Southern Brooklyn

Seaside Concerts May Vacate Asser-Levy Park

A rendering of the proposed 8,000-seat venue, which critics have dubbed the "Potato Chip" amphitheater.

Borough President Marty Markowitz’s Seaside Summer Concerts will no longer take place at Asser-Levy Park, marking a victory for opponents of his amphitheater plans.

NY1 is reporting that the city is now considering new locations for the annual concerts, including the parking lot of the New York Aquarium.

The decision comes as Markowitz’s office secures the latest acts for the show, which has taken place every year in the park since 1991.

The borough president infuriated nearby residents when he unveiled plans last year to build a $64 million amphitheater taking up three-quarters of the park’s footprint. Opponents of the land grab rallied together with two local synagogues, and they filed a lawsuit in June 2010 against the city for their violation of noise laws, forbidding amplified concerts within 500 feet of a house of worship, schools, hospitals, and courthouses.

Just 300 feet away from the park, the Seaside Summer Concerts have coincided with the hours of worship of Congregation Sea Breeze Jewish Center and Congregation Temple Beth Abraham. A Brooklyn Supreme Court decision ruled in their favor, almost putting the kibbosh on last year’s performances.

The City Council introduced a bill just after the Supreme Court decision that excluded Asser-Levy/Seaside Park from the 500-feet rule, passing just in time for the concerts to go forward. The latest move may be a signal that plans for the amphitheater may never materialize.

Check out A Walk In The Park’s coverage for more background on the case.


Comment policy


  1. I would like to think that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the US Constitution would mean that music – namely Rock n Roll, glory be in its name – would not take a backseat to religion but I guess I thought I was living in Canada or somewhere reasonable. What a crock.

  2. Like all politicians, Marty just wants some place named after him. That obviously isn’t going to change. But there are must better places to have a music scene. Closer to more subways than Asser-Levy and with more parking. Like the baseball place in Coney Island, whatever they call that now.

  3. “violation of noise laws, forbidding amplified concerts within 500 feet of a house of worship, schools, hospitals, and courthouses.”

    Their is a law that says I can’t play Helter Skelter next to house of worship? But I got to listen to Church bells, Jews blowing Shofar and Muslims call to prayer? I don’t find that fare.
    How about we apply 500-feet rule to religious organizations too?

  4. This comment is another anti-semetic one. This has to do with the NYC Law. It wouldn’t make a differnece if it were a school, hospital or court house. Before you make a comment research it and don’t shoot from the hip.

  5. This has nothing to do with the First Amendment, it’s about NYC noise regulations. The law states that amplified sound is not permitted within 500 feet of a hospital, courthouse, school or house of worship when court, classes or services are in session. This law was conveniently IGNORED for decades by our wonderful politicians who think that laws do not apply to them. And what makes you think that the rest of the neighborhood was thrilled with these concerts? Those of us who work for a living were kept up till the wee hours by the stragglers yowling their favorite songs at the top of their lungs as they wandered back to the subway. It was absolutely impossible to watch TV, talk on the phone or put your kids to sleep because the music was cranked up so loud. A concert venue belongs in an entertainment area like Coney Island, not right in front of someone’s bedroom windows.

  6. Excuse me but that was not anti-semetic. That was anti-religion. I don’t discriminate in the God business. They could have been churches, mosques, Jonestownses, etc. In fact, I am pretty sure my own Jewish family would agree with me on that (not my stance on the subject at hand but my view towards religions). Some of us just don’t like it when rock n roll has to take a backseat to nonsense. George Thorogodd and B-52 concerts are a lot more beneficial to humanity than the G.O.D. Proven fact. God himself couldn’t prove otherwise.

  7. “within 500 feet of a hospital, courthouse, school or house of worship”
    How does this law protects people sleep or TV time?

    Free Bird!

  8. I’m surprised that no one complained about the legal “illegal” parking along Ocean Parkway/Surf Avenue and SeaBreeze Avenues so all the politicos could have a place to park. If it is moved to the Aquarium Parking Lot betcha they will keep part of it for parking for the VIPs even if all the people who want to see the concerts won’t be able to fit in. Also, there are no benches in the parking lot and no one is going to want to spread a blanket on the concrete.

    The concerts would have continued at Asser-Levy without any problems if not for Markowitz’s insistence on a permanent monument that only he wanted. Now everyone has to suffer.

  9. After giving us free concerts for many ,many years without any complaints from the “house of worship” accross the street from the park,the people who live nearby in the classic NIMBY mode rejected Marty and all the good things he’s done for Brooklyn.He says this would be good and i tend to beleive him after all the good he’s done.PS i live 2 blocks away.It’d serve us right if he stopped giving free concerts to a bunch of ingrates.

  10. Marty had a good run in being Brooklyn’s “good-will ambassador” Then he became Borough President. (Along with some other things I will not publicly mention, though many who know him can do the math) Now he is an advocate for the moneyed and powered class. Last year, in fact, he said in a newspaper interview that from a realistic point of view the free concerts could not remain free indefinitely. I suppose someone wants to turn this into a money-making venture, trading on all the good feeling these concerts have generated over the years.

