Coney Island boardwalk may join other NYC icons with landmark status

The Riegelmann Boardwalk first opened on May 15, 1923.

Coney Island’s iconic boardwalk is one step closer to joining the ranks of the Empire State Building, the Ed Koch Bridge and other city landmarks.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission voted Tuesday to calendar the proposal to designate the 2.7 miles of Riegelmann Boardwalk that stretches along the shores Coney Island and Brighton Beach. If approved, the beach pathway will become the first such structure to have landmark designation protection in the city.

Urban planners were inspired by similar boardwalks in Atlantic City and other beach resorts and wanted to replicate the feel in Brooklyn. The first section of the boardwalk, located between Ocean Parkway and West 37th Street, opened on May 15, 1923, which Mayor John F. Hylan called the “happiest day of his life,” according to the LPC.

An additional 4,000 feet were added east to Coney Island Avenue two years later, and in 1941 the boardwalk was extended by 1,500-feet to Corbin Place, to become the second largest boardwalk in the world. The road helped to usher in Coney Island’s famous businesses and attractions such as the Cyclone roller coaster.

The landmarking proposal was first made in 2014 by City Councilman Mark Treyger, who was concerned about the changes the city wanted to make on the boardwalk to make it more resilient to climate change, such as replacing some of the wood with concrete.

The LPC didn’t calendar the initial application and the city went ahead with the modifications to a few sections of the boardwalk.

Moving forward, the LPC will now create a report and hold public hearings to determine the boardwalk’s historical and cultural significance. The agency hasn’t set a date for those events, but a spokesperson said that they expect to complete the process by this summer.

The LPC will then vote on the proposal and if approved, it will go before the City Council for a final approval.

Ivan Pereira