1st section of Long Beach boardwalk reopens after Superstorm Sandy

July 26, 2013 2:35:07 PM PDT
It is perhaps the most pristine half mile boardwalk that you will find along the south shore. It's brand new, and on Saturday it will again be open to the delight of Long Beach residents.

"The boardwalk -- the great symbol of Long Beach is back again. Bigger. Better. Stronger and more storm resilient than ever," Senator Charles Schumer said.

Stretching out over half a mile, the Brazilian hardwood is even more beautiful than ever. The new construction has a 30- to 40-year lifespan. The previous wood used only lasted 3 to 7 years.

The Long Beach boardwalk will once again open for residents, tourists and everyone for the first time since Sandy.

"We're happy about it. It's great. I miss it. We use the boardwalk every day," Lawrence Mahoney said.

"Tomorrow morning at 8:45 I'll be up here. I'll start at Long Beach Road and go as far as they let me," Michael Creaney said.

The new section stretches two blocks, from Laurelton Boulevard to Long Beach Boulevard.

Much of the boardwalk was destroyed as a result of Sandy's surging sea. The decision was made to demolish it all so that it could be brought back better and stronger.

"It was like losing a part of your family. When we opened the boardwalk up on the Fourth of July and I walked up this ramp, there were tears in my eyes. I couldn't believe it. Look at the beauty of what we have," New York State Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg said.

In honor of the old boardwalk, there are aluminum pipe railings and old time light fixtures to adorn the new and stronger boardwalk.

"This is built to last. Unfortunately, it took an act of God. But we did this and we did it the right way," City Council President Scott Mandel said.

It was tough for Mike Priano who grew up here.

"Well, it's heart wrenching. It's a punch in the gut. I'm ready to cry again," he said.

"It was very emotional. And now as we see the birth of the new one it is even more emotional. It's a very special time," City Manager Jack Schnirman said.

FEMA is picking up most of the cost of the rebuilding, officials say, and the remaining section is expected to be finished and opened by early November.