Dozens of Long Beach residents gathered near the shore on a chilly autumn day Friday to mark the official opening of the city’s new boardwalk, just four days before the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy.
The original 2.2-mile long boardwalk, built in 1907, was demolished after it was destroyed by Sandy’s storm surge. Construction on the new boardwalk started in April and took six months to fully complete.
One of the residents who came out to watch the ribbon cutting ceremony was 13-year Long Beach resident Joe Cainambone, who was in positive spirits despite what he and many other residents of the waterfront community had to go through after Sandy.
“People put a lot of pressure on these politicians, they stood up to the pressure and I’m pleased that the politicians did what they had to do and rebuild this,” he said. “The overall condition is magnificent and now people can get back to living.”
The event held extra significance for Eric Reisman, an employee at Colony Hardware, which supplied the last minute drills that local officials used as part of the ceremony.
“I was inspired with the fact that they are now building the boardwalk with cement and tropical wood that is supposed to hold up if there is another storm,“ said Reisman. “The state of New York did everything they could do to get this done.”
Long Beach demolished the original boardwalk in January and then held a pep rally four months later to celebrate the first day of construction. The city agreed to a $44.2 million deal on April 4 with Plainview-based Grace Industries, LLC to takeover the rebuilding effort and construction started soon after.
A new hardwood tropical decking was installed to alleviate non-stop maintenance and a concrete retaining wall was also built to bolster the boardwalk.
The city had opened select areas of the boardwalk during the summer as they were completed.
Now that the boardwalk is fully open, residents said Friday that they cannot wait to go back to their daily routine.
“I went on this boardwalk frequently,” said Jonathan Tand, who has lived in Long Beach for seven years. “I run on the boardwalk…This boardwalk rejuvenates the community.”