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Save the Boardwalk Rally

Sign at rally to save boardwalk from becoming concrete: This is SUPPOSED to be the DE BLASIO ADMINISTRATION not BLOOMBERG. January 18, 2015. Photo © Tricia Vita

Despite icy conditions that made travel hazardous and a steady rain, about 100 people came out to Brighton Beach on Sunday for a rally to save the 92-year-old Boardwalk from becoming a concrete roadway flanked by a plasticwalk. There were many familiar faces in the crowd. Some of us had attended the charade of a public hearing where the pilot project was controversially approved by six Bloomberg appointees in 2012.

But the most remarkable thing about yesterday’s rally is that it was the first time elected officials stood with the community saying “Boardwalk Not Sidewalk!” City Councilman Mark Treyger, who has represented Coney Island for one year and whose leadership has brought about this political support, gave a fiery speech that ended with “Are you with me? The fight rages on!”

The politicians joining the rally included Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, NYC Controller Scott Stringer, NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, and Councilman Mark Levine, who is Chair of the Council’s Parks Committee, among others. During the Bloomberg administration, when this concrete boondoggle was born, elected officials automatically fell in line with Bloomberg’s policies. The local Community Board 13 voted against this proposal 21 to 7, but their vote was ignored because it’s “advisory.” Now we have a newly elected crop of officials questioning Mayor de Blasio and Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver for not listening to the community and going ahead with Bloomberg’s calamitous plan for the Boardwalk.

When Public Advocate Letitia James said “We are urging the de Blasio administration to do what they promised and listen,” cheers went up from the crowd. “We are not going to stand by while the city rips out a piece of our history. I stand with Coney Island and Brighton Beach in this fight. The Boardwalk is worth fighting for.”

Together with Councilman Chaim Deutsch, who represents Brighton Beach, Treyger has been trying all last year to get the Mayor and the Parks Department to meet and discuss safety issues. As community activist Ida Sanoff said at the rally: “We saw a tremendous difference in storm surge impact where there were concrete sections as opposed to wooden sections. This so-called concrete plan is going forward without any environmental studies, without any engineering studies, without any thought to the safety of this community and the damage we suffered during Sandy.”

Frustrated residents held up signs that said “This is SUPPOSED to be the DE BLASIO ADMINISTRATION not BLOOMBERG,” “This is NOT Planning, Commissioner Silver,” and “Mayor de Blasio & Commissioner Silver, We LIVE HERE.” Unfortunately the de Blasio administration has not changed the pro-concrete position announced last June by Daniel Zarrilli, who heads the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency and is a holdover from the Bloomberg administration.

“The song is ‘Under the Boardwalk,’ it is not ‘Under the Concrete,'” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who gave an empowering speech about government for the people. “I’m so proud of this community that you understand government has to adhere to your wishes,” said Adams. “They thought they could ignore you. They thought you would allow your community to go through a transformation without raising your voices. Well, they were wrong.”

“We want to work with everyone to make sure the Landmarks Preservation Commission does the right thing,” said NYC Controller Scott Stringer, who promised to issue the economic data and “work side by side to make intelligent responses to the questions that come up.”

The State Assemblymen for the area, Steven Cymbrowitz and Alec Brook-Krasny were absent from the rally. It is $10 million in state money they provided which is funding the concrete section of boardwalk currently underway in Brighton Beach. One protest sign said “Steven Cymbrowitz you should be ashamed of yourself.”

State Assemblyman Bill Colton, who represents Gravesend and Bensonhurst, and Adele Cohen, who represented the neighborhood in the Assembly from 1996-2006, were in attendance and gave rousing speeches. “It’s about money,” said Cohen, who recalled that even during her tenure the Parks Department had no budget for repairs because they depended on discretionary funds. The solution: “No money, no concrete. Take the money out of the budget.”

Update: Missed rally to save the Boardwalk? See @Capt_Nemo’s two-part video of the speeches in their entirety:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HWi7vk4Ch4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5b5vIe_sTKQ

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Related posts on ATZ…

December 20, 2014: Save the Boardwalk for Future Gens! Sign Brooklyn Pols Petition to Make it ‘Scenic Landmark’

March 22, 2012: The Coney Island-Brighton Beach Concretewalk Blues

March 9, 2012: The 10 People Who Will Decide the Fate of Coney Island Boardwalk

December 27, 2010: Photo of the Day: First Snow on Coney Island Boardwalk

Eric Adams Mark Treyger

Borough President Eric Adams and Councilman Mark Treyger and officials at Dec 18 Announcement for New Year’s Eve Celebration in Coney Island. Photo via Coney Island Facebook

Today’s 1pm rally moved to Boardwalk pavilion at Brighton 4th St, few blocks west of Coney Island Ave, if still raining. Please spread the word!

