Seaside summer concert series

Cue the music—summer concert series will return to cramped lot

Brooklyn Daily
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Borough President Markowitz’s popular summer concert series, which was booted from Asser Levy Park last year for being too loud, will once again be staged in a cramped Coney Island lot — even though concert-goers have repeatedly panned the spot for being too small for major stars like Aretha Franklin and Joan Jett.

Civic leaders confirmed that this year’s Seaside Summer Concert Series will be returning to the vacant site on W. 21st Street near Surf Avenue this summer — a spot many said was a poor substitute for Asser Levy Park.

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

The W. 21st Street lot includes 5,000 paid seats positioned near a makeshift stage, but only has room for 2,000 free seats in the back — roughly half of what the park at Ocean Parkway and Seabreeze Avenue — which is about the size of a city block — provided. The W. 21st Street lot, in comparison, is about a third of a city block.

The lack of free seating and drab surroundings irked concert-goers from the very start of last year’s concert series.

Most of the complaints came from those who brought their own chairs and blankets and watch the show for free, grumbling that they missed the wide-open spaces of Asser Levy.

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

The issue came to a head after 1,000 angry fans were turned away from Franklin’s August concert because the al fresco music hall was too small.

Yet supporters say the vacant lot is big enough to accommodate the summer-long music series.

“The spot they’re working with is fine,” said Community Board 13 District Manager Chuck Reichenthal.

The borough president held his Seaside Summer Concert Series at Asser Levy Park every year since 1991, but caused an uproar when he announced plans to build a $64-million, 8,000-seat bandshell there. Congregants of two synagogues abutting the park and other local critics balked at the idea, calling the planned venue a monstrosity that would destroy parkland and overwhelm their quiet street.

Synagogue officials sued to shut the Beep’s concerts down on the grounds that amplified music is illegal within 500 feet of houses of worship. Markowitz settled the lawsuit last year by agreeing to relocate the concerts to W. 21st Street.

Brighton Beach residents who sued Markowitz said they were pleased that the concert won’t come back to Asser Levy Park.

“It’s what the law is all about,” said longtime concert critic Ida Sanoff. “The new location fits in perfectly with Coney Island.”

Seaside concert organizer and promoter Debbie Garcia said the series will move forward, but wouldn’t provide further details — or reveal the lineup for this year’s shows.

Borough President Markowitz hasn’t given up on a state-of-the-art amphitheater, spokesman Mark Zustovich explained.

“The borough president remains committed — financially and otherwise — to a world-class performance venue,” Zustovich said.

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at
Updated 5:10 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reader feedback

MH says:
Maybe all those who are complaining so much about a basically "free" (translate - GIFT) to the people of Brooklyn would like to make a donation so that a better venue can be located.
"Other than that they could just cope with what is available, or stay home and complain about something else. GET
May 15, 2012, 8:33 am
jerry from brighton beach says:
Hey marty : Don't you get it by now : No ONE is above the LAW ! That goes for you too !

In fact you better get a permit for the money that you are collecting from the 5000 seats @ $5.00 a pop.

You Need a PERMIT for that activity too ! Check the Police Dept. rules & regulations as far as the Sound Permitting is concerned . YOU NEED TO GET A PERMIT TO COLLECT THAT MONEY, PERIOD.
May 15, 2012, 4:47 pm
Jared from Brooklyn says:
So a synagogue controls the local area. At this point the Jewish community controls the entire boro. Time to leave Brooklyn, it is not longer Brooklyn
May 16, 2012, 11 am
Not even Jewish from Coney Island says:
Idiots, people who live near the park are having to listen to all this unnessary noise. How would you like it if you lived near the park and had to listen to blasting music and the unruly crowds that go to the concerts.

So, stop blaming the Jews.

You should be ashamed of yourself.
May 20, 2012, 6:40 am

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