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.