No Seaside Concerts in Coney Island in 2014, after 35 years

No shows this year in People’s Playground

The Brooklyn Paper
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Coney Island will go silent this summer.

Ex-Borough President Marty Markowitz’s Seaside Concert series will not rock the People’s Playground for the first time in 35 years, to Markowitz’s dismay.

“It’s sad. I started these concerts 35 years ago,” said Markowitz, who now works as vice outer-borough tourism czar for the city. “But I am not in the position to maintain them I was in when I was state senator and Borough President.”

Borough President Adams’s office confirmed that the music series would be taking this summer off, due to construction at the venue site — which will create an amphitheater adjacent to the land-marked Childs restaurant building to provide a permanent home to the concerts.

When asked if Adams could have done more to have the series continue uninterrupted, Markowitz said it is up to his successor to pick his own priorities.

“It’s important to understand that just because something was important to Marty Markowitz doesn’t mean it’s going to be important to the next one,” Markowitz said. just like there were things I did that [former Beep] Howie Golden didn’t do. Eric Adams is under no obligation to carry on anything that I did.”

Markowitz started the free concert series in Midwood Field, outside of Edward R. Murrow High School, in 1978, while he was serving in the state Senate. He later moved it to Coney Island’s Asser Levy Park, running the events through a private organization. They received both public funding and corporate sponsorship, and were attended by thousands each year.

But they were not without controversy. In 2008, Markowitz proposed building an amphitheater with a much-mocked potato chip-shaped roof in the park as a permanent home for the performances — triggering a successful lawsuit by Brighton Beach residents, who convinced a judge that the concerts violated city statutes by having amplified sound too close to a pair of synagogues.

As a result, the shows were exiled to a cramped lot at W. 21st Street and Surf Avenue in 2011 — much to fans’ chagrin.

Markowitz succeeded last year in getting city — if not neighborhood — approval for another amphitheater to be built into the landmark Childs Building. The administrator of a local panel expects the concerts will resume after construction on the new venue wraps up in 2015.

Community Board 13 District Manager Chuck Reichenthal wondered if perhaps the shows — which last year featured acts such as Cheap Trick, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Smokey Robinson — might lack the necessary funding and organization to continue after Markowitz’s departure from elected office in January.

“They were Marty’s baby,” said Reichenthal.

No chance, Markowitz said.

“The good news is the music will always go on in Coney Island. There just may be one year where things go a little quiet.”

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018: Quotes from Marty Markowitz added along with context.
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Reasonable discourse

Creature from the Black Lagoon says:
And in their absence, the borough realized it never noticed the concerts--or the portly, once-indicted pol former salesman who used the events to feather his own nest--were ever there.

April 24, 2014, 1:23 am
Serena Oliver from Bay Ridge says:
Sad. Just sad that another time honored tradition bringing the community together is gone.
April 24, 2014, 12:38 pm
Tony from Park Slope says:
Where exactly does the text of the article say that "the music died" or that the series was "gone." Get a grip on reality. The community asked that the concert series be moved from Asser Levy Park. It was. During the subsequent years, when the concerts were produced over by Ray Stark Arena, concert-goers complained. The city is now building a new amphitheater, and restoring an historic boardwalk building in the process, to permanently accommodate the concerts. Therefore, the series is on hold until construction is completed. Is that so hard to understand? The sensationalist head line aside, try reading the article and getting the whole story. Lazy and uninformed commentary does you no service.

I also have to agree with "Creature...". Having a year off from Markowitz's bleating self-promotion is a welcome relief. Never has a do-nothing politician with such a low standard of ethics ever appropriated the amount of public money for his continuous campaigning as the disgraceful former Borough President. Good riddance for this.
April 24, 2014, 1:35 pm
Mendez from Trump Village says:
Brighton Beach residents were successful in getting the concerts relocated, but the once beautiful Asser Levy Park is now poorly maintained and overrun with homeless people. I won't even walk my dog there anymore. As long as certain people get what they want…..SMH
April 25, 2014, 7:59 am
assignment for Will says:
Markowitz had a nonprofit organization that raised money for the concerts.
What happened to it?
Is Adams raising money for that organization? Is Markowitz?
Who's paying for the concerts at Wingate Field that will go on?
Please check into all this.
April 25, 2014, 8:35 am
jerry from brighton beach says:
@ Mendez from Trump Village........

