Boardwalk War of 2012 rages on our letters page

To the editor,

Just as Ron Kriegel, I have been living in Coney Island walking, running, bicycling and pushing a wheel chair for over 30 years (“Concrete Boardwalk a good thing for Coney,” Letters to the Editor, May 3).

I agree with him that the Boardwalk is in poor condition. I also know that there are many park workers who are sincere and hard working. That’s all I agree with him on. His
“facts” are just plum wrong. The Boardwalk has stood up for nearly 100 years to voluminous amounts of pedestrian traffic with no problem beyond normal wear and tear. The problem is the vehicular traffic which is shaking up the nails holding the wood in place. There are wooden footpaths that do not allow vehicular traffic on them and guess what? They are holding up beautifully. Parks has insistently and blindly argued they won’t take vehicles off the wood.

There is no reason for sanitation trucks of any size to be on the wood. They should all be on the sand. There are easy, effective ways to handle garbage disposal with automated lifters and positioning of cans. Workers can be delivered to work areas from the streets. Note, for example, Jones Beach.

The only vehicles on the wood could be police and rescue vehicles and those too should be changed. Only in an emergency should a police vehicle tear down the Boardwalk, as we have often witnessed. Otherwise they should be in wood-friendly vehicles going slowly while on watch. We have seen these golf cart-type vehicles in the summer in the park. Ambulances and fire trucks don’t come onto the Boardwalk, so really it’s sanitation and police tearing up the wood.

The second problem, which is truly mind-boggling, is that for years Parks has not replaced single-plank and nail issues in a timely manner if at all! One has to wonder why Band-Aids aren’t being used instead of a drastic, life-threatening measure to the wood surgery that is being conducted.

Remember the old adage “a stitch in time saves nine?” Well not to the powers that be. What could possibly be the intention of not fixing a single plank? What monetary deals were made with concrete providers? And why is Mayor Bloomberg pro-concrete when he doesn’t live here or walk here?

Years ago, we had a runner who carried a hammer with him. As he came across an obtrusive nail, he banged it in place. A single tax-paying citizen runner did more to ensure safety than the slew of city decision makers. They should be truly ashamed of themselves. In terms of the concrete, it is not at all easy on the body joints as wood is. There is no give to it. Wood or plastic over concrete are equally unforgiving. The concrete is horribly hot and blinding on bright days. It is more dangerous in terms of ice. There is no drainage for water and sand.

In terms of wood, it is not necessary to use rainforest wood as there is ample wood in the U.S. — ideal for boardwalks, and used throughout the east coast.

What the city is doing by replacing the wood on the Coney Island Boardwalk is just unconscionable. They should put signs up on the concrete for “pedestrians to cross with care.” Where is my hammer?


Coney Island

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To the editor,

Poor Ron Kriegel. He thinks Coney Island must choose either safety or aesthetics for our beloved Boardwalk, but the truth is that we can, and should, have both!

It’s baffling that the he believes concrete is safer. In the winter, sheets of ice cover the concrete sections of the Boardwalk because the concrete slabs don’t allow for any drainage.

In the summer, kids trip on the chunks of concrete that are already chipping away from the brand new sections, skinning their knees on the unforgiving surface. Beachgoers burn their feet, because the concrete is scalding hot. Year-round, runners, pedestrians and dancers damage their joints, since the concrete surface absorbs none of the impact of their activity. Is this safe?

It’s not the pedestrians that damage the Boardwalk’s wood planks, it’s the vehicles! There is a simple solution to this problem, and it doesn’t cost any money. Use fewer vehicles — the Boardwalk was designed for people, not cars and trucks! Most of the vehicles I see on the Boardwalk are police cruisers performing routine patrols. Why can’t they use some of NYPD’s many smaller vehicles — or better yet, walk? After all, the Bloomberg administration is all about healthy living and exercise, right? Using fewer vehicles for routine business is better for people, for the environment, and for the Boardwalk!

If Ron Kriegel needs an example of a safe wood walkway, he need look no further than Ocean City in Maryland. That beautiful wood boardwalk is able to accommodate eight million visitors per year, as well as daily traffic from a passenger tram, and even occasional fire engine parades. The secret? Good maintenance! In Coney Island, rather than putting small amounts of money into regular Boardwalk maintenance, the city chooses instead to waste millions of tax payer dollars on replacing huge sections with experimental, flawed “pilot projects,” using borrowed capital funds. To borrow a phrase from Ron Kriegel, “that is what I call a serious problem.”

The Coney Island Boardwalk is the most famous in the world. Tourists travel long distances to experience its beauty and history, and locals enjoy it as a welcome respite from the concrete jungle. It is a treasure worth preserving, and its design has proven safe for almost a century. Let’s take care of it, and not use foolish excuses to facilitate its destruction. That would be a real tragedy!

Christianna Nelson

Park Slope

Double standard

To the editor,

Crime apparently is up in the city. Of course, we’re told that things are still better than what they were 10 years ago. If crime is up, should police have their names splashed all over the papers for being ineffective? Of course not. No one believes that this should ever be done to our Finest. This only applies to New York City teachers.

Could you imagine if we factored into the crime rates, the rate of crime in our schools occurring daily? The police are doing an outstanding job in combating crime and terrorism in our city. Yet according to Mayor Bloomberg’s standards, some might be described as being ineffective.

Just like teachers, police are dealing with disruptive groups intent on breaking the laws and causing mayhem.

It’s the same thing in our schools, yet we can’t wait to blame the teachers or their union. Isn’t there a double standard here?

Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

Gotta luv Gotts

To the editor,

I am responding to a letter from Stu Gotts (“Gotts: ‘Gotcha’, May 4). I almost choked at the end of Mr. Gotts’ letter, while eating my sfogliatelle and affogato! Being a divorcee living alone that would not have been good.

Apparently another writer previously questioned the legitimacy of the Gotts name. I was buying Stu’s explanation until the end of his letter when he mentioned how his surname was shortened from “Gotzenghooler.” Very funny!

I love this bantering and horsing around. He has written interesting and thought provoking letters before. I hope he will continue — he is good.

Anita Cumare


Reach reporter Shavana Abruzzo at sabruzzo@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2529.

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