Summer simmer: Williamsburg leaders want crackdown on concerts

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

A local panel is going after a popular summer concert series, demanding that the sponsors of the East River State Park jams clean up and quiet down its acts.

Members of Community Board 1 say the concerts, held at the park for the last two years, are too loud and attract overbearing crowds that litter nearby streets with garbage, and that’s too much to bear for people living nearby — some of whom leave town when a weekend show is coming up.

“The entire area is just devastated,” said CB1 member Del Teague. “If you can’t get out of the neighborhood, your weekend is ruined. There are so many people, you can’t walk through the streets.”

Now, the board, which already wants to stop new neighborhood businesses from getting liquor licenses, says it wants the state to clamp down on promoters who let things get out of hand.

“There must be a way to minimize disruptions,” said CB1 member Esteban Duran. “We need to get creative and look at different ways to manage the crowd.”

Duran suggested that regulating the time concerts and ensuring concert-goers leave via Metropolitan Avenue instead of narrower residential streets would be a good start toward solving the problem.

But the concerts’ head organizer, Open Space Alliance director Stephanie Thayer, said there are already scores of police officers on surrounding streets to maintain order during and after concerts, and the stage has already been moved to reduce ambient noise — even though she hasn’t received many complaints.

“We’ve entertained hundreds of thousand of people, raised funding for our parks and received almost no complaints,” said Thayer, who is planning 15 more concerts at the park this summer.

And many community leaders, including Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D-Greenpoint), credit the concerts for keeping the park open when state parks officials wanted to close it down. So far, the Open Space Alliance has paid $290,000 to the state — money which is being used to add solar lighting to the park.

“The concert series has helped maintain funding for the East River State Park during these tough fiscal times,” said Lentol.

Concerts have been held on the waterfront since 2009, when the city began its $50-million renovation of its previous venue, the McCarren Park Pool.

And controversy over the series is nothing new.

Open Space Alliance has fought with its chief promoter, JellyNYC, over the concert’s management — canceling shows due to unpaid bills.

And Williamsburg waterfront residents have been simmeringsover the crowds that end up traipsing through the streets during the past two summers.

“When they leave, they leave bottles, cans, condoms, and they urinate on our trees,” said Jane Wolowacz, a N. Eighth Street resident. “It’s impossible for senior citizens to sit in front of the back yard and enjoy the day.”

This isn’t the first time CB1 has gone after the hard-partying neighborhood’s nightlife industry.

Earlier this week, CB1 leaders also proposed a moratorium on all new liquor licenses in the neighborhood — which would curtail the flow of new bars and restaurants into it.

Updated 5:23 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Hopper from Los S-S says:
15 concerts this Summer? I thought there were only 12 weekends in what's traditionally called "Summer."
Good God! I'm glad I didn't pay a 1/2 Million to live in a teenybopper cesspool. All those people who live down there are World-Class Suckers. It's really too bad for the older generation but I guess they have the option of selling to some OTHER Sucker in the endless line of Suckers and moving to Florida.
April 15, 2011, 6:46 am
Jane from BR says:
“It’s impossible for senior citizens to sit in front of the back yard and enjoy the day.”

why wouldn't they sit "in" the back yard instead of "in front" of it?
April 15, 2011, 9:07 am
bigO from BK says:
I think they should just remove the concerts and rebook them in one of the other summer stage areas of the city (or cancel them).. then when all the businesses in the area loose tons of money from all the hungry and thirsty visitors CB1 can hear their complaints.
April 15, 2011, 9:14 am
BayRidger from Bay Ridge says:
Funny comments thus far. I have two Q's not covered in the article. First, what TIME do the concerts end? If it's 10:00 PM or earlier, that seems reasonable enough. I'm guessing the crowd disperses quickly with police presence and if they go to their favorite watering holes, so be it. Good for business.

Second, the garbage, I agree, is a nuisance. But if it's anything like the Shore Rd Promenade during the summer, there aren't enough garbage cans and it remains there and overflows until the next pickup during the week. What about asking the crowd to pick up after themselves and handle out plastic garbage bags? I bet what remains will be a lot less than what's left behind now. Just a thought.
April 15, 2011, 9:18 am
Don't live the 'Burg from Not 11211 says:
“It’s impossible for senior citizens to sit in front of the back yard and enjoy the day.”

so, they partygoer's in the people's backyards, are the screwing-peeing-non-recycling type?

isn't that trespassing?
April 15, 2011, 9:22 am
Sajh from NYC says:
The issues here are no different than the complaints by the stage in Coney Island. However here, the issues is proximity. A concert in the center of Central Park (summer stage) is far enough away from buildings. This stage is literally within throwing distance of residential buildings. It's not the right location for a music concert stage of any kind.
April 15, 2011, 9:39 am
LOLcat from Park Slope says:
Maybe CB should be less concerned with people enjoying themselves 15 days a year, and more concerned with the ridiculous overcrowding (subway, sewers, schools) going on due to mass condo construction.
April 15, 2011, 10:09 am
bigO from bk says:
Maybe if people don't like it that citizens of a city like to gather for fun events in their own city, those people should move OUT of the city and sit in a house in suburbs where it's quiet and they'll never have to see another person again.
April 15, 2011, 10:19 am
EES from Greenpoint says:
I can usually hear the distorted music in Greenpoint. It's usually loud enough to drown out my TV or stereo. I can just imagine how bad it is near the venue. If I lived there, I'd be tempted to beat the musicians or their loudspeakers with a bat. Maybe they should turn it down a few decibels.

