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City to Marty: Your concerts are too noisy!

The Brooklyn Paper
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Borough President Markowitz’s concert series in Coney Island is in violation of a city noise law passed this summer — and opponents are calling on Mayor Bloomberg to honor his promise to shut down the controversial performances.

The new noise law — which was pushed through the City Council because Markowitz’s concerts had been violating the previous noise code for decades — stipulated that the concerts could not exceed normal ambient sound level by 10 decibels within 15 feet of two synagogues on the edge of Asser Levy Park.

But the shows do, said Diana Murray, a city lawyer.

“Readings taken by city personnel level on performances on July 29 and Aug. 5 indicated sound levels above the permitted level,” Murray wrote to a lawyer for concert opponents.

Those opponents have dispatched their own noise-reading expert, who confirmed the city findings. According to opponents’ data, the concerts exceeded the ambient sound level of about 58 dBA — comparable to a normal conversation — by 20 to 32 dBAs — making the sound near the synagogues comparable to a passing truck.

“They’re taking away our serenity and our services,” said Mendy Sontag, the president of the Sea Breeze Jewish Center. “They can’t even adhere to their own rule!”

The noise finding put Markowitz’s concerts in Coney Island in immediate jeopardy, though there is only one event, a Latino music festival, remaining this year. Still, it is quite likely the sound will be noticeably lower.

“The promoter has been advised that should their amplified sound exceed the permitted levels at the next concert … the concert may be shut down,” Murray wrote.

Apparently, this week, Markowitz’s music makers complied — and now there are complaints that they complied too much, as some concertgoers left Thursday night’s B-52s performance frustrated about the lowered volume.

But opponents said that the change vindicated them.

“They admitted their concerts exceeded the noise level, they need to follow the law,” said Ida Sanoff, who is part of a lawsuit to block Markowitz’s larger dream: a $64-million amphitheater on the Asser Levy Park site.

Bloomberg had pushed through the “10 decibel” law this summer to accommodate Markowitz’s concert series, which had apparently been violating city noise law for decades. Before the new law, amplified sound was illegal within 500 feet of a house of worship — though the law was never enforced against Markowitz.

Now, it would seem that Markowitz’s concerts have reached a crossroads — one that will require new legislation or fancy sound deflection — to keep the speakers from going to 11.

The sound showdown also raises questions about the feasibility of Markowitz’s proposed amphitheater in Asser Levy Park, which is slated to be built in 2012.

“They’ve proven that the amphitheater should not be built because they can’t adhere to their 10-decibel rule,” said Sontag.

Updated 5:19 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Eddie Mazz from Bay Ridge says:
Went to the B 52's last night, the $5 seats was the best deal. It was the only place you heard the Music! By the end of the show everyone was shouting "Crank it Up!!" I even witnessed the sound guy get cursed out!
Aug. 20, 2010, 1:45 am
whoa from Queens says:
Pearl, I had no idea!

Hope there's another performance like that one; I'll do my best not to miss it!
Aug. 20, 2010, 8:18 am
kenny from brighton beach says:
@Eddie Mazz

I agree with you. I was probably one of those cursing out the sound guy. It was way , way too low !
But I guess his hands were tied. He couldn't do much. The boss was probably telling them to keep lowering the volume so that it would try conform to the new sound law. It was a bust.
I walked out early on this concert. Probably the only one who was able to hear it clearly & what a concert should be like was Marty Markowitz & friends who sat right up front in rows 1 & 2.
Hey, I want my $ 5 dollars back. Who do I call, Brooklyn Borough Hall ?
Aug. 20, 2010, 9:19 am
TM from Windsor Terrace says:
@kenny - why not ask for your refund from the synagogues? They're the ones who forced the low volume.
Aug. 20, 2010, 9:51 am
matt from kensignton says:
That is funny because I went to B-52s last night and thought that the volume was WAY to low.
Aug. 20, 2010, 9:54 am
bdaddy7171 from Midwood says:
I too went last night to the B-52's and thought that the music also was too low. You couldn't hear Fred Schneider even talking, let alone hear the music too well.

