Cymbrowitz to Mayor: Fix the 'comfort station debacle'

Brooklyn Currents | 5/22/2014 | 0 comments

This rendering shows the type of modular bathrooms that were slated to be installed on the Boardwalk. (NYC Parks Department)

Following is a May 22 letter that Assemblyman Steven Cymbnrowitz wrote to Mayor de Blasio concerning the still lingering debris on Brighton Beach:


Mayor Bill de Blasio
City Hall
New York, New York 10007

Dear Mayor de Blasio:

As we prepare to begin the new summer season, I want to ensure that Brighton Beach is fully returned to the public and that our iconic Riegelmann Boardwalk continues to serve as a symbol of the area's proud history and very bright future.

Since the time of the comfort station debacle, a portion of the beach has remained a graveyard for the forgotten remains of the misplaced New Brighton comfort station. Bays 1 and 2 have been partially blocked off by bubble-wrapped Winnebagos and automobiles at the construction staging area. Visitors are forced to navigate around these obstacles to access that section of the beach, and once they arrive they're treated to an unsightly display of pilings that were left at the unfinished site.

With the Parks Department about to issue a revised Environmental Impact Statement and hopefully relocate the comfort station to a more appropriate location on Coney Island Avenue, it is time to close the door on this unfortunate episode and remove the abandoned pilings. To expedite this process, I have spoken to the Assembly's Ways and Means staff and they have suggested that the capital funds I allocated back in 2009 for the renovation of the Brighton Beach boardwalk – specifically the area from Brighton 15th to Brighton 4th Streets -- can be repurposed and used to remove the pilings. These funds, allocated by me and Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny, were never used.

I am aware that a small group of people have objected to the move because they don't want to spend FEMA money. Now, with FEMA incurring no additional expense, there is no reason to delay removing the old pilings and following the well-articulated wishes of the community.
Additionally, there has been significant controversy surrounding the material to rebuild and maintain New York City's boardwalks. Under Mayor Bloomberg, a plan to lessen the city's dependence on tropical wood was enacted and, as a result, New York City began using concrete as an alternative boardwalk material. I agree with my constituents that this is unacceptable. A boardwalk is not a concrete walkway and never will be. I ask that your administration revisit the current policy and clarify the feasibility of using certified sustainable tropical hardwoods for boardwalk construction.

With Memorial Day weekend just days away, residents and the millions of people who visit Brighton Beach each year deserve a beach and Boardwalk that we can all be proud of. I look forward to your response on these matters.


Steven H. Cymbrowitz
Member of Assembly

cc: Mitchell Silver, NYC Parks Commissioner
Kevin Jeffrey, Brooklyn Parks Commissioner


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