Noises off! Suit settlement bars Markowitz’s concerts from Asser Levy Park

Noises off! Suit settlement bars Markowitz’s concerts from Asser Levy Park
Grimshaw Architects

Borough President Markowitz’s summer concert series can’t return to Asser Levy Park.

As part of a settlement of a lawsuit accusing his gigs of violating city noise rules, Markowitz has agreed to obey the rule, which prohibits the use of amplified sound within 500 feet of a house of worship.

“We’re happy to hear that this existing laws will finally be enforced,” said Ida Sanoff, a plaintiff along with officials at two synagogues that are less than 500 feet from the band shell. The settlement also awarded the plaintiffs money for their legal fees, according to Sanoff.

Markowitz did not share Sanoff’s joy, lashing out against his opponents as if they were the music-hating reverend in the movie “Footloose.”

“Their selfish actions could eliminate concerts from Coney Island forever,” Markowitz said in a written statement.

Markowitz has found a new site for his shows. Last month, he begrudgingly agreed to move the concerts out of Asser Levy and into a W. 21st Street lot about a mile away — a deal that foreshadowed the future settlement.

“All of this hard work was necessary because [of] a spiteful minority,” Markowitz said.

But the settlement has threatened more than the music. It could also put the brakes on Markowitz’s controversial plan to build an 8,000-seat amphitheater in Asser Levy Park, as it’d be hard to utilize a $64-million band shell without breaking the decades-old noise code and Markowitz’s out-of-court agreement.

But Markowitz insists that he’s not dropping his plan for the venue, despite the settlement. The amphitheater, paid for out of the city budget for Brooklyn cultural events, will be built by 2012.

And the Beep has dodged the noise code in the past. Just weeks after the lawsuit was filed last summer, the city temporarily overturned the noise code so that the concerts could go on for the 2010 season.

Even Sanoff, who has long protested the Beep’s planned “potato chip” band shell, says that she won’t be surprised to hear the volume in Asser Levy Park tuned to 11 before long.

“There are a lot of creative people in the city government that can change the law quickly,” Sanoff said. “The city will do what it wants.”

Borough President Markowitz’s Asser Levy Park concerts were too much for Al Turk and Ida Sanoff to bear. Now, Turk and Sanoff have settled their lawsuit, which accuses the concerts of violating a city noise code. The agreement may keep The Beep’s shows out of the park for good.
File photo by Paula Kupfer