    Markowitz has a very likable public side. His private side, OTOH, not as likable.

  11. He has strong support from the young nerd and geek community. Anyone who graduated school while he was mayor heard his “Use the force” speech.

  12. The local community had no choice but to turn to the law in order to prevent the building of a $64 million boondoggle in perhaps one of the worst places in the borough. There are many other places where The Marty Markowitz “Potato Chip”. The “free” concert space continued to shrink year after year, making more room for Marty’s buddies and for paying customers, leaving only a small space at the rear of the park for everyone else.
    Marty will find a way to hold his concerts, how could he give up his rambling???

  13. Marty loves to spread himself around. Always did. For the past 30 years he’s been everywhere. Always talking, and more importantly, he never forgets a face. He comes across as everyone’s best friend. He’s believable in that role, which makes it difficult to be critical of him. It’s his outward personable nature that makes him more dangerous than most people.

  14. 40 years ago, before Marty Markowitz, there were nighttime concerts at that location. Far as I know no one complained back then. Anyone living nearby for 40 years would be used to this. Anyone choosing to live in the area would quickly become aware of this, and could make a choice.

    As I’ve stated elsewhere I’m no fan of Markowitz. I’m also not a supporter of the amphitheater plan. But this is not inconsistent with the recognition that these concerts are at this point in time a neighborhood tradition.

  15. They have that beautiful 0old movie theater on Stiwell Ave thar coul be refurbished ans become a tear round concert hall and movie house–the way it once was,

  16. How much is Markowitz making on the amphitheater? Why else would he risk alienating his voters? Guaranteed there’s big money for him somewhere in this deal.

  17. It stinks the concerts have to move. I feel for the elderly residents, most. How often do they get out for free outdoor entertainment? But more importantly, good riddance stupid potato chip! That whole plan rankled me to no end, total boondoggle.

  18. @ Old Sheephead Hand : Jerry is correct. You are an Anti-semite. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, it’s a duck. You have anti-semetic opinions , it’s a free country & Jerry has his.

  19. My poor Jewish mother would not be pleased to hear that assessment. And that’s no joke. At least have the decency to call me a Self-Hating Jew, not an anti-semite. Jesus christ!

  20. Apparenbtly you do not believe it is a free country. In a free country we do not pressure people to have the “right”: opinion by implying erroneous things about them if they do not.

  21. Apparenbtly you do not believe it is a free country. In a free country we do not pressure people to have the “right”: opinion by implying erroneous things about them if they do not.

  22. Not to worry, The person stating this has no idea of what she is saying; she writes without giving any consideration to the meaning of her words.

  23. Not to worry, The person stating this has no idea of what she is saying; she writes without giving any consideration to the meaning of her words.

  24. Not to worry, The person stating this has no idea of what she is saying; she writes without giving any consideration to the meaning of her words.

  25. I guess you are correct. You are just like Marty Markowitz a self hating Jew who actually blamed the synagogues for his problems last year. Not his hubris of NOT getting the PERMITS NECESSARY FOR HIS CONERTS FOR THE LAST 20 YEARRS.

    Besides for the first 10 years Mr. Markowitz had his concerts located at Midwood Field. Let him put them on there again.

  26. Except it doesn’t look even close to a duck. Rather, its what Thomas Jefferson called “a wall of separation between Church & State” – government should not offer preferential treatment to religion, either in general or a to a specific one.

    As an Atheist, I’m with Old Sheepshead Hand on this. Would you be so vocal if those would be two mosques?

    Besides, look at the Rainbow’s and Brightonresident’s comments above. Synagogues were used in this issue as pawns – either to protect an early bedtime for some, or to defeat a project that some think is not fiscally responsible.

  27. I’m gonna say what I’ve said before….

    The current amphitheater does not need to be replaced with some huge state of the art building. Everyone keeps wanting to shut it down or expand it but nobody seems to bother thinking down the middle. This is what they should do…

    Give the bandshell new skin and paintjob. That’s all it needs, maybe put in some new wiring.

    Re-carpet the grass lawn and install a few gazebo’s with public grills and benches at the very outer edges of the park closest to where Ocean Parkway transitions to Shell Ave.

    Install mounts for wireless speakers and wi-fi repeaters in the trees around the park that are directional and only focus sound into the center and to the gazebos. Obviously these would only be out during concerts and locked away somewhere in between.

    If i’m not mistaken don’t certain fabrics have incredible acoustic reflective and deflective properties? Bedouin and other nomads use them in tents to help create areas of privacy and areas of quiet. Well, to help lessen the impact of noise for that 1 hour every week where it actually matters the area can be enclosed in a tent for the weekend…

    Hey, the circus can do it right? Why not the city? The side facing the temples can be extra heavy to muffle the sound.

