For months or more, the future of the world-renowned Riegelmann Boardwalk of Coney Island has been poppin’ its nails in the controversial sands-of-time, as verbs and vowels have shredded the salt-tasty airs of “America’s Seashore.”
Others have copied, but few have surpassed, the most widespread Boardwalkrunning the realm ’tween Brighton’s border, some three-and-a-half miles to the forbidden privacies of the gated-community of double-taxed Sea Gate.
Through the ensuing years, even decades, the “great-walk, Boardwalk” has (literally) survived the many storms and ravaging tides propelled by wild hurricane winds.
When this massive boardwalk was completed under Borough President Riegelmann, it became one of our city’s treasures, so unique, so talked about, and soon to be copied and even surpassed.
But the winds of whistling hurricanes often spread devastation, not just to this fortifying Boardwalk, but also to its compatriot, the Steeplechase Pier. The pier was not just great for day and night fishing, but also for the iron steamboat that made daily jaunts to Battery Park. As a boy, Mom took my kid brother Martin and I to Battery Park, where we hopped another steamboat to Albany.
Then the not-so-Great Depression took hold. The pier fell into disrepair, just as budget cuts were flanking our prized Boardwalk.
Looking for ways to save money, our city bought lumber from the “wrong country” letting the Boardwalk rot on our beaches while politics prevented attention to the plight. That is, until “Friends of the Boardwalk” organized in the community.
Todd Dobrin took the helm, and when a fella needs a friend, Dorbin is always there and alert, willing, as well as eager to “fight for what he feels is right.”
Push finally came to shove at this month’s meeting of the nearby Community Board 13. The monthly meeting was confusingly moved to PS 329, where a full auditorium was packed with enthusiasm for the future of their boardwalk on the People’s Playground.
Heated voices filled the school and the voting proved ultra dynamic as the cheers drowned the jeers. Todd stood out of his seat and tallied with his fingers as wood emerged the victor over concrete.
Now, our billionaire mayor needs to fulfill the monies he has pledged each spring season for the last 10-plus years, giving his support “to bringing back the Old Coney Island.”
There are city sidewalks all over so many parts of the world, but our mayor was fortunate to find Coney in his realm a treasured island, beloved by so many the world over. He’s also fortunate to have Todd here to organize the support that has propelled Coney back to its place in the sun, a place that will hopefully expand to year-round opportunities and employment as envisioned by the man who led the “fight for right.”