Wooden Boardwalks Are Probably Never Coming Back to the Rockaways

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  • Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

It’s been sort of inevitable for a while now—why bring back a structure we now know can be wiped out in a storm, even if people loved it—but with an upcoming vote on what will happen to decimated beach walkways, things are starting to feel a little more permanent.

And of course, even the pavement “islands” that’ve gone in at a few major hubs along the beach post-Sandy are better than nothing, however shitty and uncomfortable they feel underneath your feet. Maybe they’re even for the best, given that community advocates have been opposing even small uses of wood in re-building. “If they are going with concrete, then they need to use 100 percent concrete including the steps,” said Friends of Rockaway Beach founder John Cori, who also advocates for the new boardwalk being built on top of a seawall. “Don’t put wood where it’s exposed to the ocean.”

For now, the city is still accepting proposals for the re-build (any plans need to be submitted by Wednesday), and is also looking for suggestions on potential dunes and other “protective structures.” Plans will be presented to the local Community Board in September, and local Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder told the Daily News, “We’ve seen little community involvement with all these decisions. I just hope whatever design is chosen they will make sure to include local residents in the final decision.” In the meantime, anyone sentimental for the old wooden boardwalks can still pick up a few splinters (or trip over an out of place plank) down at Coney Island.

Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.