrete-haters said they hoped the city’s Boardwalk plan is junked altogether.

“Last time the Parks Department didn’t come up with enough facts [to justify using cement],” said Todd Dobrin, president of Friends of the Boardwalk. “I hope the design commission shoots them down again.”

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at
Updated 5:29 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Or from Yellow Hook says:
Ah yes, let's not use that organic material, wood in a boardwalk.

Wood breathes, and expands and contracts and is why the engineers in Victorian times used it to make BOARDwalks.

But the wise city fathers can't use wood, because it's not like it grows on trees or anything, and you can't make more of it when it ages and rots naturaly.

Pol Pot ordered water to flow up hill. These idiots that occupy public office arenot far behind.
Jan. 31, 2012, 10:15 am
ty from pps says:
Ahhh... So you ARE and idiot, Or from Yellow Hook.

$90 /sq ft for concrete vs. $120 /sq ft for wood. The former is supposed to last longer. It requires less maintenance. And the wood they use actually is fairly rare.... this isn't pine, which would rot in 2 years.

This "look at the HUGE gaps" in the boardwalk BS is just that... the current state of the WOODEN boardwalk includes rotten and missing planks and sharp nails and screws stick out to cut feet.
Jan. 31, 2012, 12:07 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
SUPPOSED to last longer.

You've said so much.

But Broadway has been turned in to Narrow Way with picnic tables in the middle of the street, and now the Boardwalk will be the sidewalk.

All in the name of SUPPOSED to.
Jan. 31, 2012, 2:29 pm
K. from ArKady says:
You'll have to excuse OR, he's a liberal who can't keep his hand out of the public pocket to pay for his expensive wooden walkway.
Jan. 31, 2012, 2:59 pm
Mike says:
If Or were a liberal, he'd support uses of public space available for free to the 99%. Instead he thinks the 1% should clog it up with their exhaust-spewing giant luxury SUVs without having to pay a dime.
Jan. 31, 2012, 5:55 pm
K. from ArKady says:
Nonsense, Mike. That just makes Or a Liberal Elitist. He has all the symptoms, as you can see. He chooses the most expensive thing because he can get the average joe to pick up the tab. Heaven forfend _he_ should have to pay for the new boardwalk. No doubt he's down at the social security office now, picking up his check, that I have to pay for. It's not like he needs to work, we do that for him. God, I hate Liberals like Or. Don't you?
Jan. 31, 2012, 6:21 pm
Justine from Brooklyn Heights says:
AS A ROADWAY FOR THEIR CARS !!! No Boardwalk, whatever material, can withstand the constant traffic.
Jan. 31, 2012, 8:38 pm

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