Amphitheater critics give concert promoters an earful

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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.

Updated 9:49 am, April 22, 2010
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Reasonable discourse

jerry from brighton beach says:
The Parks Dept. Assistant Commissioner,Betsy Smith dosen't know what she is talking about. These Summer Concerts of BP MartyMarkowitz have been violating the Sound Permitting Law for the last 20 years.
Betsy : There are not one but two Synagogues right across the street from the current Bandshell. Perhaps you shoould take a walk through & see for yourself.
I also heard that Live Nation DID NOT even do the walk through at the Park , they are plain not interested in getting into a long protracted court battle with the Community.
April 20, 2010, 8:44 am
Richard Michael Vosburgh from Manhattan Beach says:
If the concern is noise, and only noise, within a 500 foot proximity of any school, the question must be asked "after 20 years of concerts why threaten legal action now?" Given the lay of the land surrounding the existing amphitheater, and the physical position of the synagogues in question, I am willing to bet that the parameters as set forth in the existing law have, in fact, been met. If the design of a new amphitheater physically encroaches upon the '500 foot edict' then manipulate the current design of the proposed amphitheater to adhere to the acceptable and legal standard as noted. The grounds around the new design should be a completely refurbished to compliment to the proposed design with benches, trees, shrubs and flower arrangements with an eye on toning down the projected size of it all. Bigger is not necessarily better. Should the current Brooklyn home for the stars be replaced? Absolutely! Should the newer version of it consume the entire area? No. A magnificent replacement can and should be designed and built. I have dabbled in design throughout my entire life and I can envision some spectacular outdoor theaters. Detractors of the intended effort, citing noise as a platform for protest, should not, and indeed, cannot find fault with this revamped approach. With that having been said, Marty Markowitz, though we do not know each other, I have and always will deeply respect you as one of the finest proponents of Brooklyn and its residents. You are my hero.

Richard Michael Vosburgh
Manhattan Beach
Brooklyn, New York
June 23, 2010, 2:53 pm
RamJet from Bay Ridge says:
How about letting the small, independent local promoters make a living and keep the big conglomerates like Live Nation out of Coney Island? That's all Live Nation needs - to acquire the rights to another ampitheater. Don't they own enough of them already?
July 30, 2010, 4:29 pm
Patrick from Flatbush says:
Anyone who can't see the massive upside for this wonderful project is simply a moron. Traffic around Coney Island is not even 1/20th of what it has been since the heyday. This project will increase Coney Islands visability and will no doubt attract many other businesses and attractions to the area. If you cant stand the noise move to New Jersey.
Feb. 8, 2011, 2:55 am

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