Lonely Planet Writer

Coney Island's boardwalk may become an official scenic landmark

The Riegelmann Boardwalk in Coney Island is a truly iconic spot, beloved by tourists and locals alike throughout the years. And now, the popular attraction may very well be on its way to being recognised as an official scenic landmark, following a spirited campaign.

The first part of the famous boardwalk officially opened in 1923. Image by Alexander Spatari

20 March saw the first formal step taking place in the designation process for the boardwalk to become recognised as a scenic landmark, in a procedure known as calendaring. “The Landmarks Preservation Commission (has) voted in favour of calendaring the Coney Island (Riegelmann) Boardwalk in recognition of its cultural and historical significance. The Coney Island Boardwalk, which extends 2.7 miles along Coney Island and Brighton beaches, is considered one of the best-known waterfront pedestrian promenades in the world and a memorable destination for New Yorkers and visitors alike,” a representative of the Landmarks Preservation Commission told Lonely Planet Travel News. Once calendared, the LPC will hold a public hearing on the proposed designation, followed by a public meeting during which a vote will be held.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed designation, followed by a vote. Image by Julien Dhainaut / EyeEm

Named for Brooklyn Borough President Edward J. Riegelmann, who played a major role in its creation during his two terms in office, the boardwalk was originally part of an ambitious plan to rejuvenate the neighbourhood and beach. Inspired by the success of earlier boardwalks in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and other locations, public officials hoped a boardwalk would turn Coney Island into a year-round resort.

Planned and designed by engineer Philip P. Farley, the boardwalk is an elevated deck supported by reinforced concrete piles and girders. 80 feet-wide and 9500 feet-long, the first section, between Ocean Parkway and West 37th Street, opened in May 1923.