Boardwalk balk: Locals blast assemblyman for funding flip-flop

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A Sheepshead Bay politician who promised to ensure the borough’s largest Boardwalk would remain wood is a hypocrite who doesn’t care if the planks are ripped up and replaced with cement and plastic, angry beachcombers said this week.

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D–Sheepshead Bay) (inset) pledged last November that he would “cut off” the funding he allocated to the Parks Department to repair the Riegelmann Boardwalk if the city intended to replace its wood with something else, but then authorized the money even after learning it would in fact be used for concrete.

Wooden Boardwalk backers say they would rather he stuck to his word.

“Better that we should lose the funds then to use them for a terrible project,” said Rob Burstein, president of the Coney-Brighton Boardwalk Alliance.

The Boardwalk reconstruction — which is ripping up the traditional boards to make way for a cement path and plastic slats — was partially funded by Cymbrowitz and Alec Brook-Krasny (D–Coney Island), who together allocated $10 million in funding in 2008. Cymbrowitz has since said that he felt “hoodwinked” by the city, and didn’t realize that the aim of the work, which started in November, was to replace the wooden Boardwalk with plastic and concrete.

The funding would have expired at the end of the year, halting the controversial project, but the assemblyman told a meeting of local stakeholders on Dec. 30 that he had decided to authorize it, albeit on a month-to-month basis, saying he wants the construction to be completed as quickly as possible.

“I chose to extend the contract on a month-to-month basis so that we would retain control of the funding and at the same time be able to continue the valuable discussions that had been opened up at this meeting,” said Cymbrowtiz in a press release. “In a perfect world, everybody would prefer a wooden boardwalk, even the Parks Department.

“I want wood but I also want the boardwalk to be open. Our priority right now must be to get the work done as quickly as possible and return the boardwalk to the people who enjoy and use it.”

One board-booster accused the assemblyman of bald-faced duplicity.

“He cited his strong opposition to what he has just in fact funded, and the hypocrisy of that is mind boggling,” said Burstein, one of several advocates suing to stop the project. “His explanations are something no 2-year-old would accept as being valid since they make no sense.”

One elected official said the meeting — held after a section of the Boardwalk in Brighton Beach was already destroyed — was simply another example of how the city has historically neglected the seaside enclave.

“We’re dealing with something deeper than wood and concrete,” said Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island).

“We just cannot afford government neglecting this structure the way they have for decades. You do not destroy the Boardwalk and issue a plan and then come to the community and say, ‘We’re here to listen.’ ”

Treyger, who is trying to save the boards by declaring it a scenic landmark and has started an online petition with Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay) to preserve the Boardwalk, also took issue with the city’s excuse for going ahead with the controversial project at the end of last year before the funding expired, saying that if Cymbrowitz could extend the funding, the city should have delayed the work until community was consulted. He also said that Cymbrowitz’s urgency to get the project finished was misplaced.

“Of course we all want the Boardwalk to be open,” said Treyger. “But again, I quote the word ‘Boardwalk’ — when you replace it with concrete lane, it is not a Boardwalk.”

The Parks Department said the new plastic and concrete walkway, which will include a 10-foot-wide lane for emergency vehicles, will be completed by the summer of 2016.

Reach reporter Vanessa Ogle at or by calling (718) 260–4507. Follow her
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Reader feedback

guest from brighton says:
Cymbrowitz hypocrite what else is new?
Jan. 8, 2015, 3:11 pm
Todd Dobrin from coney island says:
it is all politics. young Treyger is yet to learn how it works. Treyger supported Cymbrowitz's opponent last election Ben Axelrodent.. and now he is bad mouthing the mayor and thinks he can get something accomplished in the community? he will get few bones thrown to him, but he will never be able to achieve anything lasting or impactful. not the boardwalk not the transfer station nothing of any big meaning to community. Treyger does not know his politics and how to handle himself and just like his mentor Colton is a go at it alone isolated type of fellow. So good luck to all.
Jan. 8, 2015, 3:19 pm
JY from Bay Ridge says:
Todd if you knew your politics maybe you wouldn't have lost so badly in the primary to COUNCILMAN TREYGER. If Colton is such a bad guy why did you beg him for his endorsement? It's funny how when a guy can't win an election he disappears from the community and becomes an internet tough guy.
Jan. 8, 2015, 4:50 pm
Jerry from Brighton says:
Young Treyger accomplished more in one year than Cymbrowitz can ever dream of for his entire career. Treyger helping secure $923 million for Coney Island Hospital is not lasting or impactful? Or the $1.8 billion additional money for Housing Recovery? And for Cymbrowitz to say he was hoodwinked by this plan is laughable since the plan was out for years since 2010. Difference here is that when the going gets tough and powers that be don't support the community, Cymbrowitz sold out and Treyger didn't. He can learn a thing or two from young Treyger. Spend less time in Turkey and more time helping your district
Jan. 8, 2015, 4:55 pm
Jerry Sattler from Brighton Beach says:
what seems interesting when the residents of Oceana did not wsnt those sky high bathrooms blocking thete view wbo came out not only listen but stopped it who else but steve cymbrowitz.The same could not be said to save our presious boardwalk.
Have we not learned a lession after what hurricane SANDY did to our neighborhood with no place for the water to go flooding all of Brighton Beach.. So there is a double standard snd that is a shame. How do look in the mirror
Jan. 8, 2015, 8:14 pm
Jen from Gravesend says:
Deeply ashamed of Cymbrowitz for breaking his promise to us. He will not be receiving our endorsement next election cycle. We are proud of Treyger for doing what is right for our community regardless of what the powers in City Hall want. I hope his landmark proposal goes through in time to save our beloved Boardwalk.
Jan. 8, 2015, 8:16 pm
Todd Dobrin from Coney Island says:
I have reported the post above made at 3:19pm.
I Todd Dobrin did not make that post.
Jan. 8, 2015, 8:50 pm
Nelson Levine from Brighton/Coney Island says:
So who wants to join me in forming a "Do not re elect Cymbrowitz" group so as to not reward his abusive behavior ?
Jan. 9, 2015, 9:46 am
jw says:
Now you're talking. All he cares about is his big money donors at Oceana.
Jan. 9, 2015, 10:12 am
Herb Malsman from Coney Island, NY / Surfside Beach, SC says:
“I want wood but I also want the boardwalk to be open. Our priority right now must be to get the work done as quickly as possible and return the boardwalk to the people who enjoy and use it.” / From: "Unyielding concrete and asphalt pose a number of difficulties for the runner’s anatomy, but the greatest is probably the triple threat of the three main kinds of shin splints: (1) medial tibial stress syndrome, (2) compartment syndrome, and (3) stress fractures. (The term “shin splints” is not diagnostically meaningful in itself: it just means “shin pain.”) All three can be show-stoppers for serious runners. Compartment syndrome can even be dangerous, which is why all runners need to know that you should never try to “run through” worsening shin pain. All three are caused and/or aggravated to some degree by running on a hard surface."
Jan. 9, 2015, 1:48 pm
Herb Malsman from Coney Island, NY / Surfside Beach, SC says:
"Walking Surfaces: Choosing a good walking surface is important to avoid injury. The best surfaces are flat, firm, and not too hard. Avoid concrete if at all possible. From:

