By Raanan Geberer
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Many Coney Island residents and business owners are complaining about sand drifting and piling up on the boardwalk.
Some say that the recent move to replace much of the boardwalk's wooden planks with cement is causing sand to accumulate on the boardwalk. The Parks Department and other official spokespersons say the two developments are unrelated.
Todd Dobrin, president of the advocacy group Friends of the Boardwalk, told the New York Post, “There’s no doubt the new surfaces are causing the sand to pile up like never before. With cement, there’s nowhere for the sand to fall through.”
However, Meghan Lalor, a spokeswoman for the Parks Department, said in an email, “Sand will accumulate on a boardwalk without regard to the decking or the foundation. Workers cleaning sand from the boardwalks are doing so as part of their regular duties.”
Chuck Reichenthal, district manager for Community Board 13, said that he believes that Superstorm Sandy was the cause of most of the sand pile-up. He praised the Parks Department for making a concentrated effort to put up fencing and clean up the sand in preparation for the summer.
Asked whether the sand has discouraged visitors from enjoying the boardwalk, Reichenthal said no. “Last weekend, we had 1,000 people out here.”
Dennis Vourderis, co-owner of Wonder Wheel Park, told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle that the section of the boardwalk outside of his amusement park is made of wood, not concrete, and that it is still inundated with sand. “It has nothing to do with the concrete.
“The whole beach has been pushed up closer to the boardwalk by Sandy,” he said. “The wind is blowing out from the south, and sand that had blown onto the streets of Coney Island is also coming onto the boardwalk. The sand is very fine [in texture],” and for this reason is hard to deal with, he said.
This reporter saw sand piling up on the boardwalk firsthand two weeks after the storm. Almost every section of the boardwalk had piles of sand on top of it or was coated with caked sand.
The sand on the beach itself had piled so high that it covered the stairways that normally lead from the boardwalk onto the beach, making the old song “Under the Boardwalk” an impossibility, at least temporarily.