Board spanks Marty’s Childs play

The Brooklyn Paper
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Borough President Markowitz’s controversial plan to convert Coney Island’s historic Childs Building into a concert venue was trashed by residents during a public hearing for the second time in a week on Monday night.

Community Board 13 smacked down the Beep’s latest vision for an new amphitheater after a raucous public hearing on Sept. 23.

The neighborhood panel voted 14–7 against the proposal, which would knock a hole in the wall of the landmarked former restaurant on W. 21st Street and set a stage inside — then put a 5,100-capacity seating bowl in the adjoining lot. Seven board members abstained.

Nearly a dozen Coney Island residents came to speak out against the envisioned arena, which would provide a permanent home for the Beep’s summer concert series — and, according to critics, bring noise, traffic congestion, and low-income jobs to the area.

“Don’t push this through, and jam it down our throats,” Coney resident Mathylde Frontus begged the board.

Others objected to sinking $50 million into a new entertainment venue while the neighborhood is still hurting from Hurricane Sandy, and many schools, streets, community centers, and public housing buildings remain in disrepair.

“That’s $50 million you’re using that we could use to rebuild five, six, seven schools,” said Nicole Vazquez.

“We’re putting millions of dollars into the area, but we are not putting any money into the infrastructure. And it will sink us someday,” said CB13 member Ronald Stewart.

Several others spoke out for the Boardwalk Garden, a community growing space next door to the Childs Building, which would be plowed under to create the seating area. The urban agrarians argued that the small oasis cultivates unity among the neighborhood’s black, Latino, and Eastern European residents — and should not be carelessly uprooted.

“The garden brings a lot of people together, all different cultures,” said gardener Yury Opendik.

No one spoke in favor of the plan.

This isn’t the first time that Marty’s dream of a permanent home for his seaside concerts has hit a sour note with residents. Markowitz tried — and failed — to construct an amphitheater inside Brighton Beach’s Asser Levy Park in 2009. Public protest and a lawsuit blocked the structure, which was widely mocked for resembling a potato chip.

A representative for Markowitz’s office declined to comment on the vote — though he did ask CB13 secretary Barbara Santonas for a list of the board members and their votes. Markowitz is responsible for appointing half the members of all the borough’s community boards.

An attorney for iStar Financial, the current owners of the Childs Building, defended the plan for iStar to sell the structure to the city and transform it into an amphitheater for $50 million in taxpayer money. The lawyer said that the company, which has a lease to operate the new facility at a profit for 10 years, had already taken into account the potential for problems with noise and traffic — and found that there will be no problems at all.

“I expect that it’s going to be ultimately approved, and I expect that this project will be a benefit not just to people who come to the concerts, but to the whole community,” said iStar counsel Howard Weiss.

The City Planning Commission — the next body to review the project — is free to ignore the CB13 vote, which is only advisory.

CB13’s vote went against its own Zoning and Land Use Committee. The committee voted 10–1 to approve the proposal — as long as there was a study on the amphitheater’s impact on parking, and an investigation into the possibility of a shuttle bus to the new facility. The committee also asked for iStar to hire Coney residents to help build and run the concert space and restaurant, at a prevailing wage.

Markowitz pitched the Childs Building — which operated as a restaurant from 1923 until 1949 — as the perfect spot to shelter his oceanside shows as part of his 2013 State of the Borough address in April.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him
Updated 10:15 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

begee from coney says:
I guess Marty's wife will have to find another place for a no show job that she gets payed for.
Sept. 24, 2013, 3:22 pm
Marsha Rimler from brooklyn says:
Since Queens has given more money to the libraries I suggest that Marty be strongly encouraged to give the money from this plan of his to the libraries,
Helen Marshall has been a much stronger library supporter than Marty which is one reasons are libraries are facing destruction and sale. Marty loves concerts but libraries help us educate our children and ourselves. Perhaps he doesn't read much.
Sept. 24, 2013, 9:09 pm
kenny from coney island says:
My biggest question is :

Where's our Councilman Domenic Recchia in all this ?

Recchia was a NO SHOW....MIA

Why wasn't Recchia there at the CB 13 meeting supporting the Community views & thoughts?

And Recchia wants to be a Congressman ?

What a political HACK.

Recchia wants to push this Amphitheater down our throats before he leaves office.

Sept. 25, 2013, 9:25 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I am glad that this amphitheater wasn't built, and it would have just been seen a boondoggle anyway.
Sept. 25, 2013, 3:10 pm
Bruce from Coney Island says:
When the CIDC held meetings for the rezoning of Coney Island's amusement district, people voiced concern over parking. We were told they were studying the issue. Zoning passed in 2009, they are still studying the parking issue.

When they wanted to destroy a neighborhood park and leave us with a playground, which we already had, again the question of where would over 5,000 people park? The only answer was the Aquarium would expand their parking lot for maybe another 100 cars, which never happened. They couldn't answer the parking issue.

