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Oh what a gripe! Marty’s new concert home a concrete jungle

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The new home of a popular summer concert series in Coney Island is an uncomfortable slab of concrete that’s doesn’t have enough free seats and is too difficult to get into, say angry concert-goers who attended this season’s first show Thursday night.

This year, Borough President Markowitz reluctantly moved his Seaside Summer Concerts Series from the bandshell at Asser Levy Park at W. Fifth Street to a lot at W. 21st Street after settling a lawsuit with residents who claimed the concerts violated city noise codes.

But many music fans who flocked to the kick-off said that the new, cement venue can’t hold a candle to green Asser Levy Park.

“This space [stinks]!” said Bay Ridge resident Kelly Graham, who attended the concert featuring Joan Jett. “Asser Levy Park was a much better venue with a much better atmosphere.”

Most of the complaints came from the folks who brought their own chairs and blankets and watch the show for free. Many grumbled that they missed the wide-open spaces of Asser Levy, where there was much more room to stretch out.

“Asser Levy Park was a beautiful and classic location,” said Steven Centonzo. “I miss the grass and picnicking with a blanket.”

On top of that, the new site only has room for 2,000 freeloaders — about half as many that could fit at Asser Levy, according to Markowitz spokesman Mark Zustovich.

The new venue includes the same 5,000 paid seats, which cost $5 each.

The “bring your own chair” folks said they were also frustrated with having to wait in line for about an hour with paying customers to get onto the grounds.

“If you brought your own chair [to Asser Levy Park], you used to be able to just walk in and hang out,” said Christine Thompson.

The lines for the Joan Jett concert stretched more than two blocks down Surf Avenue, delaying the 7:30 pm scheduled start by an hour.

“It never took this long at the old shows!” said Sheepshead Bay resident Shane Connor. “They need more than one entrance!”

On hand for opening night, Markowitz apologized for the delay and promised to “re-evaluate” the entrance process so that next Thursday’s concert could start on time.

But when Jett finally took the stage, most of the thousands in attendance settled down and enjoyed the show.

“It’s still great music,” said Joyce Milowski.

The Beep had held the shows at Asser Levy Park for 20 years with few complaints. That all changed in 2009 when Markowitz announced plans to build a new, state-of-the-art, $64-milllion bandshell. That’s when officials from synagogues across the street from the park sued, claiming concerts for years had been violating a law forbidding amplified sound within 500 feet of a house of worship. The case’s settlement stipulates that the borough president must obey the noise law.

As a result, the future of both the concerts and the sound-blasting amphitheater are in jeopardy. Markowitz told the Courier on Thursday that his lawyers are “reviewing” the bandshell upgrade and vowed to fight for his plan. But he’s worried about finding a home for the concerts next year, as the owner of the W. 21st Street lot wants to lease the space to a developer.

“I hope the concerts can still be here, but my fear is that [the landlord] will find a tenant,” Markowitz said.

At least for this year, the shows will go on, with pop legends The Monkees headlining on July 21.

Seaside Summer Concert Series [W. 21 Street between Surf Avenue and the Boardwalk in Coney Island, (718) 222-0600], July 14 through Aug. 18 at 7:30 pm. Free. For info, visit, www.brooklynconcerts.com/seaside.html.

