Friday, June 23, 2006

Tripping (and Falling) in Coney Island

Broken Boardwalk
Yes, Gowanus Lounge has been beating the Coney Island drum hard this week, but hey, it's summer and this is Coney's time of year. Speaking of which, around Memorial Day we touched on the slow pace of the Coney Island boardwalk repair project, wondering why it was still underway at the beginning of summer season and when the job would be done.

Now, we know the answer. It won't be done.

If you have been to Coney Island this year you know why this is of interest: The Coney Island Boardwalk--other than the very small portion that was replaced for $500,000 over the winter--is in a disgraceful state of disrepair. We're not talking about a couple of loose boards here and there, either. We are talking about it being in such a sad state that all an ambulance chasing lawyer has to do to get new clients is find a particularly odious part of the boardwalk and stand there and wait for people to trip and fall. These spots are easy to locate. They're the ones where boards are see-sawing up and down as people walk on them or where there are holes where the wood is rotted or where bolts are sticking out.

The head of the Brighton Neighborhood Association told INBROOKLYN, "It's the worst it's ever been." The Parks Department claims a shortage of funds to fix it, although maintenance crews are alleged to travel the boardwalk making repairs as needed.

Fingers of blame are pointed in various directions: A lot of people using the boardwalk. Police cars cruising up and down. Sand piled under it by the Army Corp of Engineers in the early 90s.

One EMT told a trip-and-fall boardwalk victim, according to INBROOKLYN, that there will be "a hundred more like this" during the summer.

Even if you don't care about the person who goes to Coney Island for a ride on the Wonder Wheel and a walk on the boardwalk and goes home with a broken face, isn't it cheaper to put more people on the job to try to fix the thing and, then, replace it over the winter than to pay out cash settlements in all those lawsuits? Or will it have to wait until Coney Island redevelopment when Thor Equities and others demand that the city do it because patrons breaking bones outside the front door and walking in dripping blood on the floor are bad for business?

Just wondering.

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