Looks like Marty Markowitz’s epic battle against two Coney Island synagogues is over — for now.
Since 1991, Brooklyn Borough President Markowitz has hosted the Seaside Summer Concert series in Asser-Levy Park on the border between Coney Island and Brighton Beach. But last year, two neighborhood synagogues sued over noise complaints, starting a protracted fight with one of Brooklyn’s biggest personalities. Markowitz took the case to Brooklyn Supreme Court and eventually lost when the city’s corporate counsel decided that the concerts had to be moved.
Markowitz announced on Monday that he had found a temporary new home for the series: a cement lot on West 21st Street and Surf Avenue in Coney Island. But he isn’t happy about it.
“The reason why it’s not as good? We had a stage. Now we have to rent a stage for the summer. We had electricity. Now we have to bring electricity in for each show,” said Markowitz.
He also bemoaned the lack of grass in the new spot for concert-goers to lounge on, and the fact that he has had to wait until May to start booking artists due to the uncertainty around the future of the concert series.
Markowitz said he had a one-year lease on the new space with Taconic Investment Partners. In past years, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus has set up shop on the lot.
Markowitz said he planned to continue the fight by overturning city noise laws from the 1930s and eventually move forward with a planned project to build a new bandshell at Asser-Levy Park to host the concerts back at the original location for many years to come.
“It just shows you how the few who are intent on spiteful actions can deprive the many of happiness. And that’s a sad day. And I’m telling you I’m not going to sit back on this -- that’s for sure,” said Markowitz. “And so the struggle continues. In the meantime, we will have our shows.”
The Seaside Summer Concert series, which runs from July 15 to Aug. 26, will feature free performances from Neil Sedaka, The Beach Boys, Aretha Franklin, John Legend, and the B-52s, among others.