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City moves to find operator for Marty’s ‘Potato Chip’ ampitheater

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Borough President Markowitz’s controversial Coney Island amphitheater hasn’t even been approved yet, but the city is acting as if the fat lady has already sung.

On Thursday, the Parks Department announced that it is seeking proposals from venue operators to run the new, $64-million amphitheater slated to be built inside Asser Levy Park in Coney Island by 2012.

The agency’s formal “Request for Expressions of Interest” calls on prospective operators to “include year-round uses for the facility” and operate “10 designated locations for food carts, and three separate areas for food service, a commissary … and food storage containers.”

The venue must also generate “enough revenue — including food concessions — to cover the cost of both programming and maintenance” while “maintaining the same level of free concerts already offered at the current band shell” by the borough president.

Despite such a big operation, the project is not going through the city’s normal land-use review process because there is already an operating, though far smaller, band shell currently on the site.

Still, the city’s Design Commission has said it will not sign off on the project until an “environmen­tal assessment” has been completed. It’s unclear when that will be, but the Parks Department is going ahead in seeking an operator, offering a site tour on April 16 and a bidding deadline of May 7.

Markowitz has said that his amphitheater will be a Westbury Music Festival-style, covered outdoor concert venue that will be part of a reinvigorated Coney Island.

But nearby residents have opposed the project from the outset, charging that the plan is far too ambitious inside a quiet, 22-acre park, surrounded by residences and at least two synagogues.

Opponents have consistently taken their protest to Community Board 13, which has not weighed in — mostly because half of the board’s 50 members are appointed by the borough president, foes say.

“We have $64 million for an unwanted and illegal amphitheater while the Fire Department is called upon to reduce its budget by $64 million,” local resident Paul Sternblitz cried.

Opponents are still hanging their hopes on a city ordinance that prohibits amplified sound within 500 feet of an active school or religious institution. But Markowitz’s current summertime concert series includes amplified sound, so it’s unclear if the ordinance can be invoked.

The current design of the building, by Grimshaw Architects, is being called “The Potato Chip” because of its curved, saddle-like design.

— additional reporting by Michele De Meglio

Updated 5:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

judahSpechal from Bedstuy says:
Another anti-development rant???? Why don't you just touch all of NYC with your magic wand and slap us all bac to Mayberry? Unbelievable! Certainly anything is better than that piece of concrete slab that's there.
March 26, 2010, 4:53 pm
jerry from brighton beach says:
First of all the Seaside/ Asser Levy Park is only 6 acres, not 22 acres. The proposed " Marty Markowitz" Amphitheater will be taking over more than 3 acres of this Park, leaving Open Space to nil.
The Community doesn't want this project but the "KING" Marty Markowitz says to the Communikty F#$k you, I'll do what I want & the hell with what the commmunity wants. I know better.
Hey Marty we live here, you don't. You don't have to put up with the traffic jams, the public safety issues, etc. etc.
Marty would rather have this Amphitheater, even if it means cutting Fire, Police & Education funding. Let the city burn, let public safety suffer, but build my Amphitheater.
In addition , you are VIOLATING the LAW. No Sound permits to be issued within 500 feet of the synagogues when there are serices. Well Marty we have service more than just on Fridays & Saturdays. We pray at my synagogue 7 days a week, not only on weekends.
The law only applies to the peasants not King Marty.
See you court Marty. We'll let the legal system figure this out.
March 27, 2010, 3 pm
Shlemiel Hossenfeffer from brighton Beach says:
Why don't you just touch all of NYC with your magic wand and slap us all bac to Mayberry?"

WTF??? ANy real NYer knows that the city has bent over backwards for developers and corporations for the last 8 years. How many new hi-rises in how many neighborhoods? How many neighborhoods rezoned for hi-rises in the past 8 years (a lot)? How many stadiums have been built in the past 10 years (4)? How many millions in tax breaks for developers?
Any one who claims NYC is a nimby town is a greedy developer or an idiot. Which are you Judah?
March 31, 2010, 3:12 pm

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