Coney Island Council Member Mark Treyger and Brighton Council Member Chaim Deutsch have introduced a resolution to designate Coney Island's iconic Riegelmann Boardwalk a scenic landmark. The resolution calls on the City's Landmarks Preservation Commission to recognize the structure as one of the City's historic landmarks. Co-sponsors included 49 other council members and the City's Public Advocate, giving the resolution nearly unanimous support. In recent years the Boardwalk has been allowed to deteriorate and some of it has been replaced with a concrete surface turning the famed Boardwalk into an ugly sidewalk.
Treyger, with the help of Coney Island History Project Director Charles Denson, originally filed an application with the LPC to landmark the Boardwalk on December 2nd, 2014. Treyger, Denson, and neighboring Council Member Deutsch met with Landmarks Preservation Commission officials last year urging them to consider the historical context under which the Boardwalk was built.
"The Boardwalk is one of our community’s most precious assets," said Council Member Treyger. "For nearly a century, the Boardwalk’s 2.7 mile span has welcomed millions of people, locals and tourists alike. Whether it is parents pushing strollers, seniors socializing, joggers exercising, sightseers photographing, or even couples taking romantic walks along its classic wooden planks, the Boardwalk is and has been a cultural and social touchstone for all residents of Southern Brooklyn, as well as its global audience.
"This beloved local treasure deserves official status so that its defining structural and aesthetic characteristics are preserved and protected. The landmarking process in the city must take into account all the city’s neighborhoods. Landmarking across the city needs to be an equitable process, because Southern Brooklyn has a cultural and historic tradition, too. We have already lost notable historic structures in our community to development because of our city’s sluggish landmarking system. We must ensure that what remains of our area’s past stays intact."
The resolution was also supported by Borough President Eric L. Adams, Assembly Member Pamela Harris, Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, Senator Diane Savino, and Congressman Hakeem Jeffries who added: "The Riegelmann Boardwalk is an indelible part of New York City’s history and of the Coney Island community. Those classic wooden planks have witnessed New York legends ranging from Fiorello La Guardia and John Lindsay to David Dinkins – as well as millions from around the world who came to visit the greatest city in the world. Replacing them now would be akin to knocking down the Empire State or Chrysler Building. We cannot allow this treasured part of New York to be wiped away. Council Member Treyger and all involved should be commended for their leadership in this effort."
There are two other scenic landmarks in Brooklyn: Ocean Parkway and Eastern Parkway. The Riegelmann Boardwalk meets the same criteria for landmark status as these parkways and the time has come to recognize and protect the Boardwalk and its legacy before it is too late.