Concrete - Concrete is considered to be one of the worst surfaces to run on as it causes the greatest impact to body. As with asphalt, be aware of the camber of the roads if you must do your running on this type of surface." From:
Jan. 9, 2015, 3:14 pm
Howard Ravitsky from Brighton Beach says:
What changed between the time that Cymbrowitz issued his bold statements saying he would withdraw his funding and now? Absolutely nothing! He wanted some of the positive attention that has rightly been showered on Councilman Treyger and Councilman Deutsch for their efforts, but he obviously had no intention of following through on what he was saying. I will not vote for him again.
Jan. 9, 2015, 4:30 pm
Herb Malsman from Coney Island, NY / Surfside Beach, SC says:
Please Join us @ ...
Jan. 9, 2015, 5:37 pm
jw says:
Brook Krasny is just as bad he was in on this too
Jan. 9, 2015, 10:21 pm
Tamara Kirinsky from Brighton Beach says:
What a shame that these two politicians- Cymbrowitz and Brook-Krasny- gave money for this project, which destroys our wonderful Boardwalk, in the first place. Now they add to their shameful behavior, promising to rescind that funding and then not doing so. Shame on us if we allow them to get into office again!
Jan. 9, 2015, 11:36 pm
Edwin Cosme from Coney Island says:
We need to preserve the boardwalk and not having it replaced with concrete slabs. As an avid exercise buff and race coordinator this will virtually exterminate (eradicate) all form of exercising along our beloved boardwalk. Lets preserve what we have.
Jan. 12, 2015, 10:28 pm
Felix from Brighton Ocean Parkway says:
"Treyger helping secure $923 million for Coney Island Hospital is not lasting or impactful?"

WHO ARE YOU KIDDING>:? did he also help put a man on the moon?

Stop with the lies and taking credit for crap he had nothing to do with. All Treyger knows how to do is TALK! he manages to call in few pot holes in Coney Island. We miss Domenic Recchia, Treyger is lost in the shadows of his boss Colton. he can never serve this community.
Jan. 13, 2015, 1:39 pm
Ari Kagan from Brighton Beach says:
To Felix from Brighton/Ocean Parkway: did you write the letter to the Health and Hospital Corporation about the significant damage of the Coney Island Hospital during the SuperStorm Sandy?

Councilman Mark Treyger did it! Here are just two stories about his actions:

Right after Treyger attracted attention of FEMA, Senator Schumer and Mayor De Blasio to the huge damage of the Coney Island Hospital during the Sandy, federal and city authorities announced the allocation of $923 mln. to CI Hospital.
Jan. 14, 2015, 1:08 am
Lenny from Cymbrowitz Office says:
Dear Boss Cymbrowitz

I hope you are enjoying another trip to Turkey. As I'm sure you are promoting economic and cultural ties between our countries in the spa and massage parlor, please remember you have many constituent calls to return. Also, remember you still owe Joe Packer money (cash only) for the flyers bashing Ben Akselrod.

Hope I get another keychain souvenir!

Jan. 14, 2015, 9:05 am
Listen, I as a citizen of this city just want to see justice done for the sake of saving our iconic Coney Island Boardwalk as wood as it has been since its inception way back when. The community and beyond are supporting this decision to the fullest. We want our children and grandchildren and great grandchildren to be able to enjoy a walk, jog, bike ride whatever they like on our beautiful wooden boardwalk in every season of the year!!! It is as simple as that people of the Community, Politicians, Parks Dept. please give our beloved boardwalk Landmark status so it remains there for us to enjoy and cherish always!!!
Jan. 18, 2015, 7:18 pm

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