Borough President Eric Adams, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James and possibly Senator Chuck Schumer are scheduled to join the January 18th community rally to save the historic Riegelmann Boardwalk. Councilman Mark Treyger and Councilman Chaim Deutsch, whose districts include the Coney Island-Brighton Beach Boardwalk, organized the rally, which is at 1pm on the Boardwalk at Coney Island Avenue in Brighton. Take the Q train to the Brighton Beach stop and then walk one block to the Boardwalk.

“I share their views on the Boardwalk,” Borough President Eric Adams said in a sitdown with the Brooklyn Daily last week. “We do need to protect Coney Island and what makes it so special — its history and traditions — and I think a wooden Boardwalk is a part of that.”

We hope YOU will join the rally, too. It’s not an exaggeration to say this may be our last chance to save the Boardwalk. Last month, New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission used a form letter from 2012 and incorrect info to reject the Council Members’ petition, according to “Coney’s Boardwalk Should Be a Landmark,” an essay by historian Charles Denson of the Coney Island History Project. Meanwhile, the City’s Parks Department and its commissioner Mitchell Silver are going ahead with a project to make a concrete roadway for so-called “emergency vehicles” (garbage trucks, Parks Dept vans etc.) on the Boardwalk in Brighton Beach, a pilot project approved in 2012 by six appointees of Mayor Bloomberg.

Boardwalk Not Sidewalk

Boardwalk Not Sidewalk/No Concrete. Sign on Building Facing Boardwalk East of Ocean Parkway in Brighton Beach. Photo © Bruce Handy

The Borough President co-sponsored Coney Island’s first New Year’s Eve celebration including an LED light show and fireworks at the Parachute Jump, fulfilling a promise he made during the campaign. “The Riegelmann Boardwalk is imprinted with over 90 years of history, helping to establish Coney Island as America’s playground,” Adams said in December, in support of CM Treyger and Deutsch’s petition to make the boardwalk a Scenic Landmark.

“Millions of visitors have made the pilgrimage to southern Brooklyn, and we want to see millions more enjoy its unique, iconic character in the decades to come,” said the Borough President. “I support a scenic landmark designation for the Riegelmann Boardwalk because I believe it is in the best interest of Brooklyn’s cultural and economic well-being. I look forward to working with my elected colleagues and local stakeholders to advance this proposal.”

Boardwalk renovation 1934

The Boardwalk opened in 1923 and was already undergoing renovation in 1934: Group of men ripping up old planking on Coney Island boardwalk near Half Moon Hotel. Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection

Mayor Bill de Blasio has not only continued the Bloomberg-approved Concretewalk but failed to listen to local council members and the community. All year, letters and requests for an environmental study and a meeting to discuss the Coney Island-Brighton Beach Boardwalk with Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver were rebuffed. A stakeholders’ meeting was belatedly arranged on the day before New Year’s Eve, according to a report by the NY Daily News titled “City won’t budge on plan to change Coney Island Boardwalk’s wooden planks to used plastic and concrete.”

“The fate of the Boardwalk is in your hands,” Coney-Brighton Boardwalk Alliance president Rob Burstein wrote today in a letter calling for a huge turnout. “It’s not an exaggeration to say that this is our make or break moment! Please contribute to our common effort in the one way that you can make a difference- Show up and stand with us! I know that you believe that the Boardwalk is worth saving – for ourselves and for future generations – and should not be destroyed by uncaring bureaucrats. You must show up and say so!”

save the boardwalk

Related posts on ATZ…

December 20, 2014: Save the Boardwalk for Future Gens! Sign Brooklyn Pols Petition to Make it ‘Scenic Landmark’

March 22, 2012: The Coney Island-Brighton Beach Concretewalk Blues

March 9, 2012: The 10 People Who Will Decide the Fate of Coney Island Boardwalk

December 27, 2010: Photo of the Day: First Snow on Coney Island Boardwalk

Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition

Rescued in Coney Island, Vivien is up for adoption at Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition

Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition has two adorable kittens rescued in Coney Island up for adoption. Now about 14 weeks old, the cats have been living in a foster home in Greenwich Village. Contact Brooklynbridgeanimals@yahoo.com to schedule a play date. Here are their résumés:

Vivien, aka Funny Face, has enough personality and energy for a dozen kittens. A typical calico, she is bright, very curious and has lots of attitude. She wants to be in the middle of any activity; plays and wrestles as if her life was depending on it, loves to groom her kitten friends and adores older cats. She purrs loudly when petted, although she’s not sure about being picked up (that will come when she’s in a real home).

