Wood: Brazilian Ipe (Tabebuia chrysantha), Cumaru (Dipteryx, odorata) and
Greenheart (Chlorocardium rodiei)
History: The Coney Island boardwalk was dismantled recently – a three block stretch at the heart of the amusement area that included Nathan’s Hot Dog stand, Cha Cha’s Bar & Cafe, and Shoot The Freak. The fabled boardwalk (installed in the early 20th c. and then replaced in WWII), is made from Rainforest hardwoods, has been transformed into benches, decking, flower planters, and now modern furniture.
Coney Island has recently been in the spotlight, with NYC buying back a prime area from Thor Equities. Preservationists are campaigning for the city to incorporate the classic features of the original amusement area into future development.
The Dutch name for the island was Conyne Eylandt, or Rabbit Island, due to the large populations of wild rabbits, which were eventually wiped out. Now environmental activists charge that animal and wildlife species are still being made extinct, not on Coney Island, but in the distant Rainforest, where the removal of a whole acre of jungle will often yield just a single useable Ipe tree.
For this reason, they are now succeeding in weening NYC away from the use of these exotic lumber products. Seventeen miles of boardwalk line the boroughs, making NYC the largest consumer of tropical Rainforest woods in the U.S. Most NYC boardwalks are now replaced with concrete. The stretch of Coney Island boardwalk, however, will still use Ipe.
Video clip of Coney Island Boardwalk demolition