2012-11-30 / Top Stories

Nearly Half Of Boardwalk Destroyed

It is no longer possible to go “Under the Boardwalk” as the iconic song says, because that boardwalk no longer exists in many places along the Rockaway beachfront.

Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski took a recent tour of the boardwalk with Daily News reporter Irving DeJohn and the two found that nearly a third of the 91-block long boardwalk is gone and another 20 blocks are severely damaged.

“A symbol of the destruction [in Rockaway] has been the boardwalk,” Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder told DeJohn. “When you really want to show how badly we got hit, show them the piles of boardwalk.”

The stretch along Shore Front Parkway, between Beach 108 Street and Beach 88 Street is perhaps the worst. The great majority of the wood that once made up the boardwalk wound up in piles along the parkway.

What stands now looks like Stonehenge, with concrete stanchions standing along the shores.

In other places, particularly where jetties stand in the water, the boardwalk looks almost pristine. On the extreme east end of the peninsula, where the boardwalk is made of concrete, it survived in total.

Lewandowski said that the city agency has hired an expert to survey the damage and prepare a report.

“It’s sheer devastation,” Lewandowski said. “We had made such great strides in Rockaway over the past years. We really have to think strategically about how we rebuild.”

There are some who are already urging the use of concrete or a wood-concrete mix to rebuild the boardwalk. Others argue that history demands a new wooden structure.

Whoever wins, however, it is clear that the boardwalk will not be ready for the coming summer season and that the new restaurants that became boardwalk icons last summer will have to find a new business model for the summer.

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