Under the rockwalk, we’ll be havin’ some fun . . .
City officials are pushing a plan that would replace the tropical hardwood that supports and covers the 86-year-old Coney Island boardwalk with a 39,600- ton concrete walkway.
The concrete, which comes tinted in pleasingly named colors like “kayak” and “autumn gold,” would be cut to resemble wooden planks under the city’s latest plan to save the dilapidated boardwalk.
The plan, still in the pilot phase, has traditionalists up in arms.
“Why don’t they just call it a sidewalk, if they’re going to do it in concrete?” said Dennis Thomas, president of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club. “There’ll be a huge loss of character.”
City officials are hoping to move forward with the plan by the end of the summer season.
“A full concrete boardwalk is the best way to go from a cost-benefit perspective,” said Liam Kavanagh, the first deputy commissioner of the city’s Parks Department. “It lasts 40 years with little maintenance — about twice as long as wood.
“The tropical hardwoods tended to get gray in color over the years, so the concrete can replicate that look and give you the feel of the old boardwalk.”
Building a concrete walk is part of Mayor Bloomberg’s effort to reduce the city’s use of tropical hardwoods, which come from rain forests, by 20 percent.
Under a $10 million pilot program to explore new boardwalk designs, the city is testing three methods to replace the walkway, where planks are rotting, nails protrude and gaping holes pose a menace to joggers.
On the Steeplechase Pier, plastic planks atop concrete support structures are being tested. Between Stillwell Avenue and West 12th Street, the city is testing hardwood planks atop concrete beams.
But officials said they favor the full-concrete plan.
“The upfront costs of the concrete-surface plan are less than either the plastic or the hardwood surfaces,” Kavanagh said.
Coney Island business owners and community leaders say they’re open to a cement beach walk.
“I’d rather see anything than the boardwalk falling apart,” said Anthony Berlingieri, who owns Beer Island, an outdoor boardwalk beer garden and the paintball game Shoot the Freak.
“If concrete is the solution, I guess I’ve got to be for it — it’s better than the boards popping up.”
By ANNIE KARNI
New York Post