So, how do you feel about the new fake boardwalks at Coney Island?

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40 Responses to CONEY FAKE

  1. Helen Chirivas says:

    I can see the “practicality” of plastic boardwalks – but I wonder how comfortable they will be in broiling summer weather. I would have preferred if they could have kept up the regular boardwalk.

  2. Stephen says:

    It;s nice no more splenters and will last 10x longer

  3. Anthony S. Picco says:

    how are they fake?

    • Joe fliel says:

      Definition of Boardwalk:
      A boardwalk is a wooden walkway for pedestrians and sometimes vehicles, often found along beaches, but they are also common as paths through wetlands, coastal dunes, and other sensitive environments. What is now emplaced in Coney Island is a collection of beams manufactured from recycled milk jugs and other items made from High Density Polyethylene plastic. This is how/why they are fake.

      So, what you have is, essentially, compressed trash. Considering how Coney Island has been obliterated and is being converted into a beachfront mall, it’s fitting that the city and developers resort to compliment the tasteless construction with garbage.

      • Irv Finkelstein says:

        Yeah it would have been much better to dump all those milk cartons into the ocean and cut down some more trees so everyone can enjoy their wooden boardwalk!

      • Irv Finkelstein says:

        And the rest of your definition of boardwalk that you forgot to get from wiki: “Many of the original boardwalks in the United States have developed to be so successful as commercial districts and tourist attractions that the simple wooden pathways have been replaced by esplanades made of concrete, brick or other construction, sometimes with a wooden facade on the surface and sometimes not. Indeed in many parts of the U.S. today the term boardwalk often carries more the connotation of a waterfront, pedestrian, entertainment district than the original meaning of a wooden path. One of the earliest such boardwalks was designed in New Jersey and opened June 26, 1870, in Atlantic City.”

        • chuck says:

          Speaking of esplanads are there any plans to restore the esplanad that used to bridge the distance between Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach? It was made of concrete until the ocean claimed it. Remanents of it were still there in the mid 1990’s when I last visited the island, I mean peninsula.

  4. j.b. diGriz says:

    We’ll see how it holds up over time, and how it conducts heat.

  5. JOEL NORMAN says:


  6. Dave D says:

    Part of the fun of walking barefoot on the boardwalk was the large splinters the poorly maintained wood gave you.

    Ahh, memories.


  7. AlC says:

    Wonder what it’s like under the “boardwalk”.

    Without the ventilation from above, suspect it gets pretty dank.

  8. Nick says:

    Those new ‘retro’ streetlights are a waste of taxpayer money.

  9. Dan says:

    Better than the wood for practical reasons. The new boards will last years longer than any wooden boardwalk.

  10. Joe fliel says:

    You wouldn’t post my comments if I posted how I actually feel. Therefore, “Just some more inauthentic CRAP which does nothing except further diminishes the atmosphere, and desecrates the memories, we have of old Coney Island” should suffice.

  11. FerryBoi says:

    Hard to tell by just one pic (haven’t been there in person yet) but it looks OK enough. Can understand the city’s wanting a longer lasting and cheaper alternative than wooden boards. Since about 95% of Coney looks absolutely nothing like it did in its early-20th century heyday, I don’t think current patrons will loose sleep over the switch from boards to concrete.

  12. Uruk says:

    As I said elsewhere, I’d love to see the city try to get away with doing this to the Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian walkway.

  13. sk says:

    What’s the point of historic looking streetlights if the wood is now plastic? And how are filmmakers supposed to reenact old-time Boardwalk scenes, when the wood is plastic?

    I don’t oppose the use of environmentally sustainable materials, but make the boards look like planks!

  14. Asher says:

    We have the same thing here in Jerusalem along the old rail line that’s been turned into a park. It looks pretty but doesn’t give one splinters, crack, or have bits missing.

  15. Darin says:

    I love this site and all it represents. I too like discovering the old hidden under the new. But sometimes some people take their love of the old too far.

    Just because someone wrote a definition of the word “boardwalk” and said they are made of wood doesn’t mean it must be made of wood to be “real”. What if someone had written a definition of the word “house” and wrote they were made of wood? Would homes made of steel, brick, or concrete fake?

    • Joe fliel says:

      Unfortunately, you won’t have many opportunities to “discover the old hidden under the new” because the “old” is not merely being covered over, it’s being obliterated. Unless a building or, in some instances, certain blocks of a neighborhood are landmarked, the odds are that development will result in the total eradication of everything possessing any historical significance. Documenting the existence of these artifacts, through photographs, is commendable; but, it’s nothing like being able to visit the location and examine it. Unlike cities in Europe, where modern development and the need for historical preservation have been satisfactorily accomodated, there is almost no sense of performing this balancing act in New York. There are precious few reminders of our city’s past which remain; and, that number is getting smaller every day. Trying to save what remains isn’t taking the love of old too far; it’s preserving the past so that future generations can enjoy and learn from it. Perhaps you’re happy looking at steel and glass structures that, in a majority of cases, impart a bleak, dystopian atmosphere to the surrounding area where they were force fitted into place; a lot of other people aren’t.

      Re your attempt at comparative definitions, it’s a case of apples and oranges. One can build a house with elephant turds or antlers; it’s still a house. A boardwalk constructed with anything other than wooden planks is not a boardwalk. It’s just a walkway.

