Bathroom battle during boardwalk rebuilding effort after Sandy

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Workers along the boardwalk in Brighton Beach are in the beginning stages of rebuilding part of what super storm sandy destroyed–bathrooms.

“I walk in a lot of our parks and national parks, and I’ve never seen so many bathrooms,” Violetta Kelner, a Brighton Beach resident, said.

It’s not the number of restrooms, but the construction of one comfort station in particular that’s infuriating many of the more than two thousand people who live in the lavish Oceana Condominiums.

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz represents this community.

“When this complex was built, there was stipulation made with city planning commissioner and the mayor’s office that there would be a visual corridor from Brighton Beach Avenue to the water,” Cymbrowitz said.

That open space will become blocked if the parks department pushes ahead with the project.  Since FEMA is ultimately paying for it, the city has to follow its plan.  So the old underground restroom will be replaced by one on stilts that will rise more than 20 feet above the boardwalk.

“There are FEMA regulations that it has to be a certain height now in case there’s another storm,” Cymbrowitz added.

Angry condo owners say they’re not getting what they paid for.

“A feeling of freedom, expanse, the beauty of the ocean,” says resident Dina Soroka of what she’ll lose if the bathrooms are built.

“Now without consulting people who spent millions of dollars in this complex, oceanfront luxury, you’re gonna build this station here, its outrageous,” angry resident Nushy Garjarian said.

Residents are urging the city to move the facility 200 feet to the west. It means it would be closer to Coney Island Avenue where there’s a lot of activity.

Condo board president Alex Ustilovsky says that would be a better location for the bathrooms.

“The best use for that is where the most traffic is and most people use Coney Island Avenue to get to the beach.”

On Sunday condo owners will gather on the boardwalk, and raise their voices in protest.

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