The reason that Asser Levy Park was poorly maintained was very simple....Markowitz said & is quoted in numerous reports that he would not put a dime into the Asser Levy Park unless he got his way on the Amphitheater. Since he lost the case in the courts he kept his promise.
The new Councilman Chaim Deustch had a Town Hall meeting last month in Trump Village Community Room & will get the money together to revamp the Park, starting with the kids playground. The Councilman is doing what an elected official does, serve the public, not what Markowitz did & that was a " Self serving " political hack !
April 25, 2014, 9:18 am
Joe from Windsor Terrace says:
Will the Martin Luther King concert series still go on?
April 26, 2014, 7:42 pm
ex tourism employee at NYC & Co from all the boros says:
Marty is now being overpaid at NYC & Company and this agency known for having political hacks and wasting tax payers money could easily host concerts around the boroughs. Instead they don't promote small businesses, there marketing dept. is a joke and there membership director Kelly Curtis is geographically challenged and has ignored small restaurant businesses for years. She has ignored staten island, the bronx. This agency should help promote music venue activities instead the mayor cut a deal to make Markowtiz an employee...
April 27, 2014, 2 pm
ML from Gravesend says:
The new Mayor simply dropped the ball or didn't feel inclined enough to care for a 2014 Concert Series in Coney I. Construction has nothing to do it with. Yes, the construction is right next door, but the workers either don't work past 5 pm (most of the time) or could have been told to stop by whatever time, once a week for the summer concert series. I'm on the boardwalk a few times a week and there isn't a heck of a lot of constuction or noise when I'm there from either late morning or afternoon. Yes, Markowitz had an endless parade of cronies come up to stage before the concert or he acknowledged them in the crowd and everybody in the audience hated it. I say it was a small price to pay for a GREAT live concert series. In recent years i have seen Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, Squeeze, and many more. All for free or $5 for a seat. The new Mayorial regime could have used this to endear themselves to Coney Island and all the other communties that people travel from to see great, free concerts and they didn't. They should have continued the tradition.
April 29, 2014, 9:43 am
Michael From Coney from Coney Island says:
I hate to burst some bubbles but this is totally political. It has nothing to do with the new mayor.. I had worked the MLK concerts as well as the Thursday concerts at Midwood Field and Asher Levy. Marty got away with lots of things. One of the thing he was supposed to do was take open bids when using public funding for the sound and lights. I tried for 4 years to get bids in and his office said they didn't accept bids because they were also accepting private sponsorship. Over the year the qualilty and amount of show have gone down till the Seaside shows moved to Steeplechase Park. As far as construction goes is not an issue. The stage being used was from Mountain Stages and could be set up anywhere in the park . So that is a non issue. What we have is the fact Marty has his hands in the pockets of the group doing the reconstruction of the Loews Kings Theater at Church and Flatbush Ave. A $70 million dollar project that has gone over $92 Million. Marty was a big factor in getting the money for this. The M in Marty is MONEY. Anyone could have come in and promoted the shows but Marty owns the name Seaside Summer Concerts and an exclusive of use of the park on Thursdays but i am not sure about the rest of the week. There is absolutely no reason why there can't be concerts this summer other then Marty standing in the way
April 29, 2014, 10:03 pm
CR from Coney Island says:
Michael from Coney is 1000% correct. Marty Markowitz has been taking "under the table money" for YEARS, and his shows were another one of his "acts" to collect more political donations and crony cash from sponsors and other big businesses.

ML from Gravesend - The Mayor's office had nothing to do with the Brooklyn concerts. This was a production from the Brooklyn boro prez's office. In addition to the private sponsorships, public funding that was provided came from the Boro prez's office and the Councilmember's and/or State assembly member's discretionary funds.
May 29, 2014, 3:09 pm
Helen says:
Whatever the real reason is why there is not going to be any concerts this year in coney Island is a shame, because I know that me and my freinds are going to miss the concerts I have been going to them for the past 30 years
June 10, 2014, 1:14 pm
bustybombshellny from bensonhurst says:
this is horrible all good things gone nothing to look forward to now why do they have to ruin all good things
June 14, 2014, 2:14 pm
bustybombshellny from bensonhurst says:
yea government
you suck
June 14, 2014, 2:15 pm
Buttercup from Gowanus says:
So sorry to hear this! I thought this was terrific and went all the time! Great Acts! I appreciated that and Marty for putting this together for the community. I hope it comes back!!!
June 24, 2014, 9:58 am
Marvin from East Flatbush says:
ML from Gravesend. How did you see Aretha Franklin when she cancelled two days before the show because she fell"
Other than that, Marty Markowitz is a self serving hack who fooled a LOT of people over the years with his dishonesty. The people around Wingate Park have been complaining for 30 year about the noise, vandalism and crime that the Martin Luther King Jr. concerts have brought to the neighborhood. BUT one night a couple of years ago, while on the stage with Chuck Schumer, Mike Bloomberg and a few others, he stated that he would like to THANK the residents of the area for "NEVER COMPLAINING, NOT ONCE IN THIRTY YEARS FOR THE CONCERTS IN WINGATE PARK" He is a blatant LIAR. He is the most unethical self serving political hack to ever hold office in NYC. He's a LIAR.
July 5, 2014, 5:37 pm
lenny from queens ny says:
We are so sorry about hearing no concert in. Coney island this year.hope they bring it back soon
July 6, 2014, 10:24 pm
denise woody from bedford Stuyvesant says:
I am sorry there is not CONCERT for coney island but we need to have something to look forward to that will help people forget f o r a moment about No jobs high rent crime areas neighborhoods and it brings people together with any major problems its feels like a family reunion for one NIGHT I work nites a very stressful job so those Monday shows help me to relax and g e t ready to start my work week Please don't disappoint us we voted to support you now it's time to keep your promise Thank you sorry for long statement but the phone number can't take anymore messages Before I was always able to talk to someone when Marty was in office
July 10, 2014, 10:55 am
R Love from flatbush says:
What I'm not understanding is how so many can try kicking Marty's back in when there are so many crooked politicians in the world.... He's not perfect he's human. The concerts gives us as a people something to look forward to... A lot of us doesn't get the chance to go to a paid concert so if & keeping it on the I can go & see a nice concert for free with a performance just as good as if I paid, I'm in there. For all those who feel or felt Marty put money into his pockets then you're just MAD because u didn't have the mind frame to do it first. I LOVE YOU MARTY. See you all in 2015,
Aug. 1, 2014, 8:44 am
Alisa from Willamsburgh says:
Things wll never be the same. Asser Levy park days in my two decades of remembering and memories once there are gone, having frankiw valley , jay andthe americans, beach boys, three dog night, Diana Ross, john legend, the commodores and more
Nov. 2, 2014, 11:42 am

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