There was hopeful news from a Valentine's Day meeting of the Landmarks Preservation Commission regarding Coney Island's Riegelmann Boardwalk. In an apparent reversal of their past refusal to grant Scenic Landmark status for the iconic boardwalk, the agency is now offering to protect and honor the nearly century-old structure. The designation is a positive and welcome first step toward recognizing the historical and cultural significance of the Boardwalk, something that advocates have been hoping and fighting for.
The landmarking effort was spearheaded by Councilmen Mark Treyger and Chaim Deutsch, who began meeting with the LPC back in 2014. Councilman Treyger pointed out that landmark status will preserve the Boardwalk in perpetuity and require oversight, review, and public scrutiny when major changes are proposed by the NYC Department of Parks, which oversees the beach and Boardwalk.
The unusual public outreach meeting, hosted by Treyger and Deutsch and attended by LPC Commissioner Srinivasan and four staff members, was held at the YMCA in the West End of Coney Island. As we've noted before, landmark designation is advisory and has no regulatory input on requiring a wooden surface for the structure, as it is city owned. That will be a different battle. But it does change the legal status and regulatory oversight that will bring the issue into the public domain. Many thanks to Councilmen Treyger and Deutsch for their tireless efforts in protecting the Boardwalk. When landmarking is approved, the Boardwalk will join Ocean Parkway as Coney Island's only other Scenic Landmark. Now on to the public hearings at the City Planning Commission and a vote to make this a reality!
— Charles Denson