Uhuru Design of Red Hook specializes in the use of salvaged materials. So when its owners, Jason Horvath and Bill Hilgendorf, saw the renovators of Coney Island’s famed Riegelmann Boardwalk callously throwing its discarded, weather-worn planks into the nearest dumpster, they saw an opportunity, and grabbed them up.
Once they had lugged the grey, cracked, screw-hole riddled boardwalk wood back to the studio, the restoration process gradually opened their eyes. Slowly, from beneath the layers of dirt and stuck-tight chewing gum, Horvath and Hilgendorf uncovered the glowing shades of yellow, red and orange that first existed when once the wood was young. There was life in the old lumber after all.
“What we were surprised about was how the wood looked once we started refinishing it,” said Horvath in The Daily News. “It’s really beautiful … It’s amazing that’s what’s underneath all those years of wear.”
It was then they knew that yes, this wood was usable, and they made a decision. Not only would they implement the Riegelmann Boardwalk lumber to construct a line of furniture. They would specifically design each piece to conjure up a memory of the glory days of this famed seaside resort. “It’s the story of Coney Island as a whole that was really interesting to us,” Horvath told The News.
Thus was born Uhuru Studio’s “Coney Island Line.” And that is why the gentle undulations of its “Cyclone” lounger clearly suggest Coney’s iconic roller coaster, while the circular shape of the “Wonder” coffee table evokes the famous Ferris wheel, and the “Drop” end table memorializes the now-defunct, though still-standing, Parachute Jump.
This limited edition furniture consists of six designs in all. If you’d like to put one of these Boardwalk beauties in your own living room, you’ll have to cough up the necessary number of greenbacks. This furniture doesn’t come cheap; the Cyclone lounger alone, for example, will run you $7,200.
Buy one, however, and you will be one of the select few owners of a special piece of Brooklyn history. Horvath and Hilgendorf have produced only ten each of the six designs, so if you really want one, better look alive. Once they’re all sitting in other people’s homes, everyone else can fuhgeddaboudit!
“Best Bet: Uhuru’s Coney Island-Inspired Furniture,” New York Fashion
Erin Durkin, “Get a piece of Coney Island history with furniture carved from iconic boardwalk”, New York Daily News