Georgie was rescued with her sister Vivien in Coney Island. She has a gentle calm personality, especially compared to her manic calico sibling, and enjoys kitten activities like chasing, wrestling and eating. A favorite game is bathtub hockey with a coil spring toy. She has a reserved but confident personality and will probably grow up to be a quiet dignified (and gorgeous) cat.

Vivien and Georgie are FIV/FeLV negative, vaccinated appropriate to their age, and microchipped. The kittens must be adopted to a home with another cat or friendly dog. Please see this link for information about BBAWC’s adoption process: http://www.bbawc.org/adoptions/adoption-faq/.

Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition

Rescued in Coney Island, Georgie is up for adoption at Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition

Related Posts on ATZ…

December 3, 2014: Photo of the Day: On the Bowery with Pretty the Coney Island Cat

May 22, 2014: Video of the Day: Parrots Visit Coney Island

June 17, 2013: Photo of the Day: Paquito the Chihuahua in Coney Island

May 8, 2013: Traveler: The Cats of Rimini’s Italia in Miniatura Park

Coney Island Boardwalk Under Reconstruction. April 23, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita

Today’s 1pm rally moved to Boardwalk pavilion at Brighton 4th St, few blocks west of Coney Island Ave, if still raining. Please spread the word!

After Bill de Blasio’s campaign rhetoric as the choice for voters who wanted to reject Bloomberg’s policies, we’re disappointed with the Mayor for not only continuing the Bloomberg-approved Concretewalk but failing to listen to local council members and the community. All year, letters and requests for an environmental study and a meeting to discuss the Coney Island-Brighton Beach Boardwalk with Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver were rebuffed. Finally a charade of a stakeholders’ meeting was hastily arranged on the day before New Year’s Eve.

On Monday evening, Councilman Mark Treyger, who represents Coney Island, and Councilman Chaim Deutsch, who represents Brighton Beach, put out a call for a rally and press conference on Sunday, January 18th.

Rally to Save Our Boardwalk!

COMMUNITY ALERT

Join Council Member Mark Treyger and Council Member Chaim Deutsch in the fight to preserve and protect the historic Brighton Beach and Coney Island Boardwalk.

YOUR help is needed to halt the plans to turn the Boardwalk into a concrete sidewalk with a center roadway for trucks.

PRESS CONFERENCE
WHEN: Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 1 PM
WHERE: On the Boardwalk at Coney Island Avenue

This project will destroy the character of our neighborhood, create dangerous conditions for children, seniors, joggers and everyone else who enjoys the Boardwalk.

The Boardwalk has been badly neglected and allowed to deteriorate. Yet the Parks Department refuses to repair it. Turning it into a concrete sidewalk with a center roadway is not the solution!

We have evidence that concrete will increase storm surge damage to our homes and businesses, yet the City and the Parks Department refuse to consider our safety. They just began ripping up a large section in Brighton Beach. This is only the beginning!

The Parks Department is refusing to listen to what the community wants.

OUR LIVES MATTER!

OUR NEIGHBORHOOD MATTERS!

Come to the rally and preserve the Boardwalk!

For more information, contact:
Council Member Mark Treyger 718-373-9673

save the boardwalk

Related posts on ATZ…

December 20, 2014: Save the Boardwalk for Future Gens! Sign Brooklyn Pols Petition to Make it ‘Scenic Landmark’

March 22, 2012: The Coney Island-Brighton Beach Concretewalk Blues

March 9, 2012: The 10 People Who Will Decide the Fate of Coney Island Boardwalk

December 27, 2010: Photo of the Day: First Snow on Coney Island Boardwalk

Punch A Bag Arcade Game

Early 20th century carnival midway arcade punch-a-bag game at Urban Country

How strong is your punch? Coney Island Arcade‘s Boxer, a popular punching bag arcade game, can be found throughout Coney Island during the season. The mechanical punching bag, in which players compete for the highest score, dates back to a strength tester introduced at penny arcades more than a century ago. Antique dealer Urban Country is offering this antique Punch-A-Bag arcade game manufactured in the early 1900s by the International Mutoscope Reel Company Inc. of Long Island City.

punch-a-bag game

Detail of early 20th century carnival midway arcade punch-a-bag game at Urban Country

Originally formed to produce Mutoscope machines, which contained “peep show” movies with a viewing time of about a minute, the company went on to produce a variety of coin-op amusement devices.

