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Sound Off to the Editor

Pebble-brained city planners can’t see the forest for the trees when it comes to Boardwalk repairs in the People’s Playground, said readers who wrote overwhelmingly in favor of wood over cement for the storied walkway (“Pols hope to crack concrete B’walk plans” by Will Bredderman, May 18).

To the editor,

I was delighted to see your article on the Boardwalk, and even more delighted to learn that our neighborhood finally has councilmembers who represent the interests of the community. Hurricane Sandy was proof that concrete is dangerous for our Boardwalk and does not withstand the elements. Other places have learned that the hard way, installing concrete only to switch back to wood after years of problems. Let’s learn from the evidence rather than make the same mistakes. Domestic wood is safe and durable, and should be what is used for our beloved Boardwalk.Jennifer Thorpe-Moscon

Brooklyn

The writer is the chairwoman of the
Southern Brooklyn Democrats.

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To the editor,

Sincere thanks for your excellent article on the fight for a well-maintained, true-wooden Boardwalk! I was so pleasantly surprised to read the article, and felt compelled to thank you for your supportive point of view. The Boardwalk is a city beachside treasure, and to abandon it to plastic and concrete when it has been shown that wood is unequivocally the better, safer, more reliable, and certainly more aesthetically pleasing substance would be a terrible shame. Though I do have a sentimental attachment to the wooden Boardwalk, that’s not the whole story — and I am glad that story is finally, thanks to you, being told!

Alice Shechter

Williamsburg

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To the editor,

I agree with Councilmen Chaim Deutsch and Mark Treyger. The Coney Island Boardwalk should remain a Boardwalk made of sustainable wood and not concrete. I grew up in Coney Island and return often. The Boardwalk will be destroyed, both visually and physically if the city moves ahead and keeps replacing sections with concrete. Most cities and towns along the east coast have repaired their Boardwalks with wood, including my nearby Boardwalk in Long Beach, N.Y.

An iconic world famous jewel of New York City, the Riegelmann Boardwalk, which should be on the historic preservation list, is being destroyed. Mayor Bloomberg and his minions have disregarded and disrespected the citizen’s wishes. We need Mayor DeBlasio to stop this path of destruction and accept the fact that in 2014 there are a plethora of available materials that can be used that are not concrete, and that maintain the actuality of a real Coney Island Boardwalk, not a concrete ocean promenade.Bob Lazar

Oceanside, N.Y.

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To the editor,

Regarding your article about the neighborhood’s representatives who are finally speaking up for their constituents, your coverage was fair and thoughtful. I am a long-time member of the community who uses the Boardwalk daily and, among other factors that point toward keeping the wood, I have witnessed the deterioration of the Parks Department’s attention to the Boardwalk, no matter what the material consists of, and I am not surprised at the lack of comment on the subject from that agency.

So many of us have testified at hearings regarding the community’s desires and needs and have recruited expert testimony as well. The city sat deaf and inattentive at those hearings and the court also seemed to pre-judge the situation. All of this in advance of Hurricane Sandy was disheartening and unfair. Now, the after-effects of the storm have led to even greater substantiation of the community’s concerns against slapping concrete onto an environmentally sensitive space that had always been well served by wood, particularly when all other boardwalks along the eastern coast have rejected using concrete post-Sandy. Indeed, previously two boardwalks that had tried concrete returned to wood.

There can be no excuse from a no-comment, low-performing New York City Parks Department in the face of the following additional facts: A real Boardwalk is good for business and that’s why the businesses in the amusement area fought for and got a declaration that their area will always remain wood. Locals and visitors alike enjoy walking, running or dancing on wood, or some approximation of it, underfoot, not concrete. An iconic, world famous jewel of New York City is being destroyed without regard for the citizens who use it and spend their money there. Why don’t we pour a slab of concrete on Central Park’s Great Lawn — certainly that would be easier than seeding and maintaining the grass.

