The new greatest show on Earth may be Borough President Markowitz’s Coney Island summer music series.
The Beep is reportedly hoping to relocate his “Seaside Concerts” to the W. 21st Street parking lot that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus abandoned after a two-year run. The planned relocation, first reported by NY1, was expected after the city formally booted the controversial weekly shows from Asser Levy Park last month after noise complaints — and a lawsuit — from neighbors.
Those same neighbors were hailing the relocation this week.
“It’s a win-win for everybody,” said Ida Sanoff, one of the plaintiffs in the pending suit, which argued that Markowitz and the city violated noise rules barring amplified sound near houses of worship.
But the newly located concert series is much farther from the two synagogues in question, and sits just to the west of the already-amplified MCU Park, whose Cyclones baseball team will have no problem batting to a rock ’n’ roll soundtrack, according to spokesman Steve Cohen.
“It’s the more the merrier in Coney Island,” Cohen said.
But there is at least one neighbor who may pose a problem for the Seaside Concert Series: The Greater Eternal Light Church, whose website lists a Surf Avenue location that’s across the street from the planned venue.
Like the two synagogues that filed the lawsuit, the church could claim that the concerts are too close to its building, as city law says amplified music cannot be within 500 feet of houses of worship. The farthest point of the lot is about 500 feet from the church, though the closest point is about 160 feet, according to a measurement taken by this newspaper.
“We do have evening programming, so there is a possibility that we could hear the concerts,” said Pastor Robert Moe. “Occasionally, the circus got a bit too loud.”
The new site isn’t perfect for Markowitz, who for 20 years got his permit for the city’s bandshell at the bargain price of $25 per event, allowing him to reduce costs for his free performances at W. Fifth Street and Surf Avenue. Concert organizers are negotiating with property owner Taconic Investment Partners to use the W. 21st Street space, though Taconic spokesman Blake Deboer would not comment on the Beep’s probable bill.
And Markowitz would have to build a stage for the first time.
Last year’s shows were funded by several companies, including Forest City Ratner and the soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets, but The Beep still found ways to cut costs, using Rikers Island prisoners — paid just $1 an hour — to set up and remove the 2,000 seats for the series’ audiences.
Markowitz has been doing these concerts for decades, but the controversy didn’t begin until 2009 when the Beep announced plans to build a new, state-of-the-art, $64-milllion bandshell. That’s when synagogue officials sued on the grounds that Markowitz was violating city laws forbidding amplified sound within 500 feet of a house of worship.
Just weeks after the suit was filed, the city temporarily overturned the decades-old ban so that the shows could go for the 2010 season. But the 500-foot rule is back in effect and the city moved the concerts out of Asser Levy Park even before there is a ruling in the suit.