‘Chip’-tastic! CB13 finally approves Marty’s amphitheater

for The Brooklyn Paper

A Community Board 13 panel finally voted to back Borough President Markowitz’s controversial bid for a glitzy $64-million amphitheater inside Asser Levy Seaside Park — ending a year of silence on the issue that brought out accusations that the members are just shills for the Beep.

Until Thursday night, Community Board 13 had declined to weigh in on the major project, claiming that it has no role in the approval process for the concert venue. But after a long-overdue meeting of the board’s Parks and Recreation Committee, several panel members pushed a last-minute resolution asking the board to oppose the amphitheater.

That resolution was deadlocked 5-5 — but two abstentions were counted as “no” votes, and the resolution was defeated.

“I feel sick,” said committee member Lollie Reich.

But that nauseous feeling was not shared by people who support Markowitz’s plan to transform the sleepy seaside park on Surf Avenue between Ocean Parkway and W. Fifth Street into a new concert venue on par with the Westbury Music Fair on Long Island.

“When I look at this plan, I see improvements for the park,” Gene Ritter said. “If I thought this was going to destroy the park, I’d be with you.”

Opponents believe the 8,000-seat venue will play a detrimental role, given that it will consume virtually all of the active recreation space in the park, and amplified music might disturb residents of nearby buildings and congregants in the two adjacent synagogues.

“I am for developing the park, but I am not for the project as it stands now,” concluded committee member Todd Dobrin.

Even if it had passed, the board’s resolution would only have been advisory. The Parks Department is actively looking for a concert promoter to run the amphitheater. Borough Hall hopes to complete construction in two years.

Reader Feedback

Fuhgeddaboudit! from Coney Island says:
From your story, the only conclusion I can reach is that the Community Board voted down a motion to oppose the project. It doesn't say anything about the board approving it. This is a sad, sick monument to one man's ego, everyone else be damned.
April 24, 2010, 9:47 am
Jerry from Brighton says:
Joe Maniscalo, the author of this article, has left out a few facts about the Wednesday night CB13 Parks & Recreation meeting.CB13 TOLD THE COMMUNITY TO 'DROP DEAD'!!!
#1 There were almost 200 Community residents present. NOT ONE person who resides in the neighborhood, spoke in favor of this project, They were 100% NO !
# 2 Less than 20% of the members of the Parks Committee were in attendance to vote one way or the other on the Amphitheater. The rest were too scared to show up. Heaven forbid they should cast a vote opposing their godfather, Markowitz.
# 3 Two of those members who voted Yes for this boondoggle of a project DON'T EVEN LIVE IN THE COMMUNITY.
GENE RITTER doesn't even live in Brooklyn,...HE LIVES IN FRESH MEADOWS, QUEENS.THE OTHER PERSON WHO DOES NOT LIVE IN THE COMMUNITY IS NONE OTHER THAN THE CHAIR OF CB 13 MARION CLEAVER. SHE LIVES IN BENSONHURST!
As Joe Maniscalo has written there was a 5-5 vote with 2 votes abstaining which just shows that the Committee is really split down the middle on this project.
Joe Maniscalo also forgot to mention that a few of those members who voted YES have City jobs & they are afraid of going against Marty Markowitz who has instilled in them the fear of God.
Over 13,000 residents have signed petitions opposing this project, showing that a yes vote by the Committee means very little, except to show that Marty's soldiers are all lined up like ducks, with no backbone or spine. They are the ones who are voting against the will of the people.
We will have to wait for the Court battle to determine who is righteous on this issue..
April 24, 2010, 10:08 am
Marlene from Brighton Beach says:
Let's get rid of the Community Boards! They're gutless wonders who only serve their masters, the politicians. Hundreds of neighborhood residents have turned out opposing this project yet the votes of 5 yo-yo's dooms thousands of people and destroys everyone's property values. Come on down to the CB 13 full board meeting on April 28 and give them an earful.
April 25, 2010, 5:07 pm
Mike Curatore from Carroll Gardens says:
I've been to enough CB meetings to know that voting down a motion to oppose a project is far from a vote to support it. If the facts in the article are correct, the only conclusion one can draw is that CB13 has NO POSITION on the project and that they were under no obligation to take one.

Marlene, CB's might not be all they could be, but I still think that having some formal role for the citizen in City government is better than having none at all. Perhaps when you get over your angry, which you are completely entitled to, you'll realize that reforming CB's is a better option to consider.
April 26, 2010, 12:43 pm
jerry from brighton beach says:
To Mike Curatore from Carroll Gardens :

To answer your statement, if CB members were picked that did not have City jobs or Run non-profits where they get tax payer monies from their elective officials both City & State, there would be a better CB.
Those who get money from the electives & who are put on the CB's have an obligatioon to those politicians & not to the community. The politicans hold these member items out like carrots on a stick, therfore those CB membersmust follow the politicnas wishes or they will either not get funding or bwe thrown off the board or both.
There are many citizens who do not run non-profits & do not have city jobs, therefore the conflict of interest or "pay to play" issues are not in play & would be a better choice of CB members for the communities.
April 26, 2010, 1:52 pm
Mike Curatore from Carroll Gardens says:
The Charter intended CB members to act independent of the people who appoint them. Clearly, that ain't working. There should be a way to preserve a good mix of people who serve on CB's, while protecting and preserving their independence. You want people with diverse skills and interests on CB's, right? Well, hopefully the Charter Commission will find a way to ensure that their independence is protected. Maybe the Borough Presidents shouldn't be appointing them in the first place.
April 27, 2010, 10:32 am
jerry from brighton beach says:
Mike : Not only shouldn't the Borough Presidents appoint CB members, but that should extend to the City Councilmembers. They appoint 50 % of them.

Perhaps a lottery system should be put in place, with the caveate that those who apply for the CB's cannot have a city job & can not run or be part of a NON-profit where they get city or state monies.
That would ensure an independent body.
April 27, 2010, 11:23 am
Mike from Trump Village says:
Mike Curatore, I was at this parks committee meeting and the motion that they voted down was "Should the Community Board Support the Community's Position?"

What conclusions should we draw from a resolution like that not passing?
May 7, 2010, 2:12 pm

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