Seawall, Boardwalk, Ice Casino Still A Mess; L.I. Sound May Be Off-Limits

RYE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Spring has started with a dose of anxiety for a summer tradition.

Repairs have now been delayed at storm-damaged Rye Playland in Westchester County only weeks from the season opening.

Warmer temperatures may be just around the corner, but the storm damage from autumn still litters the amusement park. It feels like Hurricane Sandy left only yesterday, CBS 2’s Lou Young reported Thursday.

The damaged seawall and badly warped boardwalk are still a problem. The work was supposed to have started on them already, but the county ran into legal trouble with its emergency contracts and now has to let out competitive bids.

That means the damage will still be at the park when it opens on May 11. And the seawall and boardwalk are not the worst of it, Young reported.

In fact, some of the damage is beyond immediate repair — like a section of boardwalk at the north end of the park and the landmark skating complex called the Ice Casino, where the New York Rangers used to practice. The plywood patches in the old domed roof are only part of it.

“The basement was flooded with about 4 feet of water, and the boilers, transformers, all the electrical so …,” Playland General Manager Frank Carrieri said.

The Westchester County Parks Department has been working on the rides in the amusement area, but the season’s first visitors may find themselves cut off from the Long Island Sound by damaged promenades and contractor crews. The county executive insisted he can make the opening day deadline despite the delay.

“It’s a disappointment,” Rob Astorino said. “Hurricane Sandy came here and wrecked it, wrecked the boardwalk; she wrecked the Ice Casino. She wreaked havoc here, but we’re re-building. The boardwalk will be ready by the end of May.”

Not everyone is so sure. And without access to the water, residents suggest Rye Playland won’t have much of a season.

“Most people don’t use Playland, unfortunately. They use the beach and the boardwalk. It’s too bad,” Rye resident Linda Heilman said.

Rye Playland has cost Westchester County taxpayers millions to keep open. With lingering storm damage from Sandy, the price tag this year could be even higher.

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