I can't bear the thought…
They want to remove our Boardwalk! :( The famous Coney Island boardwalk that has existed since 1923 and added to the whole beach-front-amusement-park atmosphere, may be on its way out. I remember the days before they put down the fake planks and sank it to beach level. We were always racing across it, since the heat was a scorcher! We washed our sandy feet with our castle shaped sand buckets from the fountains and tried to peek down between the planks to see what was going on. Taking my then little siblings and putting up a towel while helping them get dressed under the boardwalk. Not to mention the splinters from the original rotted wood. :D Ahh the good old days.
It is still a great walk-way. The decision gives valid reasons for the change, but it saddens the hearts of New Yorkers everywhere. The Boardwalk should be deemed a landmark before it's too late.
Blurb from 'Amusement Park Culture':
The famous boardwalk opened with great fanfare on May 15, 1923, and was realigned and rebuilt as part of overall improvements by the Parks Department between 1938 and 1941. The pier at West 17th Street, first built by George Tilyou in 1904 as part of Steeplechase Park, was acquired by New York City in 1921, and Parks assumed jurisdiction, along with the beach, in 1938. The agency moved to shut down many of the honky-tonk establishments which operated along the boardwalk, and even underneath. As part of this effort, in-house Parks designers created new standardized, streamlined refreshment stands.
For the last few years, Coney Island Amusement Park was under threat of being completely torn down and rebuilt. Well, a lot of new attractions have been added and it's brighter than I ever remember! The only complaint I have…ironically of course…is that the boardwalk gets very dirty after a time. Especially on the weekends. But what's Coney Island without the mess? As of this summer it's actually become even more 'family friendly.' Though you'll still find your usual drunks and troublemakers and such roaming the boardwalk at night. Sigh, nothing in this world is untainted..nothing.
The new developers still left us with some dignity and didn't remove our famous Wonder Wheel and Cyclone. Those two rides have been designated Historical landmarks. I do miss seeing the spooky, vine-covered abandoned Thunder bolt ride. Around since 1925, it was finally discontinued in 1982 after a fire. (Hey, maybe Jeffrey Jones got to ride it!) It was demolished in 2000 before proposals were able to get approved to make it a landmark. :(
For now, though somewhat altered, Coney Island still stands. However, I'm COMPLETELY miffed the removed the old Antique shooting gallery. I used to love to 'hit' the target on the Piano player and watch the dummy plunk down and bang the keys in Slow-motion. Or the spinning beer can and the giant bear that rose up and growled. I can still hear all the crazy noises in my mind whenever anyone hit those funky targets. They used real .22 rifles too and you got a bunch of shots for fifty cents.
The Coney Island New Yorkers and Brooklynites grew up in and loved is slowly fading away…but it's forever resilient, withstanding centuries of changes.