The first four-block stretch of the new Long Beach boardwalk is reopened Saturday morning, just shy of the nine-month anniversary of when the old boardwalk was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy.
Long Beach city officials made the long-awaited announcement Friday that the boardwalk from Magnolia to Long Beach boulevards will be open while construction continues on the rest of the 2.2-mile structure that is slated to be completed by November.
“If there were ever any doubts that Long Beach and the South Shore are back, today those doubts have been put to rest,” said U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), who joined city officials for the news conference. “We’re like a boxer that’s been knocked down, but Long Beach has gotten up and delivered the knock out punch against Sandy.”
He noted that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to pay for nearly all the costs of rebuilding the boardwalk.
The replacement boardwalk is being constructed out of stronger materials including concrete and Brazilian hardwoods. Schumer said that boardwalks in New Jersey that withstood Sandy were made out of these same materials.
City Council President Scott Mandel said that the material is designed to last 30 to 40 years.
“The boardwalk you are standing on is a result of the entire community’s output,” he said.
Mandel mentioned that certain aspects of the old boardwalk will be kept to maintain its nostalgic feel. For instance, the old benches will be back after they are refurbished. Although there is new LED lighting, the lights will still have the same retro look.
Mandel added that there will now be public WiFi along the boardwalk and the beach.
The city’s iconic boardwalk has been drawing visitors eager for its return for months, but their wait is almost over.
“We came back to visit because we wanted to see Long Beach and get an update on the reconstruction since it is right in our backyard,” said Tracy Seager-Huber, a Lynbrook resident. “I knew it would be rebuilt because of the spirit here.”