As Coney Island gears up to open for the summer this weekend, a local community board had a message for the city: Hands off our beloved Boardwalk!
Community Board 13 voted 21-7 Tuesday night to reject a plan to rebuild a chunk of the iconic Boardwalk with a concrete path down the middle. "I've lived in Coney Island all my life and I don't want to see these terrible changes," said board member Evelyn Strasser. "It's a Boardwalk, not a concrete walk."
The move was a reversal of a vote by Board 13's own parks committee, which endorsed the compromise plan earlier this month, and came after opponents made impassioned pleas to save the iconic stretch from a concrete makeover. "What they're building there is a mockery," said Mike Greco, a Bath Beach resident who has clashed with the city for years over Boardwalk designs. "What they're doing to this Boardwalk is a travesty....Insane people are running this city."
The community board vote is advisory, and city officials said they're still mulling whether to launch the project despite the rejection or tweak it again. "We were disappointed with last night's vote," said city Parks Department spokeswoman Vickie Karp. "This is New York, and we will never all agree, but all sides of the plan have now been fully included in the process and we will make the best decision possible.
"The Coney Island Boardwalk needs to be renovated in a sustainable way that works both for the environment and for its millions of users," Karp added. The city initially wanted to pave the stretch of Boardwalk from Brighton 15th St. to Coney Island Ave. entirely in concrete, but scrapped that plan after an uproar from local residents. Officials proposed a 16-foot concrete strip but backed off that too, shrinking it to 12 feet.
"They were requesting our approval and they didn't get it, so if I were them I wouldn't go forward with it," said Todd Dobrin, president of Friends of the Boardwalk and a CB13 member.