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Coney residents: Asser Levy us alone!

The Brooklyn Paper
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Borough President Markowitz’s pet project — a major concert venue in Coney Island that would be a physical legacy of his two (and perhaps three) terms in office — crashed into neighborhood opposition from critics who say it will be too big and too loud.

Developing a top-notch performance space to replace the bandshell in Asser Levy Park — home of the Beep’s long-running and free Seaside Summer Concerts — has been a dominant project of Markowitz’s agenda in Borough Hall and touted as “world class” by the Bloomberg Administration for dovetailing with its vision of an invigorated Coney Island.

But now, with the groundbreaking fast approaching for the $64-million Jones Beach rival, critics turned up the volume about the project — which will not go through the city’s rigorous land-use review procedure.

“This is going to destroy the only open space in the neighborho­od,” said Ida Sanoff, a former member of Community Board 13. “People talk about the need for a respite to get away from the hustle and bustle, and to relax beneath a tree, but [Markowitz] wants to spend $64 million to put it in the middle of a residential community.”

The pricetag for the venue, whose roof will resemble the shape of a curved potato chip (though Markowitz refuses to release a rendering of it), surged since the project was announced two years ago — at that time it was expected to cost $40 million. Crowds can rock their socks off there in 2012, according to current projections.

Sanoff and other foes have recently increased their pressure to force Markowitz to submit the so-called “Coney Island Center” to a public review.

Sanoff, who is working with NYC Park Advocates to block the borough president’s showpiece, added that loud music will blow out the eardrums of many people who live near the modestly sized park and not just the 8,000 people the ampitheater will be able to accommodate.

But Markowitz’s office said that noise pollution has not been a problem with his 30+ years of summer concerts that has brought hot tickets like Smokey Robinson and Michael Bolton to Asser Levy Park.

“If there had been significant noise complaints over the years, it certainly would have impacted the success of the concert series,” said Mark Zustovich, a spokesman for Markowitz.

Nonetheless, the Beep’s office says it’s drafting an environmental impact statement to study its likely effects — like such as noise or traffic congestion.

In an instance of strange bedfellows, Markowitz’s ampitheater, is supported by Dick Zigun, the founder of the Coney Island Circus Sideshow, and the Bloomberg Administration. Both say the bandshell will draw visitors to the area and could contribute to an amusement and entertainment renaissance in the People’s Playground.

It’s unusual to find them in agreement since an abrupt separation last year in which the so-called Mayor of Coney Island resigned from the city agency overseeing Bloomberg’s plans, Zigun emerged as a harsh critic of the city’s controversial redevelopment policy, which is in the early phases of a lengthy public review.

Updated 5:10 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Joan from Brighton says:
I fully support this project. For the past ten years I have taken my disabled mother to Marty's free concerts. It's always the highlight of her summer! The shows are absolutely packed to the gills with spectators. The bandshell should be improved so it can continue provide free entertainment to seniors. Free music and lots of people - that's what Coney Island should be all about. It ain't the Hamptons.

