On the eve of the first summer concert in Asser Levy Park, Mayor Bloomberg warned Borough President Markowitz that if the music gets too loud, Thursday night’s concert would be the last.
On Monday, the mayor was expected to sign into law a bill that would legalize the amplified music coming from Markowitz’s “Seaside Summer Concert Series.” But before Hizzoner sat down with his pen, he was persuaded to review the law by dozens of protesters who had gathered at City Hall.
“We’re not going to stop the concert, but they will not have another one” if it’s too noisy, Bloomberg said, though he did go ahead and sign the bill on Tuesday, two days before Markowitz’s season opener with Neil Sedaka on July 15.
The law, hastily drafted at the behest of Bloomberg and Markowitz to overturn a decades-old ban on amplified sound within 500 feet of an active religious institution, would allow the concerts as long as decibel readings in the vicinity do not increase by more than 10 dbs.
The mayor said he did not side with the opponents’ larger beef against Markowitz’s plan for a $64-million amphitheater in Asser Levy Park, but merely wanted to take a day with the bill to ensure that it’s actually enforceable.
In the end, he said it was:
“After having listened to the testimony [on Monday], I met again with our legislative and legal staff this morning at Gracie Mansion — and after carefully weighing all concerns, I signed [the bill],” the mayor said.
He added the bill would “help the city determine whether standards for the issuance of sound permits currently in the law can be made more exact and effective” because the 500-foot standard “was adopted before reliable sound measurement technology was established.”
“We believe focusing on actual sound levels rather then exclusively on distance will better protect the quality of life of all New Yorkers,” he added.
Civil rights attorney Norman Siegel, who represents the two Sea Breeze Avenue synagogues that are suing Markowitz for violating the 500-foot rule, disagreed, saying that the law is merely “legitimizing an illegality.”
“It’s a classic case of different standards for different people,” he added.
Indeed, days before Markowitz’s season opener, a 10-band autism benefit concert was not allowed to take place in the band shell because the city, citing the very 500-foot rule that Markowitz has been allowed to flout, said it would be too noisy.
©2010 Community News Group
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