According to the International Arcade Museum, other machines made by International Mutoscope Corp. during the time period Punch-A-Bag was produced include Uncle Sam, Grandmother’s Predictions, Mystic Mirror fortuneteller, Mutoscope Puncher, and Voice-O-Graph aka Record Your Voice.

punch-a-bag arcade game

Detail of early 20th century carnival midway arcade punch-a-bag game at Urban Country

While the cast iron and wood machine with original paint pictured in these photos is said by Urban Country to be “on hold,” similar models are being offered here and here and here on eBay for $4,800-$5,900 or best offer. All appear to be in need of restoration before you can drop a nickel in the slot and play the game.

arcade punch-a-bag game

Early 20th century carnival midway arcade punch-a-bag game at Urban Country

Related posts on ATZ…

March 28, 2014: Up for Auction: Bimbo Baby Automaton Arcade Machine

January 28, 2013: Rare & Vintage: 1906 “La Boule Mysterieuse” Circus Toy

January 5, 2013: Saturday Matinee: A Peep Show on the Mutoscope Machine

April 13, 2011: Coney Island Arcade Debuts Cobra, Braves Loss of Arcade

First Snow Coney Island

First Snow at Coney Island. January 6, 2015. Photo © Bruce Handy

A snowy night in Coney Island illuminated by the Parachute Jump is as much of a photo op as the beach and boardwalk on a summer’s day. Coney possesses a quiet beauty on a snowy day or night. This week’s first snowfall of the winter was photographed from the shore by Coney Island resident and Polar Bear Club member Bruce Handy. In past years, ATZ has posted Bruce’s first snow of the season photos in late January, December and in October 2011 during the rare weather event known as Snowtober.

Related posts on ATZ...

April 20, 2013: Photo of the Day: Moon Viewing in Coney Island by Bruce Handy

December 27, 2010: Photo of the Day: First Snow on Coney Island Boardwalk

February 26, 2010: Photo of the Day: Snow Mermaid on Coney Island Beach

December 20, 2009: Coney Island Photo of the Day: First Snow on the Cyclone

Photo © Barry Yanowitz

Coney Island New Years Day Polar Bear Dip, January 1, 2015. Photo © Barry Yanowitz

On January 1st in Coney Island, people came from near and far to welcome the New Year by joining the Polar Bears’ annual dip in the icy Atlantic. “I believe we had approximately 2,500 swimmers participate, very similar to last year,” Dennis Thomas, president of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club told ATZ.

The winter bathing, which celebrates its 112th anniversary this year, raised a record amount–more than $70,000– for Camp Sunshine, where children with life-threatening illnesses can enjoy a summer vacation. Thomas said he expects the amount to rise a bit more in the coming days. You can make a contribution here through June 30.

Photo © Barry Yanowitz

Coney Island New Years Day Polar Bear Dip, January 1, 2015. Photo © Barry Yanowitz

For Barry Yanowitz, who grew up in Coney Island, taking photos of the Polar Bear Dip is an annual ritual. “It does take a certain amount of crazy to go swimming in NYC in January. But it’s a crazy that I admire!” said the photographer, who waded into the surf with water-proof boots and got a bit soaked taking the above photos. Afterwards, on the beach and the boardwalk, revelers in zany headgear, costumes and accessories reminiscent of the Mermaid Parade happily posed for portraits. You can view Barry’s complete set here.

Brian Dillon sports his perennially popular Coney Island-themed hat

Brian Dillon sports his Coney Island-themed hat. Photo © Barry Yanowitz

For a Coney Island Polar Bear’s eye view of the New Year’s Day Dip, check out this video by club member Jim McDonnell. The Bears, who swim from November through April, went for an early morning swim on New Year’s Day prior to the public festivities.

If you missed the New Year’s Day Dip or want to give it another go, you can join the Polar Bears as a guest for one of their Sunday swims. Here’s how.

Related posts on ATZ…

December 10, 2014: ATZ’s 12 Days of Coney Island Christmas Gift Guide

January 2, 2014: Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge’s Best Dressed of 2014

November 28, 2013: Photo Album: Parachute Jump Lights Way to Year-Round Coney Island

January 3, 2012: Record 3,000 “Do It” at Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge

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