A Red Hook furniture salvaged 200 feet of Coney Island’s Boardwalk — and turned it into expensive coffee tables.
City-hired contractors demolished sections of the Riegelmann Boardwalk in Brighton Beach and Sea Gate earlier this year, then charged Uhuru Design $800 for the tropical hardwood planks, which were later turned into furniture pieces that sell for $2,400 to $7,200.
“Hundreds of thousands of people have walked on the Boardwalk,” said Uhuru designer Bill Hilgendorf. “It’s iconic, and to be able to preserve that is valuable.”
Each piece of furniture is inspired by Coney history, including a lounge chair curved like the Cyclone, a coffee table in a circular shape reminiscent of the Wonder Wheel and a small end table structured like the Parachute Jump.
The city doesn’t make any money from the sale of the furniture or the wood planks, but a Parks Department spokesman justified the giveaway of such a valuable piece of New York history because contractors hired by the city to remove the wood tend to “submit lower bids” because they know they can profitably resell the salvaged material.
Coney boosters cheered the furniture company for keeping a piece of history, albeit in a completely different form, alive.
“This wood is not only part of the historic Boardwalk, but it’s really good, straight-grain hardwood that should be repurposed,” said Charlie Denson, executive director of the Coney Island History Project. “It’s important that anything that can be recycled should be recycled.”