Coney Island Boardwalk designated as a scenic landmark

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One of the best-known waterfront promenades in the world is getting special status in New York City.

One of the best-known waterfront promenades in the world is getting special status in New York City.

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission voted on Tuesday to designate the Coney Island Boardwalk as a scenic landmark.

The boardwalk, which stretches from West 37th Street to Brighton 15th Street, has attracted tourists and locals ever since the first section opened in 1923. The 2.7-mile boardwalk is the home of the world famous Cyclone roller coaster and the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest every 4th of July.

Since opening on May 15, 1923, the Coney Island Boardwalk has provided access to the beach, amusements and spectacular ocean views. Scenic landmark designation will protect the boardwalk's presence along the beachfront and preserve this iconic site for future generations.

"We are so proud to designate the Coney Island Boardwalk a Scenic Landmark," Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan said. "The Coney Island Boardwalk is as much a part of the culture as it is a part of the history of New York City. It is a beloved public space that embodies Coney Island's democratic spirit and reflects our City's values of tolerance, inclusivity and equity."

Named for Brooklyn Borough President Edward Riegelmann, who played a leading role in its creation, the Coney Island Boardwalk was part of an ambitious municipal plan to rejuvenate Coney Island and provide the opportunity for people of all economic and social backgrounds to freely enjoy the seaside and beach activities for the first time in New York City. It attracted New Yorkers and visitors alike, from all over the world.

Designed by engineer Philip Farley, who also planned the public beach, the boardwalk was built in three phases between 1922 and 1941. The first section of the boardwalk, between Ocean Parkway and West 37th Street, formally opened on May 15, 1923. Two years later, the boardwalk was extended 4,000-feet east, to Coney Island Avenue, and under Park Commissioner Robert Moses, an additional 1,500-feet to Brighton 15th Street in 1941.

The Coney Island Boardwalk also enhanced existing amusements in the area such as The Wonder Wheel, landmarked in 1989, which illuminated the boardwalk and became a beacon in the skyline and a destination for Coney Island visitors. The Cyclone roller coaster, landmarked in 1988, was constructed not long after the boardwalk opened. Later, in 1941, The Parachute Jump from the New York World's Fair (1939-40), landmarked in 1989, was brought to Steeplechase Park, adjacent to the boardwalk at West 16th Street. Rising 250 feet, it remains one of Coney Island's most recognizable landmarks.

Childs Restaurant, landmarked in 2003, opening in 1923 and connected diners to the experience of the boardwalk. And two years later, the Coney Island Theater (landmarked in 2010) opened, providing live performances and motion picture screenings. Today, the former Child's Restaurant building, which was renovated and reopened in 2017, continues to attract visitors as a dining venue and amphitheater, and the Coney Island Theater is being restored.

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