Bring the noise!
Angry patrons of Borough President Markowitz’s Seaside Concert series in Coney Island were fuming over the city’s noise crackdown at the controversial venue, where a new law kept performer’s voices — and their jams — at a whisper Thursday night.
“It’s like music on mute!” said Louis Perez of Sunset Park, who didn’t have to raise his voice while standing in the middle of Asser Levy Seaside Park. “The performers should start doing sign language!”
For the second week in a row, the volume was turned down because the concerts — which have been held at the venue since 1991 — now must conform to a law that demands the music not exceed 10-decibels above the normal street sound level near two synagogues facing the park.
“This is terrible!” said Lillian Rowlett, who was “listening” with family and friends. “We can’t hear anything, we don’t know what’s going on.”
At times, it seemed that even the performers, including Judy Torres, Noel, and Angel and Aby, were having trouble hearing, as they were often wildly off-key.
And several times during the show, when performers, including Judy Torres, Noel, and Angel and Aby, asked the audience, “How do you feel Brooklyn?” the crowd replied with resounding boos. At another point, a performer asked, “Can you hear me?” The crowd unanimously replied, “No!”
Markowitz did not hide his irritation with the new rules when addressing the audience.
“We’re under terrible constraint,” Markowitz said. “We didn’t ask for this, it’s being imposed on us. Next year, we’ll get this straightened out one way or another, we’re so sorry.”
The “10-decibel law” was a last-minute measure pushed through the City Council by Mayor Bloomberg in June as a way to keep the concerts going this summer after it was discovered that the shows had, for years, been in violation of a law that prohibited amplified music within 500 feet of a house of worship.
As it turned out, the concerts could not even adhere to the new law.
The opponents of the shows — who dispatched their own sound expert to document the excessive noise levels — said they were not party poopers.
“The city is breaking their own laws, don’t blame us!” said Al Turk, a vice president of Temple Beth Abraham. “If the city can’t follow its own laws, then something is wrong!”
The obscure noise regulations were discovered by opponents after Markowitz proposed a state-of-the-art amphitheater at Asser Levy Park that raised the prospect of many more concerts there — something some residents don’t want to hear.
Another opponent, Ida Sanoff, said that the city now faces possible penalties for repeatedly surpassing the noise levels, and may be on the hook for the opponents’ sound expert and legal fees, depending a judge’s ruling.
The “10-decibel law” expires at the end of the summer, meaning that Markowitz and Bloomberg will likely try to craft legislation that allows the concerts to proceed at a normal level of amplification.
The promoter of the concert series, Debra Garcia, pledged that it would continue next year.