    Now, as for the temples themselves. I’ve been in and around this area my entire life. I remember (admittedly it was vaguely) running around that bandshell when I was 5 years old. That’s 23 years ago. Were ALL those temples there before the Bandshell was built? I really doubt it. Which means they KNEW they were building in an area that may receive extra noise. What about the noise from the beach and Coney Island a few blocks over… huh? Brighton Beach and Coney Island are some of the busiest beaches in the world. Some summer nights I can sit on the 14th floor balcony of my Grandmothers Apartment in Trump Village and hear the noise from Coney Island. You can hear WAVES on a quiet night.

    So, they moved into an area they KNEW would have more noise then normal that close to the beach. This place is an obvious exception to the law, which shouldn’t exist. The law should not cater to religious institution beyond protecting their 1st amendment rights.

    I think I’ve started ranting. Anyway, They dont need a NEW amptitheater and they shouldn’t get rid of the old one. Marokowitz and those stuffy hassids can all shove it.

    FTR: I’m an American Atheist of Russian-Jewish Decent. I’m also a New Yorker, Brooklinite, and Sheepsheader….err, what do we call ourselves again? I’ve lived my entire life in the Sheepshead, Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach, Midwood area.

  28. One of the synagogues is 122 years old. I think the other one is also there for a while. I was at the concerts there a couple of times, an it was an endless parade of politicians as a warm-up act. The Aquarium’s parking lot is steps away, so rock-n-roll may continue to die gloriously. The First Amendment allows to say stupid things, of course, but I strongly suspect that it wasn’t what the Founding Fathers put it in there.

  29. City law – forbidding amplified concerts within 500 feet of house of worship, schools, hospitals and courthouses.

    Lets see, the mosque wants to project amplified sounds and are located within 500 feet of a school. Hmm…isnt that strange?

  30. One thing everyone overlooked. This is a community park for the kids of the community to use. I grew up playing at Seabreeze park, generations of kids played here. There is no other open space for the children of the community to use for recreation. Why destroy what little we have? This is wrong. This is a residential community. Hosting a couple of concerts a year does not compare to hosting concerts year round. There is no parking for the 8,000 people they expected to attend these concerts. The plan is dead. For those who blame the two houses of worship for this, blame the residents who live in the 5 buildings of Warbasse, the 7 buildings of Trump, the 2 buildings of Brightwater, the 5 or 6 buildings of Luna Park. The mid rise buildings along SeaBreeze Ave. We have a right about our community resources, and we were heard. Get over it. Its over.

  31. It’s offensive a religous organization, in this case two synagogues. is allowed to dictate to the rest of this community. Shame on anyone who places them on top of the priority list. We aren’t here to serve the Jewish nor any religious group, but rather to serve ALL to enjoy and partake in “whatever festivities they deem appropriate whether it coincides with their “prayer time” or not…

  32. There ought to be a 500′ rule for all Church BELLS. In their typical fashion, the catholic church dismisses those of us who live nearby (in this case, across the street). This church doesn’t have a real bell. Instead it pumps out the SOUND of BELLS (and MUSIC) over FIVE SPEAKERS. Yes, SPEAKERS! The bell and accompanied music is, in fact, a recording. A concert of sorts every single day hour after hour AND they play a song in bell tones “there’s no business, like show business” every nite at 7:30 and 1:30 matinee days. Do you think someone in the City Council would actually pull the plug on this? We’ve been screaming for years. To us, the church is a concert! It is NOISE blasted into our home. And because it is a religious organization, they’re exempt. When we have called the reponse we got was, “afterall we are the Catholic Church.” Excuse me?

  33. When the l synagogues talk, the politicians listen, for years Jews have closed down movie theaters and other places normal Americans gather. They yield too much power, the religious Jews have destroyed Brooklyn, one day we will be a boro of l synagogues only. FUCK THEM

  34. Leave it to the local religion to screw things up when it messes with them, but they can do whatever the hell they damn well feel like.

  35. Really, that was totally uncalled for. I’m offended by that remark, and I’m not even jewish.

  36. Saint Marks? Yes, their church bells are very loud. When I walk home from the station, I go up Ave Z, and you can hear them clearly to almost Nostrand Ave. I think that they’re nice, but then again, I might have a very different opinion if I lived right across the street. The bells at the Methodist Church (if they even work at this point), were never as loud.

  37. 3 ideas! A) How about BEACH CONCERTS (exactly where the FIREWORKS are lit on Fri. nites?) Concert go’ers can sit on the beach. Set the stage facing the ocean. B) Utilize the Aquarium lot closest to the Cyclone. Speakers should face the Cyclone (so to minimize impacting the occupants of the aquarium.) C) Utilize the baseball field further down the boardwalk. The religious services/prayer argument is a lame one. I agree with another commentor, who pointed out that we don’t live or schedule our lives arround any religious service or organization. Sorry, folks, learn to share community space. It’s NY. At the same time, Asser L. Pk. runs right up against apartments and that is a wee bit inconsiderate to them hence my suggestions.

  38. In the sake of noise pollution, what do you say … let’s get rid of the ice cream trucks that blast loud nursery rhymes and bells too! 

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