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Coney Island Boardwalk declared “scenic landmark”

The 2017 Coney Island Mermaid Parade
The 2018 Coney Island Mermaid Parade (more by Amanda Hatfield)

On the 95th anniversary of its opening, Coney Island’s boardwalk has been designated a “scenic landmark.” As CBS New York reports, NYC’s Landmarks Preservation Commission unanimously voted in favor of the designation on Tuesday (5/15), which goes to the city council and mayor to be signed. It would guarantee that the boardwalk never be torn down, and be repaired in the event of storm damage. Parts of the 2.7 mile boardwalk’s original wood have already been replaced with concrete and plastic, a move spurred by a 2008 decision by then-mayor Michael Bloomberg that has been controversial. According to Brooklyn Eagle, this new designation doesn’t actually protect more of the iconic boardwalk from being replaced with other materials either. They write:

Tuesday morning’s designation by the Landmarks Preservation Commission does ensure that the Boardwalk continue as a structure, but it is a symbolic gesture because the agency doesn’t have the power to prevent the city from altering the walkway.

“Hopefully, this symbolic designation will make the Parks Department rethink its concrete and plastic policy when working on the Boardwalk,” Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, told the Brooklyn Eagle, calling the move a futile gesture.

The Public Design Commission retains authority over Boardwalk alterations — but has not stepped in on several occasions to prevent the Parks Department from using concrete and plastic, which the agency says are cheaper to maintain over time.

Coney Island is the site of some of our favorite annual events, like the Mermaid Parade (which features Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman as mermaid royalty this year), New Years Day Polar Bear Swim, and summer fireworks. John Maus recently took over the Wonder Wheel Amusement Park for a Red Bull Music Festival event, and Jawbreaker has an upcoming show at the Ford Amphitheather at Coney Island Boardwalk.

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