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Technically not a cedar at all, but a cypress, the tree grew well in wet areas and was naturally rot-resistant.

Ironically, these excellent properties are what made the wood an unsustainable choice.

Atlantic City thus had to find a different wood to maintain, repair and update their boardwalk, and they switched over to Western Red Cedar.

The stuff was also pricey because it had to be shipped in from the Pacific Northwest, but it was easier to get than Atlantic White Cedar; and being a rainforest wood, it dealt well with moisture.

Ipe ain't cheap—also called Brazilian Walnut, the stuff has to be shipped in from Central or South America—while chemically-treated Southern Yellow Pine was easily available and relatively affordable. Because boards made from Southern Yellow Pine needed to be replaced every ten years, bringing with it high maintenance costs.

Pricey but hard-wearing Ipe was reckoned to last for 25 years.

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

Scher said, but "things have changed."Some materials, of course, change more slowly than others.

The plastic stuff will reportedly last for 75 years.

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.

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