In time for its 95th anniversary, the Coney Island Boardwalk has become a New York City landmark! On May 15, 2018, the Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the wooden walkway a scenic landmark (read the designation report here). It joins others around the city like Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn and Morningside Park in Manhattan. The Boardwalk–officially called the Riegelmann Boardwalk after Edward J. Riegelmann (1869–1941), the Brooklyn Borough President who championed its construction–skirts the Coney Island shore from West 37th Street, at the border of Sea Gate, to Brighton 15th Street in Brighton Beach. At 2.7 miles it is the world’s second-longest boardwalk after Atlantic City’s. The Coney Island Boardwalk was built in three phases between 1921 and 1941; its first section, from Ocean Parkway to West 37th Street, opened on May 15, 1923. Before the Boardwalk opened the sands to everyone, access was controlled by the many private concessions (bathhouses, bathing pavilions, hotels, and amusements) that owned beachfront property. Now, as the lyrics to the 1924 song at left advise, “If you’re ever in doubt / Where to go when you’re out / Take a walk! Take a walk! Down on the Coney Boardwalk!” Here are some great mid-20th century postcards showing New Yorkers doing just that: strolling–and rolling!–down the Boardwalk.
This post is by Joseph Ditta, Reference Archivist.