Southern Brooklyn

Markowitz Brings Convicts To Brooklyn's Shore

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?

Comment policy


  1. Inmates do plenty of work around the city. Drug addicts and dealers do community service all the time and are stationed in subways– are we any safer then? Are we safe from the potential drunk drivers that drive home from neighborhood watering holes every night but haven’t been caught yet?

    This is all more bull courtesy of “amphitheater opponents” … you can call them crybabies, Ned. That’s what they are.

    Regardless of the fact that they’re inmates, they’re people all the same. Do you want to get paid to stack chairs for a few hours once a week? Probably not. Live and let live, NYC.

  2. This is such old news that perhaps it doesn’t bear repeating. While I don’t care much for the amphitheater project this is really offensive. And the Post knows that there is nothing at all unusual about this, and nothing to be concerned about either.

  3. These people don’t mind the free concerts they have been going on for years. Whats bothering them is that this fool wants to build a $64 mil theater. I am all for free concerts but this is not the location to build it. This park is for kids, dog walkers, elderly and people who want to use a field for sports. To me Coney Island starts at West 8th st. this is a residential area that doesn’t need it and spending that type of money right now on an amphitheater is a joke.

  4. I think that Marty should build the new facility and tell the community folks to place cotton in their ears on Saturday nights.

  5. Marty is on the take from several local construction firms who will be awarded the contract to build this monstrosity.

  6. The use of prisoners to set up the chairs has been going on for many years and Marty would periodically announce it. The problem with the chairs is that there should be none! These are supposed to be free concerts, therefore charging to be use these seats is WRONG. And half of these chairs are used by Marty for his cronies for free (if you are on his list). Get rid of the chairs!!!!
    Build the theater on vacant land– NOT in the park!!!!!!!

  7. this is what pisses me off about america. you get caught with some weed, get thrown in jail and bam, slave labor.

    you guys should look into

    they make those bracelets you get when you are on parole. soon we will be prisoners in our own house licking envelopes for the man. how is folding chairs going to change a criminal into a functioning member of society.

    why isnt there enough money to pay people to do this, giving society jobs. i find this practice of legal slavery to be appauling

  8. some of the humans here are awesome. the internet here is still pretty open, albeit slow. i like the weather, and the foods not horrible (i love bagels btw). also the freedom of speech while we still have it.

  9. I don’t want my beloved Sea Breeze Park destroyed. There’s a scarcity of green in Brooklyn Where are all the liberal environmentalists when I need them? Silent? Are they getting paid off like Markowitz is undoubtedly? While i’m on the subject, why would a politician be so adamant about building something that the community doesn’t want? Why would he risk his political career? Can be only one reason. We’re in the politically-corrupt capital of the country here (New York), where the politicians preach liberalism outside, and are stealing money inside. Marty, I know you’re making a fortune on this deal, somewhere, somehow.

  10. You are 100% correct. And what they don’t realize is that if it gets built, the concerts will no longer be free because of the maintenance costs for the theater. Of course Marty will claim that if he were still borough president, which he won’t be when it is completed, he would have made sure they would have remained free.

  11. Actually, he gave an interview a few months where he said that free concerts were becoming more difficult to produce, and the reality was that they would cease to be at some time in the future. I believe that was printed in the various “Courier-Life” papers.

  12. This is such a tiny park for such a big amphitheater. And it is surrounded by many buildings. The echo of the music is so loud, that you think you have a disco in your bedroom. I actually live there and can testify how disturbing the music is. Maybe in the middle of a larger park with no residential building complexes nearby would be the solution.


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