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Coney Island Boardwalk becomes designated landmark

NEW YORK — The iconic Coney Island Boardwalk became a designated landmark with a Tuesday vote by the city’s preservation committee.

It’s a 2.7-mile stretch of history and memory, where visitors can get a hot dog, ride the Wonder Wheel and stroll along the beach.

With a unanimous vote, the Landmarks Preservation Commission decided to make the Riegelmann Boardwalk, as it's officially known, the 11th scenic landmark in New York City.

After the initial request was rejected, Tuesday the commissioners acknowledged the role of the boardwalk in New York City history as well as their own lives.

"I didn't even know that there was a beach in the Bronx as a child. All I knew is that there was the D train and that you could take the D train to the end of the line and go to Coney Island," said Commisioner Kim Vauss.

The vote comes on the 95th anniversary of the boardwalk's grand opening. The landmark status applies to all 2.7-miles stretching from West 37th Street to Brighton 15th Street in Brighton Beach.

"This is an international, iconic structure recognized around the world," said Councilman Mark Treyger. "People were in shock that it was not a landmark already."

Treyger represents the district and fought for the landmark designation. Tuesday's ruling means that the boardwalk will remain on the beach of Coney Island forever and won't be repurposed. It also means the Parks Department is now responsible for maintaining it moving forward. The landmark designation does not address the material that makes up the boardwalk, a major issue after the city repaired some sections with concrete a few years ago.

However, it does mean from here on out people will have their voices heard before there are any major changes.

"Moving forward, if they wish to demolish a section of the boardwalk, the public is going to have a lot more say and a lot more power this time," said Treyger.

The boardwalk now has just one more hurdle left to clear before its new status becomes official. That comes in the form of a City Council vote. Treyger says he expects that to happen in time for a July 4th celebration in Coney Island.