Two major pieces of Coney Island’s historical character could soon be lost to modern replacements: the “wobbly old cars” of the Cyclone roller coaster, and the boardwalk itself.
The local community board has tried to fight back, recently voting to reject a Parks Department proposal that would have replaced one-third of Coney Island’s iconically wooden boardwalk with concrete, the Brooklyn Paper reports. That plan came on the heels of a previously rejected proposal that called for the entire three-mile stretch to be replaced with concrete.
The boardwalk is still in desperate need of an overhaul; the community board recommended a concrete base topped with recycled plastic lumber—”faux wood.” The city is preparing a new proposal, though a spokesman tells the Paper they will insist on concrete, which is not only cheaper but sturdier, able to handle delivery truck and police car traffic. “Concrete is less expensive to use, can last decades rather than up to 10 years, and requires virtually no maintenance,” a spokeswoman for the Parks Department once said. “It is significantly more effective than the other choices.” And what do beachgoers look for in a boardwalk beyond efficiency?
The boardwalk isn’t the only part of Coney Island under threat; the cars on the Cyclone roller coaster could soon be replaced, the Post reported last week. The city has long been looking for a permanent operator to take over the landmarked coaster since the previous one, the Albert family that owned Astroland, closed up shop in Coney Island.
Buried in a Parks Department “Request for Proposals” to potential leaseholders is a stipulation saying the winner is “expected” to “supply” the ride with new coaster cars…
While the ride is a city landmark, its three, 24-seat trains aren’t protected, and that is sure to raise the hackles of adventure junkies who come from around the world to ride the backbreaking coaster just so they can say they survived…
Tommy Bayiokos, a 45-year-old Brooklyn drummer and regular Cyclone rider, said “part of the thrill is it’s a rough, turbulent ride, and, if the cars were replaced with modern ones, it’s just not the same.”
A historic rollercoaster stripped of a significant piece of its character, just steps away from a stone boardwalk, where there’s a new sports bar. That’s your new Coney Island!