Plastic boardwalk takes shape on Coney Island
A board-free boardwalk is taking shape on Coney Island – and a lot of New Yorkers don’t like it.
Dilapidated portions of the famed Boardwalk are being replaced with plastic planks instead of wood under a pilot program. “This is a historic Boardwalk,” said Maria Ovold, 50, of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.”They don’t need to replace it – they need to preserve it.”
The plastic planks, designed to last longer than wood, are being installed along the Boardwalk’s pier as part of Mayor Bloomberg’s vow to reduce the city’s use of tropical hardwood by at least 20%, said Liam Kavanagh, first deputy commissioner of the Parks Department.
“The Boardwalk is one of the places we are accomplishing that,” he said. Under the $5 million pilot program, the stretch from Stillwell Ave. to W. 15th St. will also be refurbished, but with decorative concrete that resembles wood.
Some regulars and tourists along the Boardwalk were unconvinced. “I think it would take away from the aesthetic and the overall feel of Coney Island,” said Thana Tak, 23, a student at Cornell University. “Who wants to walk on a plastic Boardwalk?”
Lyn Roberts, 58, and her daughter, Sam, from England, made the famous Boardwalk their last stop on a trek across the country and were disappointed by the change.
“Coney Island is famous for its wooden Boardwalk,” the mother said. “That’s why we came here in the first place, to walk on a proper Boardwalk, not plastic.”
The plastic walk was winning over some longtime tenants like Dianna Carlin, 35, owner of Boardwalk shop Lola Star. She supports anything that improves the strip’s safety. “I think as long as people don’t fall through the Boardwalk,” she said, “it’s progress in Coney Island.”
BY JEFF WILKINS and CARRIE MELAGO