Hey "bigO", if I could afford to live in the burbs, I wouldn't hesitate to get the hell out N. Brooklyn and leave it to the hipster pinheads.

There's nothing wrong with having a good time as long as you're considerate of the people around you.
April 15, 2011, 12:17 pm
Hopper from Los S-S says:
Hey big "O" where do you live I'm gonna come over and practice on my 5,000 watt tuba amplifier in front of your place.
April 15, 2011, 12:33 pm
bigO from bk says:
I live near the BQE.. it's LOUD! a tuba would be nice in comparison..

1200$ two bedrooms in Nassau county.. walking distance to trains. It's quiet.. so leave and go live there.
April 15, 2011, 12:58 pm
G from Greenpoint says:
If I recall, the concerts usually end by 8pm. They are fun and free, and the crowds are peaceful. I live nearby, I can hear them in my apartment, and I welcome the life and youthful feeling which the concerts have been bringing to the neighborhood.
All you party poopers, I don't know, move to Queens or the Slope, or wherever - or just get out of the house, have a beer and go hear the music and watch the people. It's summer in New York for cryin' out loud.
April 16, 2011, 12:22 am
willygirl from Williamsburg says:
The people in Williamsburg who are being invaded, are the people who have been here for decades. And no they don't need to go anywhere! The invasion of the Northside is disgusting. Everytime I come to the Northside I thank god I don't live there. These kids have absolutely no respect of anyone or anything. Why don't they go somewhere else and give us back our neighborhood
April 16, 2011, 5:17 pm
bigO from bk says:
Ha Willygirl! that is the most naive view of NY. If you go back just a few decades you would see how gentrification in NYC is a natural occurrence that is a fundamental characteristic of NYC and makes it different from any other city in the world. Upper East side was all Eastern European. Areas of Queens that were mainly Jewish and Anglo are now all middle eastern and hispanic. There were barely any asians in Jamaica.. and Little Italy actually had Italians in it. Its insulting that people claim to be true NYer's and are so ignorant of the core values of this amazing city. And to top it off.. at what point in history did adults not have the viewpoint.. "These kids have absolutely no respect of anyone or anything." laughable.
April 17, 2011, 10:43 am
NR from Williamsburg says:
Of course, all this is happening because the OSA started a disinformation campaign on the planned Greenpoint Night Bazaar, for fear that it would take attention away from their piss-poor hipster-overrun waterfront concerts.

See what happens when you act like a bunch of douchebags, OSA? You deserve all the negative publicity you get.
April 17, 2011, 4:21 pm
Jenny from Greenpoint says:
Condoms? For reals old lady?
Like all these crazy young people are just doing it out in the open on the way to a show and back!
Give me a break.

And the concerts are a couple hours. That leaves you PLENTY of time to enjoy the front your your backyard.
April 18, 2011, 3:17 pm
resident from Williamsburg says:
Quit crying, I own a place in the neighborhood and pay taxes like you all, and I personally love enjoying the concerts in the summertime. If it were up to you all, it would be a nanny state of 7 year olds in some communist type community. Get over yourself and pretend you're young once in a while. It's summertime for God sake. Be happy the businesses are making $$$$!
April 18, 2011, 9:24 pm
resident from Williamsburg says:
Sorry, 70 year olds. Nothing wrong with that, just don't impose this spoiler attitude on a young wealthy community. Be happy it's young and not old and abandoned like many American communities!
April 18, 2011, 9:26 pm
bigO from Bk says:
Well said resident..
I heard it's nice and quiet in Detroit these days.
April 19, 2011, 9:20 am
peter from park slope says:

The No- fun crowd always shows up.
12 evenings a year . really tough...
April 19, 2011, 10:13 am
Erik from williamsburg says:
Peace and quite is not a right in New York city. If you are going to live with 9 million other people you should be willing to make reasonable sacrifices to noise and foot traffic. You can't just decide that the public streets be quite and free from foot traffic.
May 15, 2011, 8:53 am
P-ED OFF from Williamsburg says:
I wish all these people would shut up and stop complaining. I love the concerts and love being able to walk to the shows. I've attended 2 concernts this year and the crowds were all very controlled and dispersed once they got to Bedford Ave well before 10pm. I didn't see anyone urinating or dropping off their condoms after a quickie on someone's front door step. (that's an old quote BTW-can't get any more salacious quotes can you Aaron?)
There is litter ALL OVER WBURG even without the concerts!
Its your neighborhood as much as it is mine. Find something else to complain about!
Aug. 17, 2011, 10:41 am
P-ED OFF from Williamsburg says:
And Esteban - Can you actually do something instead of complaining about everything ALL the time dude. Its boring. You talk a whole lot of BS bro.
Aug. 17, 2011, 10:45 am
Patio from WB says:
I live on North 8th St. and I love the concerts. It seems like there are bigger problems CB1 could be dealing with than trying to limit the entertainment opportunities in the neighborhood. If you feel you have to leave the neighborhood because the concert ruins your entire weekend I think you may be overly sensitive for Brooklyn living. This is a noisy dirty city. I have lived in WB for a long time as have many of those older folks. Trust me, it used to be dirtier.
May 4, 2012, 12:52 pm

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: