Residents Fight To Keep Coney Island's Boardwalk Wooden Decades of wear and tear and damage from Hurricane Sandy have taken it's toll on the boardwalk. New York's Parks Department wants to refurbish the boards with plastic composite and concrete.
NPR logo

Residents Fight To Keep Coney Island's Boardwalk Wooden

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/402856046/402856056" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Residents Fight To Keep Coney Island's Boardwalk Wooden

Residents Fight To Keep Coney Island's Boardwalk Wooden

Residents Fight To Keep Coney Island's Boardwalk Wooden

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/402856046/402856056" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Decades of wear and tear and damage from Hurricane Sandy have taken it's toll on the boardwalk. New York's Parks Department wants to refurbish the boards with plastic composite and concrete.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Europe's nice, but hey, we have Coney Island. The two-mile wooden boardwalk there has been a beach fixture for more than 90 years. For New Yorkers like Rob Burstein, there's nothing like it.

ROB BURSTEIN: It was the place where we could come, even as a poor family, and enjoy a day out by the beach for no more than the cost of a subway token.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

But decades of wear-and-tear and damage from Superstorm Sandy, it's taken a toll. Las year, the city began replacing some of the old tropical hardwood with recycled plastic wood reinforced with concrete underneath.

SIEGEL: Rob Burstein is also the president of the Coney-Brighton Boardwalk Alliance. His group is fighting the move to replace the wooden boards, but it's just not about nostalgia, he says.

BURSTEIN: For visitors and locals alike it also is a respite from the concrete that we all are surrounded by in the city, and it's kind of the spine of our community.

CORNISH: The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation says tropical wood is expensive and bad for the environment. Here's Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver.

MITCHELL SILVER: We're now dealing with the new reality of climate change that we did not deal with before. Superstorm Sandy was a wake-up call.

SIEGEL: Well, Rob Burstein doesn't buy it.

BURSTEIN: You would not tell a community like the Upper East Side or the Upper West Side, you know, Central Park needs maintenance, maybe we should put in plastic grass and plastic trees.

CORNISH: His group still hopes to preserve the Coney Island boardwalk by getting it recognized as a landmark.

SIEGEL: And Parks Commissioner Silver says he hopes the rebuild is complete by next summer.

Copyright © 2015 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.