On a side note, much kuddo's to Belinda Carlisle!!! Her nband missed their flight out of Boston and she had to perform with 2 backup singers to taped recordings of her songs. It was almost karaokesque. But she did a great job and her voice still sounds awesome.
P.S. need I say that her volume waseven lower than the B-52's were.
Aug. 20, 2010, 10:23 am
kenny from brighton beach says:
@ TM

It sounds like you're a anti-semite. This has nothing to do with the synagogues. This a is LAW !
If the concert promoter doesn't like the new law because he has to comply with the sound levels. Get a new Venue ! Or even better tell Marty Markowitz that he's fed up with these restrictions & get a new promoter & a new venue.

I still want Marty to mail me back a check or did he spend my $ 5 already?
Aug. 20, 2010, 10:37 am
Floyd from Brighton Beach says:
The Asser Levy Park surroundings are primarily residential and are unsuitable for loud concerts. It was ok when Brighton was a prairie but today it is fully developed and a more suitable location should be found to hold such concerts. Brookly is a large borough and with a little imagination the Borough President could produce a better venue for loud rock music that he promotes.
Aug. 20, 2010, 1:47 pm
Brenden from Greenpoint says:
We left the concert because the people next to us TALKING actually wer louder than the band.
MARTY - Please move the concerts to Greenpoint where
the music will be more greatly appreciated.
Aug. 21, 2010, 8:14 am
thhy from park slope says:
Markowitz twiddles all about Brooklyn as if it were his own backyard. He's a blowhard and has complete disregard for those that disagree with him.

Asser Levy Park was never an appropriate place for these concerts, especially with Keyspan Park sitting in the middle of an empty field with ample room for these concerts.

Markowitz would spend millions on his boondoggle amphitheater for one purpose: to have his name hoisted above it as a monument to his lackluster performance as Borough President.

Time to give him the heave-ho.
Aug. 21, 2010, 5:20 pm
Chana from Brighton says:
This has less to do with the synagogues and more to do with the thousands of bedroom windows just outside the park.
Aug. 23, 2010, 9 am
Brooklyn Boy from Prospect Heights says:
I don't like elected officials ignoring local laws any more than the rest of you on this board, but I do enjoy the concert series. maybe a new location is the answer.

I'm also curious to know if anyone, especially brooklyn paper, knows how the labor day concerts can go as late as 3am? The West Indian American Carnival Association puts these on every year and advertise these late night concerts on their own website.

If the Borough President, and Celebrate Brooklyn, can only amplify sound outside until a particular time (and now decibel), how is it that WIACDA can go all night? Like the parks, this is city owned land and I would presume that it is subject to the same laws as the Borough President.

Any ideas out there?
Aug. 23, 2010, 9:58 am
Alan from Brighton/Coney says:
I started the "crank it up" chant. my girlfriend and I were really looking forward to this show and it was ruined. I live a block from the venue, as does my father across the street from me. I can understand if some people (who would be difficult to describe as anything nicer than "uncool," which is their American right to be) are bothered by the sound.

But really...in the grand scheme of things, is a few hours of music, once a week, a mere 7 weeks out of the year too much to deal with for something that brings so much joy to so many people and gives a faded neighborhood some much needed cache as a summer destination.

Do we want to live somewhere that was only once great many years ago and is now a retirement community or are we trying to breathe life into it? i certainly hope the latter.
Sept. 2, 2010, 12:06 am
No Sleep in Brooklyn from Prospect Heights says:
The Brooklyn Museum concerts on the four preceding days before Labor Day are a loud and raucous mess to anyone living in a wide hearing range in Prospect Heights. Thursday night's concert lasted past 1:30am, blasting not only to concert goers, but to everyone else. Only caffeine got me through the day of work on Friday. Friday night, a similar scenario, except that it went on to 3:15 am. I also went to WIADCA's site, and noted, I was slated to be harassed tonight and tomorrow night until 3am. Calls to 311 are duly logged, sent to the 78th precinct. Calls to the precinct are politely answered. I sent a message via the WIADCA website, and am waiting for any reply. Residents of Prospect Heights cannot get any sleep for four days, but it seems our concerns are falling on deaf ears. With all respect to laws to mitigate the sound levels in Asser Levy Park concerts, it seems there is a double standard where it concerns Prospect Heights and the concerts at the Brooklyn Museum.
Sept. 4, 2010, 11:18 pm

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