I am concerned for myself and my family, for my neighbors and my community, and for a beautiful pleasure spot of the city that gives respite from the rush and rumble away from the beach and the Boardwalk. How does such a diverse and creative New York City allow any of its government agencies to make such a boilerplate, autopilot decision?Rose Cherry

Coney Island

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To the editor,

For those of us who spend time year round at the Coney Island-Brighton Beach Boardwalk, I am writing to voice my extreme disgust at the idea that the Parks Department is going ahead with their plan to replace the “boards” in Boardwalk with the putrid concrete they insist is better. It is ugly, visibly unpleasant, and cracking since the day it was installed. No other shore resort area that I have visited is concrete. The is no reason to believe that the greatest amusement area and most visited beach in the northeast should have a concrete Boardwalk. Stop the concrete!Joel Friedman

Brooklyn

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To the editor,

Coney Island is a local and national treasure, and a huge part of the magic of this extraordinary place is the Boardwalk. Nothing says summer more wonderfully than sliding off your sandy flip flops and walking down the sun-warmed boards of the Boardwalk while eating that afternoon hot dog. Concrete just doesn’t do it — it’s hot, rough, miserable, too bright in the sun, and unwelcoming to walk on. Concrete doesn’t say beach, it says city. And going to the beach, especially an urban one like Coney Island, should be a respite from the city sidewalks rather than an extension of them. Boards are easy to replace if there is storm damage. In the winter, the space between boards allows natural drainage which is impossible in a concrete slab. Ipe and other sustainably harvested woods have been used with great success (for example in Atlantic City) and could be a great “green” marketing point for a revitalized Coney Island. Please don’t pave our waterfront! Keep the boards in the Boardwalk!Jo Walker

Brooklyn

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To the editor,

I am a long-time resident of the Coney Island area. Few pleasures in life can rival walking and jogging on the Coney Island Boardwalk. It’s great on the legs and aesthetically one of man’s great wonders.

During the past several years I have joined with other residents to preserve the Boardwalk. If the city can find the money to keep up Strawberry Fields for rich folks in Manhattan, it can find the money to preserve the Boardwalk for working folks in Brooklyn.

It’s encouraging to learn from your newspaper that two local councilmen have joined in the struggle to preserve the boardwalk.

Dr. Norman G. Finkelstein

Brooklyn

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To the editor,

Notwithstanding the already mentioned alternate materials that can be used as wood replacements instead of concrete, it would be an aesthetic disaster as well as a greater problem should another hurricane like Superstorm Sandy occur again. I have coincidently just returned from a week stay at Virginia Beach, and I can say from personal experience from having actually seen what the results would be of removing all the wood and replacing it with concrete, as they did there in Virginia. The beach is still beautiful as always, but the “boardwalk” is a barren cold experience. I had absolutely no desire to walk along it for any length of time. It was for all intents and purposes a side walk not a organic boardwalk. I hope they don’t go through with their plans to ruin our beautiful Coney Island Boardwalk and turn that into a sidewalk as well.Nelson Levine

Midwood

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To the editor,

Thank you for covering the story of the historic Coney Island Boardwalk and its fate). The last thing we city-dwellers need when we escape our own concrete jungles and head for the seashore is to see more of that unfriendly, unattractive material. Our sandal-clad feet, our bicycles, our wheelchairs, our dogs, have all appreciated this wonderful Boardwalk for many decades and don’t want to see it ruined by a holdover plan from the old mayoral administration.

Good for Robb Burstein for championing a real wooden boardwalk made from local, sustainable woods, and for Councilmembers Deutsch and Treyger for stepping forth on behalf of all of us. And good riddance to those misbegotten “improvements.”

J.K. Canepa

Sheepshead Bay

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To the editor,

It’s wonderful to hear that Councilman Chaim Deutsch and Councilman Mark Treyger have collaborated together to stop the plans to replace the wooden planks of the Coney Island Boardwalk with a strip of concrete. Also, we are seeing the connection between representatives from Brighton Beach and Coney Island working together to address the issues in their communities.

Let’s talk about creating a similar team-teaching approach to connecting our schools in Brighton Beach and Coney Island. These schools are in the same school district and have the same local government officials, but we do not have a sense of synergy or connectedness in our local schools.

We need to create a school district alliance that addresses the needs of the schools and their students, with administrators, teachers, parents, students, government officials, and business owners working together to plan, conduct, and evaluate the needs and wants of our schools. It’s all about engaging our communities in educating our students.

Scott Krivitsky

The writer is a teacher at PS 188 in Coney Island.

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