Group fights Marty’s ‘Potato chip’

The Brooklyn Paper
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More than 100 protesters rallied on Sunday in Coney Island to protest Borough President Markowitz’s plan for a $64-million amphitheater to replace the band shell in Asser Levy Park.

The protesters claim that Markowitz’s plan violates city law, which forbids amplified music within 500 feet of religious institutions, courts and schools. Two synagogues are within 300 feet of the planned 8,000-seat theater.

Markowitz has said the amphitheater is necessary not only for his own summertime concert series, but to lure beach band business away from concert venues at Jones Beach and in New Jersey.

“The renovation of Asser Levy Park will only enhance the surrounding community,” Markowitz said in a statement. “Residents will benefit from a new playground, park house and community facilities, in addition to upgrades throughout the park.

“Replacing Asser Levy’s antiquated band shell with a state-of-the-art one will ensure that free cultural programming remains in Coney Island,” he added.

But Al Turk, president of the 45-year-old Temple Beth Abraham, which is on Sea Breeze Avenue across the street from the proposed theater, complained that Markowitz’s amplified sound would violate city law — and ruin the Jewish Sabbath every Friday night in summer.

“Ask him this,” Turk said, “why does he think he’s above the law?”

Markowitz said he is not trying to skirt anything.

“No one is above the law,” he told The Brooklyn Paper in a statement. “As the project moves forward, it will be within the law.”

The amphitheater, called “The Potato Chip” because of its sloped roof, would be part of a larger renovation of Asser Levy Park, which has seen better days. The seating is removable, so that the parkland can be used when concerts are not being held.

That said, civil rights activist Norman Siegel supports the opposition.

“The law says that when the city government plans to change the use of public park land they must go through the land review process,” Siegel said.

“We will fight to make sure that the city and the borough president and the mayor follow the law.”

Updated 5:13 pm, July 9, 2018: Story was updated to add a new comment from Markowitz.
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Reasonable discourse

david from brighton beach says:
This is an issue of a politician out of control.
unlike jones beach this is a residential area.asher levy park is surrounded by houses and two jewish houses of worship. no one in the area wants this. so why is it being pushed down our throats
May 18, 2009, 3:38 pm
Tiger from brooklyn says:
Coney Island is a cesspool and it must be cleansed. This is the first step. Wake up and smell the seaweed people!
May 18, 2009, 3:59 pm
jerry from west brighton beach says:
Gersh : Who ever reported to you must be blind. It was more like 150 residents at this press conference not a handful.I met with the photographer of the Brooklyn Paper who was there, he knows damn well that there were way over 100-150 residents, including some 50 children who attend the Sunday school classes at one of the synagogues. Get your facts straight ! There are many more issues involved with venue other than the "500 foot law." There are also almost 1200 signatures from residents in the community who are against this 8000 seat Radio City size music venue. this is Marty's Vanity Project for Marty.
May 18, 2009, 4:52 pm
Scrupulous guy from Brooklyn says:
The law doesn't just forbid "amplified music within 500 feet of religious institutions, courts and schools," period.

It says "[t]he police commissioner shall not issue any permit for the use of a sound device or apparatus:
"1. In any location within five hundred feet of a school, courthouse or church, DURING THE HOURS OF SCHOOL, COURT OR WORSHIP, respectively."
Big difference!
May 18, 2009, 7:44 pm
Tony from Park Slope says:
This is a perfectly lovely park that Markowitz wants to turn into a private enterprise. How long before we hire concert promtoers and see rising ticket prices. Brooklynites should be outraged by the proposal.
May 18, 2009, 11:13 pm
Jackie Martling from Jokeland says:
Perhaps Atlantic Yards can be built here.
May 18, 2009, 11:51 pm
Laughing from B-Lyn says:
No one in Brooklyn *ever* wants *anything* in their backyard unless it's to their own personal specifications, is tailored *only* to their own interests and people who are exactly like themselves, and will (they think) keep things that way forever, throughout all eternity.
May 19, 2009, 1:03 am
Isis from Coney Island says:
Your reporter really underestimated the number of people who were present. I counted almost TWO HUNDRED PEOPLE, which is a heck of a lot more than the "handful" that you reported.

