LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A groundbreaking was held for Saturday for the new $44.2 million boardwalk on Long Beach, Long Island.
As 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reported, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) joined local officials for the groundbreaking Saturday morning at the beach at Riverside Boulevard.
Grace Industries of Plainview has the contract to rebuild the 2.2-mile boardwalk, which was wrecked by Superstorm Sandy, and they have seven months to finish it.
Hundreds of people attended the ceremony marking the beginning of the project, which was like a trip down memory lane for many. They remembered the first time they walked on the boardwalk that was washed away by Superstorm Sandy.
Many recalled the boardwalk as a symbol of childhood.
“Growing up on it, going up and down on it, learning to ride bikes on it, everything that happened on it with your friends,” Max Poretz told CBS 2′s Amy Dardashtian.
One woman told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall she met her husband on the boardwalk. And back 70 years ago, state Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach) said he used to practice on the boardwalk for school races.
“When I first started running, people used to stare at me, ‘Who is this person, and what is he doing on the boardwalk?’” Weisenberg said.
The construction officially began with American flags blowing in the wind, “American Pie” by Don McLean playing from speakers on the beach, and a local woman wiping away a tear in the crowd.
“It’s very hard to sum it up in one memory, because it’s always there. It’s the boardwalk. It’s like Broadway is to New York City. It’s there. It’s just part of your everyday,” she said.
But another man just stood there shaking his head.
“Tell them to put up money for the hospital,” he said. “Priorities are priorities.”
Schumer helped bring federal money to the project.
“Yes, we are coming back bigger and better than ever,” he told the crowd. “Nothing gets Long Beach down.”
Residents of Long Beach will tell you the last six months since Sandy have felt like six years – a very slow and painful recovery, and the reconstruction of boardwalk is crucial.
The new boardwalk will be made with tropical wood, which should sustain another hurricane.
The middle section, nearly a mile long, will be completed by July. The entire project is expected to be completed by November.
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