Bridge abridged! Aquarium span scrapped

Bridge abridged! Aquarium span scrapped
Photo by Steve Solomonson

The long-neglected pedestrian bridge over Surf Avenue finally got some attention from city workers Wednesday — who took it down overnight.

The shark-painted span linking the W. Eighth Street-New York Aquarium train station to the Boardwalk finally sank, as a demolition crew ripped it down in the dark of night on Aug. 7.

The fishy bridge netted both fans in detractors in the 50 years that it took visitors over Surf Avenue to the Boardwalk — and its demise went over swimmingly with some, but left others high and dry.

The elevated pathway was long an orphan, with the neither Metropolitan Transit Authority, nor the Parks Department willing to take responsibility for maintaining it. The paint job chipped and rusted, the pathway became pitted, and an analysis last year concluded it was in danger of falling down eventually.

“I’ve been working on it for 17 years, and it’s finally gone,” rejoiced Community Board 13 district manager Chuck Reichenthal.

Others lamented the loss of an iconic part of the People’s Playground — and of an easy and safe route from the train onto the Boardwalk.

“If you’ve went to Coney Island as a kid, you got off that subway, you crossed that bridge, and you were in Coney Island,” said CB13 member Pat Singer. “We’ve been hung out to dry.”

Singer, who had fought to get the city to fix up the span over the years, argued that it should build a new one. But the New York City Economic Development Corporation — the semi-public agency that acts as the city’s liaison to business, and which paid to demolish the structure — said no such plans are in the works. Instead, the Corporation said the city intends to widen the sidewalks on the block, install a traffic light at W. Eighth Street and Surf Avenue, and create a new entrance to the seaside promenade at W. 10th Street.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.

These painted sharks will never again ply the sky over Surf Avenue.
Photo by Steve Solomonson