Brooklyn pols and preservationists want locals’ help lobbying the city to landmark the Boardwalk during a Council hearing where the public can testify on May 4.
The city has ripped up sections of the two-and-a-half-mile-long wooden walkway and replaced them with plastic and concrete over the last few years to the ire of many preservationists. Lumber-loving locals are pushing for landmarking, because that would force a commission review any time the city wants to pry up more planks. Protecting the 93-year-old attraction is a no-brainer, and the seaside promenade’s ongoing plasticization is a total bummer, one Boardwalk booster said.
“I think it’s really sad and a great loss if it continues — not only to our community and the city of New York, but the world,” said Coney-Brighton Boardwalk Alliance president Rob Burstein.
The commission denied an application by councilmen Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island) and Chaim Deutsch (D–Brighton Beach) last year, on the grounds that the city had already altered the Boardwalk too much to designate it a historic landmark. Proponents called that argument moot because landmarks such as Ocean Parkway, Prospect Park, and Central Park have all been altered from their original state.
Rather than getting hung up on minutia, the commission should look at the walkway holistically, Burstein said.
“It’s the spine of a community, as well as a historic, scenic, and iconic entity,” he said. “I think by every measure of what a landmark is, the Boardwalk qualifies.”
Support for the landmarking is strong in the Council, too — 50 out of 51 members co-sponsored Treyger’s and Deutsch’s February resolution urging the commission to designate the esplanade. Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito did not sign on, because it is her policy not to not sponsor legislation she did not personally introduce, staffers said.
The Boardwalk is named after former Borough President from Edward Riegelmann, who served 1918–1924 and took charge in beautifying the increasingly popular seaside neighborhood during his tenure in Borough Hall. The city invested $3 million in 1921 — or $36 million in 2015 dollars — to build the boardwalk and dump sand on the beachfront, and Riegelmann himself cut the ribbon to open the Boardwalk two years later.
Hearing on landmarking the Boardwalk at City Hall Council Committee Room [Broadway at Murray Street in Manhattan]. May 4 at 11 am.
©2016 Community News Group
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