Does Wood a Sturdier Boardwalk Make?

Rob Burstein protesting the replacement of the Coney Island boardwalk planks with concrete. (Photo by Elizabeth Graham via Brooklyn Daily)

Rob Burstein protesting the replacement of the Coney Island boardwalk planks with concrete. (Photo by Elizabeth Graham via The Brooklyn Paper)

While the boardwalk at Coney Island is slowly being replaced by boards made of synthetic materials and concrete, some old wooden planks were shipped off to Italy, where they were repurposed for an indoor boardwalk in the U.S.A. Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo in Italy. And, reports Max Jaeger of The Brooklyn Paper, some Brooklyn residents are none too happy about what’s been happening, arguing that wooden planks not only have more character, but are more resistant to damage than their replacements.

“What a travesty — shipping our Boardwalk’s wood off to another country to be re-purposed and enjoyed there, while we have plastic and concrete shoved down our throats,” wrote Coney–Brighton Boardwalk Alliance president Rob Burstein in a letter to [The Brooklyn Paper] when he heard of the Italian job.

The city’s Parks Department, which is responsible for the boardwalk, argues that concrete is more resilient, will better support emergency vehicles, and prevent deforestation.

But reports dating back to the Storm of the Century indicate that wooden portions of the Boardwalk actually fared better than its concrete counterpart, prompting local politicians to demand the city end it plans to go synthetic.

Go to The Brooklyn Paper to read about Burstein’s response to the arguments about emergency vehicles and deforestation, and to find out where else boardwalk planks have ended up. News of the repurposing of the boardwalk in Milan was first reported by the website Amusing the Zillion, The Brooklyn Paper says.

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