Wood from the Riegelmann Boardwalk that was supposedly damaged during Superstorm Sandy is being reused in Italy — as a boardwalk.
In a classic case of one city’s trash being another’s tesaro, architects who designed the U.S.A. Pavilion at Milan’s Expo 2015 used lumber from Brooklyn’s Boardwalk to build an indoor boardwalk at the Italian World’s Fair. The city has for years been trying to convince residents that concrete and synthetic boards are better suited for beachfront walkways — and has routinely replaced portions of the wooden Boardwalk, which stretches from Coney Island to the edge of Manhattan Beach, with non-wood options — upsetting old-school Boardwalk advocates who say it is the wood that makes it good.
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And to them, the ironic move to repurpose Boardwalk wood to make a boardwalk could be the last straw.
“What a travesty — shipping our Boardwalk’s wood off to another country to be re-purposed and enjoyed there, while we have plastic and concrete shoved down our throats,” wrote Coney–Brighton Boardwalk Alliance president Rob Burstein in a letter to us when he heard of the Italian job.
Biber Architects designed the Milan boardwalk and purchased the timber from salvagers Sawkill Lumber, who harvested the historic planks for the city after Sandy “wrecked” the wooden walkway in 2012, a Biber spokeswoman said.