Folks who do not live in the area have no idea how miserable life becomes for us on concert nights. Try putting your kids to sleep with a full blast concert going on right outside their bedroom.
May 19, 2009, 9:05 am
Jerry from Brighton says:
Uhhh, has anyone noticed that this thing has a sound-containing ROOF, so isn't just a big open bandshell or stadium??

And lighten up; whenever there's a protest, people insist that their group was undercounted. The number usually is someplace in between (and w/neighborhood issues, it isn't even relevant past a certain point, since it's so easy to pad out the crowd w/nonlocals).
I also don't count kids as part of any adult protest mix - kids just hear adults' awfulizing, then show up b/c adults told them to.
May 20, 2009, 12:17 am
Isis from Coney Island says:
The ROOF will not touch the walls. The roof will be 110 feet high - as tall as a 10 story building. The walls will be only 10-12 feet high, so for all practical purposes, this will be an OPEN bandshell. They're basically spending millions for a fancy umbrella.

And as far as non-locals "padding out the crowd" that did not happen here - we all knew each other from the neighborhood.
May 20, 2009, 11:09 pm
Anon from Carroll Gardens says:
Marty is like Bloomy - ignore the people, kill the parks (hey, why not put condos in this park, too?), lie about the schools, build baby build. About the only thing you can do is VOTE THESE GUYS OUT OF OFFICE.
May 21, 2009, 12:28 pm
Jerry from Brighton says:
Isis from Coney Island says: "The ROOF will not touch the walls. The roof will be 110 feet high - as tall as a 10 story building. The walls will be only 10-12 feet high,"

I think you mean that the BUILDING will be 110 feet high. So that 'opening' would be 10 stories above anyone's head, and wouldn't be entirely 'open,' since specs say that the roof's gonna hover over the whole stage area and 5k of the 8k seats.
What matters isn't how big or how attached, but how good the gizmo is at containing sound. But no one seems to regard that as worthy of consideration.

As for crowds - again, every protest group feels undercounted. I've BELONGED to groups that felt undercounted. But even though 'my' group is 100% real, I can't expect outsiders to know and totally believe that!
May 23, 2009, 10:30 pm
brighton beach co-op owner from brighton beach says:
let marty markowitz build his amphitheater in his own back yard so he can reap the benefits of violating the law, violating religious services rights, violating school rights, and total devaluation of property values.

let marty markowitz also reap the rewards of more traffic, noise, traffic jams, garbage pick ups and the host of other numerous problems this horrific amphitheater will bring to whatever neighborhood has the miserable misfortune of having the amphitheater built.

we have enough parking problems and traffic when beache season opens. but to have this amphitheater monster year round would be a grave mistake, and a most unwelcome project to befall the brighton beach community.

no amphitheater should be built in a residential neighborhood, and we like our beachfront property to not devalue, also appreciate our peace and quiet and DO NOT WANT ANY AMPHITHEATER BUILT IN ASHER LEVY SEASIDE PARK.

our brighton beach community and citizens paid top dollar to purchase beach front apartments and also pay high taxes to live here, as do others like homeowners, renters.... so let marty markowitz wake up to the fact that this amphitheater dream he has envisioned will not benefit our brighton beach community, but rather destroy it.

let marty markowitz come up with funds desperately needed to ensure each beach bay has a lifeguard, so that the brighti,on twin towers co-op complex at 40 brighton 1 road and their beach bays do not continually remain closed monday through friday when beach season opens. for years we have asked for a fair rotation, and yet marty markowitz refuses to consider that, and that is unfair to our brighton towers complex residents as well as neighboring residents who continually find their beach bays closed during the week. also there are more projects in need of funding which would really benefit our brighton beach neighborhood, but the amphitheater is definitely not one of them. use that money for more common sense neighborhood related beneficial projects, as opposed to marty markowitz' amphitheater pipe dream.
April 22, 2010, 10:06 am
Janet from Brooklyn says:
This park belongs to the city and the taxpayers even if they don't live in the surrounding area. These concerts have been going on for a very long time. Why now all the hoopla? They are only for 1 month or so. How can a few old folks think they have the right to stop this?

I support the concerts all the way!
June 1, 2011, 5:10 pm

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