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Judge sides with Markowitz’s foes — but Council rule change allows summer concerts

The Brooklyn Paper
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A judge last Wednesday ruled that Borough President Markowitz’s summer concerts may violate a city anti-noise law — but the ruling blocking this year’s series is effectively moot thanks to a just-passed Council bill that excepts the very concerts from noise code restrictions.

“The show will go on,” Markowitz promised after the meaningless injunction was delivered by Judge Kenneth Sherman.

Mayor Bloomberg has promised to sign the Council bill — which exempts Markowitz’s Seaside Summer Concert Series in Coney Island’s Asser Levy Park from restrictions barring amplified music within 500 feet of a house of worship — on July 12, three days before Markowitz dons his trademark white tuxedo and introduces Neil Sedaka and Brenda Lee for the concert kickoff.

The Council maneuver was designed to thwart a June 17 lawsuit filed by members of two synagogues — Temple Beth Abraham and Sea Breeze Jewish Center — that are within 500 feet of the Asser Levy Park band shell.

Still, Markowitz’s opponents did claim victory on Wednesday, arguing that the court ruling at least confirms that they were right about a noise law that Markowitz has been violating for 19 years in Asser Levy Park.

“The injunction validates what we’ve been saying all along — the concerts are illegal,” said Norman Siegel, attorney for the plaintiffs suing the borough president.

The lawsuit against Markowitz is after larger game: blocking the borough president’s plans to construct a $64-million amphitheater inside Asser Levy Park that critics say is a “monstrosity” that will chew up their sole recreation space and overwhelm their quiet corner of Coney Island with noise.

“Maybe Markowitz will grow up one day and realize he’s making a mistake,” said Mendy Sontag, president of the Sea Breeze Jewish Center.

But Markowitz has slammed his critics right back, saying that their lawsuit is an attempt to hold his concert series “hostage,” and would deprive Brooklyn of a popular form of entertainment.

Upcoming shows include the Beach Boys (July 22), George Thorogood and the Destroyers (July 29), and Aretha Franklin (Aug. 12).

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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