Updated 5:25 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Jaded from BR says:
You write this story as if he chose to move it. As he explained at least 5 times throughout the night, there were admitted problems in the entry process and they would work on correcting that including an additional entrance. Given the fact that it's mostly cement, I understand the frustration of not being able to picnic, but remember this is a free concert that had to find a new home and performers quickly. To that end, in my opinion, Markowitz did an amazing job. I happen to like that the venue is off the boardwalk (no trees to block the sound and a nice breeze) and think that the $5 seats are actually a better option than dragging a chair (especially when coming directly from work), and no bugs. Enjoy the show! and thanks for making it happen Marty!
July 18, 2011, 5:53 am
sal from coney island says:
Kudos to Marty ! I love this new venue.
He finally found the right spot to put on his concerts. I hope he keeps them here !
July 18, 2011, 7:50 am
win win from win win says:
Kudos to Marty, I agree.
Astro land park loved the foot traffic.
win win for businesses and the community.
July 18, 2011, 8:32 am
Rainbow from Flatbush says:
When the Siren Festival was held on West 10th St. & thousands of people were jammed in to a narrow, boiling hot, concrete street, no one cared & everyone had a great time. The location does not matter, it's all about the music and the concert was FREE!!!!!
July 18, 2011, 10:04 am
Brooklyn from Kensington says:
Only in Brooklyn would a park with a BAND SHELL be considered inappropriate for music. Ridiculous.
July 18, 2011, 2:08 pm
jerry from brighton beach says:
At last there were PARKING SPACES available around Asser Levy Park on a Thursday night. So when I came home from work I didn't have to park 10 blocks away. I'm not the only one who was pleased with this.
I could put my kids to sleep at a decent hour. Again I wasn't the only one who was pleased with this.
The Park was used for what a Park is suppose to be used for : Kids playing, Walking, Sitting, Running, Skateboarding, Dog walking & many more active & passive activities.
The new venue where Marty Markowitz put on his Concerts is a perfect place. Near the Amusement area & restaurants.
From what other people said to me & others they loved the new venue.
July 18, 2011, 2:42 pm
charlene from brighton beach says:
It's Marty's own fault that he had to leave that park! If he weren't so greedy for a terribly expensive & misplaced amphitheatre, there never would have been any investigation into on what basis to fight it, & no one would have tried to stop the concert series from continuing in the existing bandshell on 6-7 summer thursday nights as usual! Let him stew in his own juice. He blames others for the ousting from the park, but the real blame lies only with HIM!
July 18, 2011, 3:25 pm
Raymond from Brighton Beach says:
There is ample space in Coney Island for Marty to hold his concerts. He could set up the stage on the beach line the volleyball people did. Having the people go directly to the amusement area is the best choice and he doesn't have to despoil a neighborhood park and having a noisy venue disturb a densely populated residential area. The 64 million dollars for his proposed amphitheater could be better spent on rehabilitating the boardwalk.
July 19, 2011, 2:10 pm
andy s from sheepshead bay says:
excuse me but shouldn't religious institutions especially jewish ones practice tolerence.............and jerry from brighton beach.....sorry that 6 or 7 days out of 365 you were inconvienced......speaking about parking between the stadium,amusement and concert crowd parking was at a high premium and no cheap parking like the lot on west 5th st.
July 20, 2011, 7:04 pm
jerry from brighton beach says:
@ andy s... Get your facts straight. It wasn't the 6-7 Concerts that were an issue. It was the proposed Amphitheater that would have 2 Concerts a day , all year round , 8000 people at each concert, 4-5 days a week ( you will have to pay for $75-100 a concert). If you add it all up it's between 80,000- 96,000 people a week coming into a residential area.
Totally unacceptable by any standards.
Marty's Concert venue should be kept in the Amusement area of Coney Island.
July 21, 2011, 8:20 am
Just Dis from Gerritsen Beach says:
Anyone up for a Friday evening flash mob outside that synagoge that caused this mess? Bring your loudest boom boxes!
July 21, 2011, 11:13 am
sal from coney island says:
@Just Dis...Be careful of what you are saying... You are walking the fine line of a Hate Crime .
July 21, 2011, 12:56 pm
andy s from sheepshead bay says:
jerry from brighton beach.... i hope your field of bussiness is not accounting...because madison sq. garden(as a concert venue not sports area) and radio city music-hall and carnegie hall combined does not take in those #'s monthly never mind weekly.....second i was stating that you are finding it unacceptable in the present....that is what your blog states...my facts are wrong ,since i forgot the concerts held there by councilman domenic recchia ....which are now a think of the past,but may have inconvienced you when the rest of brooklyn enjoyed them..
July 21, 2011, 4:15 pm
jerry from brighton beach says:
@ andy s....and I hope you are not a NYC Teacher. Your spelling & English on your blogs have alot to be desired.
You couldn't pass the teachers test.

Anyway, if you ever get a copy of the RFP from the Parks Dept. you would see the proposed usage of the proposed Amphitheater. It all stated in that document.
July 22, 2011, 1:06 pm

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