Last spring, because of years of damage and disrepair, the city began replacing the classic wood planks on the Coney Island Boardwalk with large concrete slabs and a "faux-wood" (recycled plastic lumber) to test both materials durability. Last night at a community board meeting, Parks Department officials announced the results of the trial run: the Boardwalk will most likely become Concretewalk.
According to Brooklyn Paper, Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey said that the city favors concrete because it costs less, it's not slippery, it doesn't break or rot, and it's easy to repair. It will probably also be too hot to walk on barefooted. Local residents were understandably upset that the original wood boards of the Reigelman Boardwalk, created in 1923, will likely be going the way of the telegraph. “This is an absolute disgrace. Having the boardwalk is a plus for this community—it’s historic. And you’re going to turn it into a sidewalk?” said Ruby Schultz.
Commenters have long complained about the shoddy state of the Boardwalk; one told of how they had to avoid tripping over loose screws, one wrote about getting splinters during a marathon, and one even suffered a cracked rib after they fell while jogging on it. And one reader pointed out the shoot-themselves-in-the-foot mentality of the previous repairs: "It's funny that the city drives their huge trucks full of wood planks and all their other vehicles all over the boardwalk while they're "repairing" it. They simultaneously repair and destroy. It's kind of poetic."
Jeffrey tried to defuse the anger at the meeting by saying that the "boardwalk is absolutely not a done deal," but added that their recommendation to the city would likely be to use concrete. Some residents argued that the wood wasn't to blame, but rather the lack of upkeep, especially due to city vehicles driving on it: “The trucks, the police, the heavy vans, they all cause damage. And 95 percent of the time, they’re just cruising looking at the girls, not even doing their jobs!” said Bruni Figueroa. But in the end, everyone's gotta serve somebody: “We’re in a lose-lose situation. [Mayor Bloomberg] says we can’t use any wood. And, obviously, the community doesn’t like concrete,” said Ilan Kutok, one of the parks workers presiding over the project.