Now they wanted to build a amphitheater by Childs. the same question about parking was brought up. Did anyone really expect a solution to the parking problem??
Sept. 25, 2013, 6:43 pm
Ace from New Utrecht says:
Q: Where will they park?
A: D all times (all times)
F all times (all times)
N all times (all times)
Q all times (all times)

New York City Bus: B36, B64, B68, B74, B82
Sept. 26, 2013, 11:02 am
YIMBY YES from Downtown says:
The Nimby's came out again. YAHOO !!!!! But this time the NIMBYS will lose because the Community Board vote is only advisory !!! This was not a vote for trashing this project. THIS WAS AN ANTI Markowitz vote !!! The City Planning Commission will vote yes to this plan and the full City Council will then vote yes and I will enjoy coming to Coney Island and take a date to see a concert just like I enjoy seeing a Nets Game at Barclays Center (The Nimbys there thought Barclays would be a bust after losing their battle and instead Barclays Center is the Number 1 generating arena in the country more successful then Madison Square Garden !!!) so I say BUILD BABY BUILD !!!!!! BUILD IT HIGH AND BUILD IT FAR !!!!!!!! The NIMBY's lost at Barclays Center/Atlantic Yards !!!! The NIMBY'S will lose at Willets Point in Queens and now it is their turn too lose in Coney Island.
Sept. 26, 2013, 1:56 pm
YIMBY YES from Downtown says:
Just a bit of news to all those NIMBY's that think that a new Mayor De Blasio will be a vast improvement to Mayor Bloomberg in stopping Development in NYC. Bill De Blasio supported Atlantic Yards and he was quoted at a student rally by saying the following.

“We can’t afford a process rife with delays, subject to knee-jerk NIMBYism and tangled in bureaucracy,” de Blasio told the students, sounding not all that different from the man he was trying to replace.

Bill De Blasio is pro-development !!! And if he should lose to the Republican Candidate for Mayor, Joe Lhota he worked for Rudy Giuliani and Mike Blomberg so GOOD LUCK MY LITTLE NIMBYS !!!!!!
Sept. 26, 2013, 2:18 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
YIMBY YES, the only reason why the Barclays Center got through was because Ratner had friends in high places to get his way. He actually used SEQRA to help him sidestep ULURP when he knew how much local politicians opposed it. Also, how could you call those living in where the Atlantic Yards go NIMBYs when the project will be right on their property rather than near them? I take it you don't know what really defines a NIMBY. Seriously, opposing a project like this doesn't mean anyone is anti-development, it just means that they don't want something that will negatively impact the area especially when it happens to be residential rather than commercial. Of course, it's all fun and games until they come for your area, and then we will see who is the real NIMBY here.
Sept. 26, 2013, 3:32 pm
Marsha Rimler from Brooklyn says:
Take the $ from this plan and give it to the libraries.
One concert venue is enough . Libraries help us think.
Hold the politicians and the city council accountable.
If they vote the wrong way .. out they go
Sept. 27, 2013, 10:08 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
As Confusious wroght, "Respect is something one must, not demand." There should be no confusion. If you really want the rules to change then start complying to them no matter how pointless or absurd they happen to be. Then and only then can they be changed. I do tend to see websites such as Streetsblog like the Electronic Intifada especially when they don't listen to reason have numerous members there making personal attacks at anyone who doesn't side with them. I have heard on good account that the whole thing is a set up from those undebunkables over at streetsblog, mainly to discredit law abiding and tax paying motorists. Nobody hates cyclists as a whole, just the way some tend to act, including some that constantly attack me on this forum. As I mentioned in an earlier thread, attack the issue not the person taking a legitemate perspective. Going back to my points about philosophy, poeple that don't seem to like those such as myself who can disproove their statements with actual facts where they are just throwing talking points that I can easily refute. These are people who believe that it's the weapon that makes them stronger when in fact that isn't always true. Eventually, they will come to a point where even their own weapons can't save them. Irreguardless of the endless personal attacks made against my logic, the truth is that it's not the weapons that makes the person stronger, it's the one who uses them. An example of someone who had to learn it the hard way was King Phillip II, who was the king of Spain, when having the Spanish Armada against England's Queen Elizabeth I in 1588. Before then, Spain was said to have the most powerful navey at the time especially when they have sailed to numerous corners of the globe in conquering numerous lands. Many of thought that trying to fight the armada was asking for a tombstone b/c of how powerfull they were. However, the fleet was not prepared for the English Channel, and their numerous ships were too big for a body of water with such a low depth for them. Although the English fleet had numerous smaller ships, it was easier to get by and with the cannon, they didn't even have to board the enemy fleet but just fire from their own. Some of those who helped fight for England in that battle included explorers such as Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Franciss Drake managing the numerous fleets. As Elizabeth walked out on the cliffs of Dover, she saw the armada on fire in the humiliating defeat on Spain. It showed that even the greatest had their demise. How it relates to my point is that some just can't seem to take it when someone can find a way to poke holes in their statements by finding facts and other stats that disproove theirs' when they don't even come up with anything to back them except for repititions. Also, the reference of the Spanish Armada is to show that even the greatest can just be human at sometimes in that nobody is invincible and there will always be a clink somewhere in that armor. On a side note, the Barclay's centre is nothing but an abuse of imminent domain, but of couse they won't let the WNBA play there despite all my taxpaying dollars going to the builder free of charge. Don't blame me b/c I am stating the facts with nothing but the coldest cartesian logic, as befitting the nerdy leftist that I am.
Oct. 4, 2013, 2:41 pm

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