The boardwalk in the Rockaways was pounded by Hurricane Sandy and mostly destroyed. Now, city officials are debating the best way to make sure a new boardwalk stays intact in another storm. To locals, it's a worthy goal, although there are concerns about how long it will take to get the beloved boulevard back. Josh Robin filed the following report.
The cold winter weather may not have New Yorkers thinking of hitting Rockaway Beach, but there are people thinking about the boardwalk, like how to fix it and keep it intact, long after it buckled under Hurricane Sandy.
"The city is working very hard to move forward to have a boardwalk reconstructed out in the Rockaways,” said Dorothy Lewandowski of the Parks Department.
Reconstructed in a slightly different way.
Meeting reporters Wednesday, officials say they will have to remove just about all of the boardwalk, concrete base and all.
This even in areas that survived the storm. The small sections reconstructed since the 2012 storm will stay.
While some may think it overkill, tests found potentially corrosive levels of salt inside concrete beams. It may not cause problems now, but decades from now.
"It would be bad practice to build a new, several hundred million dollar boardwalk, knowing that it's only going to last for twenty to forty years,” said Gregory Clancy of the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
So instead of four concrete posts, expect two epoxy-coated steel beams.
City officials have said that the Rockaway Boardwalk may not be ready until the winter of 2017. That was less than a month ago. Now they won't say anything about a timeline.
A question to the Queens parks commissioner was answered by a parks department press officer off camera.
“I don't we're talking about timeframe right now,” said the Parks spokesman.
When pressed on talking about a timeframe because Parks has talked about a timeframe in the past, the spokesman said, “In very general terms, I don't think we really have anything to add really, Josh. I'm sorry about that.”
“I would like to know exactly how long it will take, sure. And the estimates were distressing, we heard initially four years, and that's a long time for a boardwalk,” said Kevin Boyle of The Wave newspaper.
What officials can say is they're trying to start very soon.
Parts of the boardwalk will remain open as they work and the beach won't close for when you finally want to take a dip.