Back away from your concrete mixers and take a road trip to the Jersey shore.
That’s the advice Coney Island gadfly Judd Fischler has for Parks Department officials bent on using concrete and synthetic materials to repair the world-famous, wooden Riegelmann Boardwalk.
“The design of the planks on the Coney Island boardwalk is not proper,” said Fischler, president of the 60th Precinct Community Council. “They should go down to Atlantic City to see how they do it.”
Parks Department officials have all but given up on using wood to repair sections of the walkway, stating that it would be environmentally unfriendly and fiscally unsustainable.
“We can’t continue to build the boardwalk the way we’ve been building it,” said Brooklyn Parks Chief of Staff Marty Maher.
But cash-strapped Atlantic City planners are struggling as well, and they aren’t about to forego the wood on their world-famous boardwalk.
“I don’t know that we would want to change the composition of the boardwalk.” Atlantic City engineer John Feairheller said.
Atlantic City’s four-mile seaside path is supported with a concrete and timber sub-structure but, according to Fischler, the secret to the span’s resilience — and something that he says should be tried in Brooklyn — is the distinctive, uninterrupted herringbone layout of its planks.
Fischler figures Atlantic City’s wooden planks are longer and therefore present fewer opportunities for boards to pop up.
“Redesign it here the way those boards are put down there,” he said.
The city, however, remains high on concrete, touting its strength, durability and low-maintenance — but Fischler isn’t buying it.
“It’s an immediate fix, but what happens when it starts to crack?” he wondered.
To answer that, we went to Manhattan Beach, where a poorly maintained cement boardwalk is already in place (see sidebar below), and offers a look at things to come.