The Riegelmann Boardwalk, commonly known as the Coney Island Boardwalk, is a boardwalk located along the southern shore of the Coney Island peninsula in Brooklyn, New York City, adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean.
The boardwalk stretches for 2.7 miles from West 37th Street at the border of Coney Island and Sea Gate to Ocean Parkway in Brighton Beach. Many of its most famous amusement parks no longer exist, but the boardwalk still hosts the Coney Island Cyclone roller coaster and the Wonder Wheel Ferris wheel, as well as the New York Aquarium. The more recent MCU Park is home to the minor-league Brooklyn Cyclones baseball team. In 2016, a live performance venue, the Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island, opened on the boardwalk.
The Riegelmann Boardwalk has a steel and concrete foundation supporting wood planking for the walkway. Restroom facilities, benches, and water fountains are located along its length. The boardwalk was built using 1,700,000 cubic yards (1,300,000 m3) of sand, 120,000 short tons (110,000 long tons) of stone, 7,700 cubic yards (5,900 m3) reinforced concrete, and 3,600,000 feet (1,100,000 m) of timber flooring.
A boardwalk along the southern shore of Coney Island, between West 37th and West 5th Streets, had been proposed as early as 1901. However, the city did not formalize these plans until 1921. The first section of the Coney Island Boardwalk, comprising the eastern section between Ocean Parkway and West 5th Street, opened in October 1922. The boardwalk was extended westward to West 17th Street in December 1922, and the entirety of the boardwalk to West 37th Street was officially opened on May 15, 1923. The boardwalk had been named after Edward J. Riegelmann, the Brooklyn Borough President at the time of its opening.
In 1938, the responsibility of maintaining the Riegelmann Boardwalk was transferred to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, which subsequently renovated the boardwalk. Subsequently, New York City Parks Commissioner Robert Moses announced plans to expand the boardwalk eastward, to just west of Corbin Place in Brighton Beach, by incorporating another 18 acres (7.3 ha) within Brighton Beach. This 1,950-foot-long (590 m) expansion allowed NYC Parks to add capacity for 50,000 more beachgoers along the Coney Island Beach. As part of the renovations, a 2-foot (0.61 m) covering of sand was placed along the entirety of the beachfront.
The Coney Island Mermaid Parade has taken place along the Riegelmann Boardwalk since 1983. "The First Symphony of the Sea", a 322-foot (98 m) wall relief created by Japanese artist Toshio Sasaki, was installed along the boardwalk in 1993. It is located on the exterior of the New York Aquarium.
As of 2010, the city was renovating the boardwalk: some sections were receiving new wood planking over concrete supports, while others were being replaced entirely with concrete, which has a lower maintenance cost. After the renovation was announced, two local members of the City Council, Mark Treyger and Chaim Deutsch, suggested making the old boardwalk a New York City landmark. Initially, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission rejected the application for landmark status and the replacement project began in 2015. On May 15, 2018, the 95th anniversary of the boardwalk's opening, the Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the Riegelmann Boardwalk a city landmark. With that designation, the Riegelmann Boardwalk became the city's eleventh "scenic landmark".
- "New York City Department of Parks and Recreation". Retrieved June 19, 2015.
- "CONEY ISLAND BOARDWALK.; Much Opposition to the Bill for a Public Recreation Ground". The New York Times. February 27, 1901. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "PROPOSED MUNICIPAL RECREATION PIER AND CONVENTION HALL FOR THE CITY OF NEW YORK; Dock Commissiner Murray Hulbert Has Plan That Would Add More Than Half a Mile to the Coney Island Waterfront". The New York Times. October 23, 1921. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "First Section of Boardwalk At Coney Is Opened to Public". The New York Times. October 29, 1922. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "CONEY BOARDWALK OPENED TO THE PUBLIC; Fifty Thousand Persons Promenade Near Extension toSteeplechase Park". The New York Times. December 25, 1922. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- The American Experience, PBS
- "Propose Hylan and Craig As New Names for Streets". The New York Times. April 14, 1923. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "CITY PLANS TO ADD 18 ACRES-TOCONEY; Purchase of Brighton Beach Tract and Extension of Boardwalk Proposed by Moses LAND TO COST $75,0001 Included in Price Also Are 173 Acres Under Water Off Plum Island as 'Protection' Wanted as Protection". The New York Times. August 5, 1938. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- Sprague, Marshall (August 14, 1938). "PLAN TO IMPROVE 'THE ISLAND'; Scheme of Commissioner Moses Would Increase Waterfront by One-third, Making Room for 50,000 More Coney Bathers Higher Standards Sought Along the Boardwalk Mild Reform Begun Opinion Divided". The New York Times. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- Hevesi, Dennis (March 31, 2007). "Toshio Sasaki, 60, a Sculptor of Major Projects in New York, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- Handy, Ryan Maye (December 2, 2010). "Coney Island Boardwalk to be Concrete". Archived from the original on April 15, 2011. Retrieved May 29, 2011.
- Press release, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
- Blau, Reuven (December 7, 2014). "Push to landmark Coney Island's historic boardwalk". New York Daily News. Retrieved January 31, 2015.
- Hansen, Matt (April 27, 2015). "Concrete? Coney Island fans say only wood will do for their beloved boardwalk". Los Angeles Times.
- Durkin, Erin (May 15, 2018). "Coney Island Boardwalk dubbed official city landmark on 95th birthday". New York Daily News. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "NYC Designates Coney Island Boardwalk a Scenic Landmark". The New York Times. May 15, 2018. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- Media related to Riegelmann Boardwalk at Wikimedia Commons