Rockaway Beach’s destroyed boardwalk will be rebuilt, according to Mayor Bloomberg and Parks Department officials, but the new structure may not be made of wood.
Bloomberg said last week he would consider rebuilding the 5.5-mile-long boardwalk out of concrete.
“‘There will be no more wooden boardwalks in Rockaway or anywhere else,” Mayor Bloomberg told the editorial board of the Rockaway newspaper The Wave last week.
Most of the boardwalk, which was completed in the 1930s, was wiped out by Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge. From Beach 80th Street to Beach 126th Street, the structure was washed away, leaving behind only the support piers sticking out of the sand. Sections of the wooden boardwalk, which weredamaged last year in Irene, broke apart, but pieces with the lampposts and benches still bolted in washed up side streets almost as far as Beach Channel Drive.
But the small concrete sections of the boardwalk, especially around Beach 94th Street survived, Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski pointed out at the November meeting of the Queens Borough Board.
Some residents are concerned that, without the boardwalk, there is little to protect the neighborhood from the sea during nor’easters that could strike this winter and spring. Due to erosion on the beach, the tide now laps at the foot of the boardwalk’s pillars at high tide.
Meanwhile some residents are asking for bigger rock jetties to be built along the beach. There are already large rock jetties along a portion of the beach ending at about Beach 90th Street, but nothing west of that, where only smaller, wooden ones exist.
At a rally last weekend, hundreds of residents from the Rockaways demanded not only the boardwalk be rebuilt, but the beach reconstructed, along with new rock jetties.
Organizers of the rally estimate 50 jetties would need to be built to protect Rockaway from another storm surge like Sandy’s. A jetty can cost as much as $1 million to build, according to a Parks Department source. There is no estimate to the cost of the complete reconstruction of the boardwalk but the minor repairs done after Irene last year, when parts of the boardwalk split in the middle, ran near $4 million.
Lewandowski said rebuilding the beach and the boardwalk are priorities, but noted it could take a long time before the area returns to normal and that would probably not be done by next summer.
“Our hope is to have some of the beach opened by the summer,” she said at the borough board meeting.