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At some point, some bean-counter worked out the math and the switch was made. It's rot-resistant, insect-resistant and even naturally fire-resistant, and the boards laid at Coney Island did indeed last for two and a half decades before needing to be replaced.However, there will not be another wood replacement cycle at Coney Island.In the late 1800s Atlantic City put up the first large-scale public boardwalk in the United States.

What we do know for sure is that Coney Island's boardwalk, officially called the Riegelmann Boardwalk, was the first to switch over to a tropical rainforest wood.

In the 1960s they began using Ipe, and Atlantic City followed suit.

Amidst stiff opposition, the NYC Parks Department has announced that the Boardwalk will now be topped with concrete and recycled plastic formed to look like wood.

The Parks Department cites the environmental concerns of continuing to harvest tropical rainforest wood and the maintenance costs; preservationists argue that natural wood is an essential ingredient of the Boardwalk's very identity.

In a 1934 book called "Trees You Want to Know," American botanist Donald Culross Peattie wrote that Atlantic White Cedar would "endure moisture indefinitely," and wood that weathered well was in demand; lots of folks began using it for fencing and roof shingles.

As it became popular, we started overlogging it, and soon it became both expensive and scarce.

The rise of pesticides changed the wood game after World War II.

By the 1950s Atlantic City had switched materials once again, this time going with chemically-treated Southern Yellow Pine.

Choosing the material to build a boardwalk out of can be tricky.


  1. If it has only a few dovetail joints, with pins narrower than the dovetails, then the joint was made by hand.

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