The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' planned seawall and levee system for Staten Island's East Shore.

Islanders fear boardwalk could be off limits for years as East Shore Seawall plans move ahead

STATEN ISLAND -- As the federal government readies to begin construction on the long-awaited East Shore Seawall, some frequent Island visitors of the South Beach Boardwalk worry about losing a beloved recreation and scenic area for years.

They fear construction of the seawall could take longer than expected and end up costing much more.

And so far, the city and Army Corps of Engineers does not appear to have a plan to keep at least a part of the area open for frequent visitors.

Fourty-six-year-old Jackie says she is skeptical of the planned construction. She said she is worried about both funding and finding a new place to go once the boardwalk closes.

“What happens when the money runs out? It almost always does. Then will we ever get the boardwalk back or will it be a useless eye sore forever? I don’t mind going to the Conference House to be by the water, I just don’t want to lose [the boardwalk] forever,” Jackie said. “But I guess we will see.”

Travis residents Tom and Carolyn frequent the FDR Boardwalk several times during the week, especially since the pair retired 10 years ago.

Carolyn, who grew up in South Beach, said she remembers when Seaside Boulevard was the place to go – there were bungalows, rides, and the boardwalk was bustling.

The East Shore seawall’s construction, though it hasn’t begun yet, worries her even though she understands why it’s being built.

“I’m not happy about it because let’s be honest, the city will take years longer than they said,” Carolyn said, her husband Tom agreeing.

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