Southern Brooklyn

Markowitz Brings Convicts To Brooklyn's Shore

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Artist's renderings of the proposed "potato chip" amphitheater.

Opponents of Borough President Marty Markowitz’s plan to bring a $64 million amphitheater to Asser Levy – Seaside Park are keeping a sharp, vengeful eye on the land. And now they’re noticing – and objecting to – things that have been going on for years.

First there was the amplified sound law, which local synagogues are only just noticing have been violated for years. Now there’s the issue of using free labor from city and state prisoners to help set up and break down the Summer Concert Series shows.

According to the New York Post, “busloads of inmates in red-and-white-striped jumpsuits paying their debt to society by setting up and breaking down 2,000 chairs for the overflow audiences” are commissioned by the borough president’s office. And that’s fueling criticism from the amphitheater’s opponents.

“I’m shocked people are making a big deal out of it now after all these years,” Debra Garcia, the series organizer, told the Post.

Markowitz’s office is trying to reassure residents that the inmates aren’t a security risk, saying they’re “carefully selected” low-risk inmates. They’re also pointing out that it saves the nonprofit organizer thousands of dollars annually.

What do you think? Is this a legitimate danger, or are amphitheater opponents grasping at straws?

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