Thanks Marty!!! We love ya!!
Jan. 24, 2009, 8:29 pm
Perry from Coney Island says:
Coney Island has become the playground of a few elistists that pretend they are community activists but instead are looking out only for themselves. If the community is in favor of it please build it. But let the community know the true costs, how the project will be paid for in these tough tough economic times, what parts of the neighborhood will be lost and lets see a finished document and proposal with pictures....Transparecy is needed so that there are no back door agreements and so that this affair does not turn into another Bernie Madoff Ponzi Scheme.....
Jan. 25, 2009, 6:24 pm
jerry from brighton beach says:
To Joan : you better enjoy this summer's free concerts because they ARE NOT going to be free once Marty's Pet Vanity project is built.So make sure you have deep pockets! Besides those who live in the surrounding area of Asser Levy Park, like in, Brighwater Towers will lose your view when the 110 foot building goes up. The traffic will be unbearable for those who live there & the noise , as Marty Markowitz has said "fuggetaboutit!.
Jan. 27, 2009, 7:24 pm
Isis from Coney Island says:
Free??!!What makes you think the concerts will continue to be free? Once this new thing gets built, it's going to be run by a private concession that is going to CHARGE you to see a concert.
Jan. 27, 2009, 8:33 pm
A;ocoa from bb/rochester says:
i plan my summer trips to my Brooklyn homearound those free shows!
Go Marty
April 9, 2009, 1:10 pm
Alicia from bb/rochester says:
i plan my summer trips to my Brooklyn homearound those free shows!
Go Marty
April 9, 2009, 1:10 pm
Julia Dusevic from Brighton Beach says:
The park is truly one of a kind - offering relaxation for the old and young all year round.
Its the only place where one can reunite with nature - the much needed space in a concrete city jungle.
DESTROYING IT IS A CRIME.
There's PLENTY of space around to build a theatre on - WHY to RUIN the park ????????!!!!
April 27, 2009, 9:06 pm
Bella from Trump Village says:
shame to those that see Asher levy as a money making concert arena! it wont work..and we should no6t waste money and destroy that park only to find out it didnt work.
May 1, 2009, 12:30 pm
B.T. from BRIGHT WATER TOWERS says:
THIS PROJECT IS A CRIME AGAINST PEOPLE WHO LIVE
AROUND THIS AREA. IT'S HARD ENOUGH NOW TO LIVE THROUGH THE SUMMER TIME CONSIDERING TRAFFIC CONGESTION, LUCK OF PARKING SPACES, VERY LOUD NOISE FROM CONCERTS, BUT NOW ITS ONLY GOING ON FOR TWO MONTHS AND IT IS ONLY ABOUT 6-7 CONCERTS A YEAR AND THAT IS WHY THERE IS NO SO MANY COMPLAINS ABOUT LOUD NOISE. WE KNOW WE HAVE TO TOLERATE THIS FOR A FEW TIMES. BUT WHAT THEY WANT TO BUILD NOW IS GOING TO MAKE THIS HARDSHIP FOR NEIGHBORS FOR ALL YEAR AROUND. BESIDES THE HISTORICAL BEAUTIFUL GREEN LAND WILL BE DESTROYED, THE ONLY PARK IN THIS ARIA WHICH IS VERY IMPORTANT PLACE FOR KIDS, SENIOR CITIZENS AND EVERYBODY ELSE. PLEASE LIVE OUR PARK ALONE.
May 18, 2009, 11:07 am
cathy o from park slope says:
My friends and I plan out summers around these concerts. We have the greatest times on these thursday nites. don't ruin our good times. especialy since we are all having such a hard time. To go out with good friends and have such a great time and for free make such great memories. don't ruin a good thing!!
June 16, 2009, 1:24 pm
Edith from Brightwater Towers says:
Marty does not care about the people of this neighborhood. He does not care about noise or the traffic we already endure, not just from the bandshell but the entire surrounding area. Why not build it in Offemeir Park along Shore Parkway? Why not improve upon the bandshell in Prospect Park whos acres and acres of land could afford to lose a little green space.

That said, yay Donna, Debbie & Hall & Oats =/
June 17, 2009, 2:19 pm
James from Brooklyn says:
These concerts are not entirely free, to sit in the seated area you must pay a $5 - $10 charge depending on who's singing. It wasn't that long ago that the entire concert was a free venue, no seats or fenced off areas, no VIP sections - just lawn, bring a beach chair and listen to the music. I guess that was too ghetto to attract people from other neighborhoods. If they want to add to the "Destination" appeal of Coney, why not PUT IT in Coney.
June 17, 2009, 2:37 pm
Afrique from Brighton Beach says:
When you don't like the music, but live in a building nearby it is incredibly loud and disturbing. It is like you have a disco in your apartment. What about the people who have to go up early in the morning? It is impossible to sleep before 11PM. I think generally concerts are great and should be free, but not in a residential area.
July 18, 2009, 5:44 pm

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