The few concert promoters who actually showed up for last Friday’s public walking tour of Asser Levy Seaside Park heard a lot from the Parks Department about how great Borough President Markowitz’s plan to build a new $64-million amphitheater inside the park is going to be — but it wasn’t all music to everyone’s ears.
Critics who view the amphitheater as nothing more than a commercial land grab of public space lambasted the project for more than an hour, frustrating Parks officials and making it hard for them to make their sales pitch.
The agency is eager to land a potential promoter as soon as possible because it can not complete a required Environmental Assessment of the proposed 8,000-seat amphitheater without the operator’s input.
Tempers immediately started to flare during a short pre-tour presentation held inside the New York Aquarium’s Education Hall.
Amphitheater critics insisted that the community is already suffering because of Markowitz’s annual Seaside Summer Concert Series, and, said opponent Arlene Brenner, the area simply “can’t stand” an influx of more concert-goers.
The animosity later boiled over during the tour of the park, located on Surf Avenue between Ocean Parkway and West Fifth Street, when Sam Kimball, a representative for Marquee Concerts turned on Brenner.
“All we’ve heard for an hour is you,” cried Kimball, whose company specializes in music and comedy shows. “Enough.”
Marquee Concerts was actually one of just three concert promoters that took Friday’s walking tour, according to the Parks Department, and Kimball later said that he wasn’t sure his company is “even interested” in the amphitheater.
The other two promoters on hand were Metropolitan Talent Presents and Live Nation.
If built, the new amphitheater — officially known as the “Coney Center” — would eat up virtually all of Asser Levy Park’s open recreational space. Critics also maintain that expanded concert programming would unlawfully interfere with services held at two synagogues directly across from Asser Levy Seaside Park.
But Betsy Smith, a Parks Department assistant commissioner said that the noise concern is unwarranted.
“We are not going to permit amplified sound when it’s against the law,” she said.
©2010 Community News Group
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