  16. Jamie says:

    From my experience with installing these boards in similar venues (as stadium seating, etc) they cut like wood, don’t expand/shrink with exposure like wood and are easy to maintain but unfortunately BURN really well when they are set on fire.

    The new version SUPPOSEDLY has a fire retardent composition but time will tell.

    I installed these on a project in South Carolina replacing an existing Boardwalk in a Nature Preserve where the original 2×12 planking would last 6 years due to rot, insect damage, etc and they did OK until the local cretins decided to torch the Boardwalk using Gasoline as an accellerant. The local FD said they were not easy to put out and the clean up was nasty. We had to file DEP paperwork and have end user certificates on everything.

    I am sure Coney is different in that it is already polluted so burnrd Polyethelyene would not be considered an contaminant.

    Did the guys who own the new Amusement Park pay for this? If not they should have…They have run all the “old timers” out of Coney and made a bundle to boot!

  17. A New Yorker says:

    You probably shouldn’t give the impression it’s a done deal when it’s not. The hearing to decide is actually this coming Monday.

  18. Dave C. says:

    The plastic boards come from plastic, which comes from oil, which comes from (supposedly) dead dinosaurs, which ate leaves and grass, which came from the earth, just like the wood came from trees that came from the earth. So it’s all good.

  19. Tal Barzilai says:

    I don’t know why they had to replace it. The old one was hardly even in bad shape. If anyone got splinters when walking barefoot, they just weren’t being carefull where they walked on it. Seriously, how was there money for this when there was hardly any keep public schools, firehouses, and senior centers opens? It just shows how much Bloomberg likes to put his rich buddies and pet projects before what is really needed in terms of funding.

  20. Mitch says:

    My company does work with a client called AZEK. They making decking materials out of HDPE plastic which has a high content of recycled materials. Their decking “planks” look pretty darned good and, while they contain no wood, they will look good and hold up well for a long, long time. Not sure which brand the city chose but, in general, I’d say plastic decking is a lot better than splintered and rotted wood. It will save the city a lot of money over time. Putting recyclables into decking materials is a lot better than dumping in a land fill.

  21. Frank Raffa says:

    The current administration doesn’t give a rodents sphincter about anything but the bottom line. If it saves a buck, or makes a few million bucks, he’ll do it; public sentiment be damned.

  22. Ivan says:

    There are bigger things to worry about. While I wish there was some way to preserve the look of wood, something that is durable wins out. Plus it does not look bad, it just does not look like the original.

    Only went to Coney 3 times in 2011. It simply is not the same. I doubt I will even go in 2012.

  23. Keith says:

    As someone who has experienced these newer boardwalks I can say the have a very nice feel to them while wearing flip flops or sneakers. In bare feet the feel is definitely different, but the not having to reach for tweezers to remove a splinter is a plus. On said 90+ degree days with no shade in sight, it’s plain hot no matter what you’re walking on. Real wood, fake wood, concrete, sand – it’s just plain HOT.

    • Neil says:

      Reaching for tweezers to remove a splinter? Where do you find splinters THAT small?

      I wished I had a pair of Vise-Grips when I’d walk on the Riis Park boardwalk!

  24. I Da Ho says:

    If it doesn’t work out they can always change it back.
    It is probably easier to clean as well.

  25. Tommie says:

    These new boardwalks are already in place, in some sections, helping to preserve the 2nd longest boardwalk in America at 5.5 miles at Rock, Rock, Rockaway Beach! We walked on them last summer and they are perfectly fine.

  26. Mark says:

    Welcome to the Age of Plastic. If you are a Baby-Boomer or older, you remember most things being made of wood, metal, leather, cloth and glass. Plastic has replaced all of these.

    Chrome bumpers, door handles and dashboard fittings have given way to plastic. Glass bottles and jars have given way to plastic. Remember metal and wooden radios and TVs? All plastic. Coney Island isn’t the only place you will find plastic boardwalks. They’re replacing wooden planks with plastic in many places. Look at the yellow crap walkways that replaced wooden walkways on the elevated lines, not to mention the white plastic third rail covers. Remember aluminum window screen mesh. All plastic.

    Look around your home and office. All plastic; even the computer keyboard, mouse, monitor and printer we use. Nice looking laminate flooring replaced real wood. The big problem is it looks fake. Real wood has grains and knotting that is individual, not repetitive. Maybe plastic money will replace the paper money we use. Food for thought.

  27. Mike in FLA via BKLYN says:

    Very smart move. Used them on a dock here in Florida.
    Still looks good after 8 years. Saltwater proof.
    Once caught a splinter at Riis Park. Forget that!

  28. mmb says:

    Better than NYC continuing to be the world’s largest user of tropical hardwood outside of the tropics.

    Bottom line, if the material you’re walking on is ruining your experience, you’ve got bigger issues to think about. #firstworldproblems

  29. ya frankly, kevin i have to agree. it doesnt really bother me. i mean yes, it does take away some old fashioned coney island feel, but of everything they could remove, that’s the least of our issues. i will have to see how it feels in person in the summer months when my nabe and i haul our ashes down there. 🙂 i do wish they’d restore the old buildings, and revive some of the glory in other parts of coney island too.

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