Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowtiz has long dreamed of building a permanent amphitheater in Coney Island to house the popular summer concert series and now it seems that the dream will come true. According to a report in the New York Times, Markowitz and other city officials have reached a deal to build a brand spanking new $58 million music hall and theater. It will be announced at the beep’s State of the Borough address tonight.
The 5,000-seat theater will be built out of the remains of the landmarked Childs Theater, near the boardwalk’s western end. Markowitz has $48 million in his capital budget with the city pledging $10 million extra for the project. The theater is being developed by iStar Financial.
If built, the Times describes where the theater would fit in the community and how the theater would serve a variety of events:
[T]he theater would occupy part of a building on the Boardwalk that once housed a branch of the Childs Restaurant chain and is protected by city landmark designation. The theater would also occupy an adjoining lot that has been used as an unauthorized community garden. The concerts would be run by a nonprofit operator. The theater could be used for year-round events, including graduations. There are also discussions about designing the theater so that hundreds of additional people can watch from an adjacent lawn when the weather is warm and dry.
The developer is planning to revive the 90-year-old Childs building as a restaurant, retaining the palatial facade, which is famed for its terra cotta seashell ornamentation, wide-mouthed smiling fish and Neptunes. Part of the building’s western wall would be breached to create the backstage area for the theater.
Borough President Marty Markowitz has been tight-lipped about the 2011 Seaside Summer Concert Series, forgoing the usual name-dropping in the months ahead of the concerts. But Sheepshead Bites has done some sleuthing, and our sources tell us that rock legend Joan Jett will play the opening show.
A source close to the Borough President’s office has confirmed that the first show of the 33rd Seaside Summer Concert Series will feature “Godmother of Punk” and the “Original Riot Grrrl” Joan Jett, who Rolling Stone named one of the greatest guitarists of all time.
The rather gloomy looking lot that will soon host the Seaside Summer Concerts. (Source: Google Maps)
The show will go on!
Borough President Marty Markowitz has announced the new location for the 2011 Summer Concert Series: West 21st Street in Coney Island, the former site of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
“While the shows are in a slightly different location, tens of thousands of Brooklynites and all New Yorkers will still get the same high quality, free concerts on Thursday evenings this summer. Mayor Bloomberg, the City Council led by Speaker Quinn and Coney Island’s own Councilman Domenic Recchia were unwavering partners in our efforts to keep the concerts in Coney Island,” said a joint statement issued by Markowitz and Seaside Summer Concert Series Executive Director/Producer Debra Garcia.
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?
There won’t be no R-E-S-P-E-C-T for the bad news that Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin has cancelled her two free Brooklyn shows, but, considering the circumstances, it’s possible that I Say A Little Prayer… (Ed. — Hah! Get it?)
Aretha Franklin has canceled two free concerts in Brooklyn next week because of an injury.
The shows — at Wingate Field in East Flatbush, on Monday, and Asser Levy Park in Brighton Beach on Aug. 12 — were part of two series presented by Marty Markowitz, the borough president, and they were to be Ms. Franklin’s first concerts in Brooklyn. But she will not appear, according to Debra Garcia, who organizes the concerts for Mr. Markowitz. There was no immediate word on the nature of Ms. Franklin’s injury.
The event kicked off at noon on July 9, stretching throughout the day until the last band played the final note just before 8 p.m.
Jamsterdam took place at Asser-Levy / Seaside Park, and was hampered by the hubbub around the proposed amphitheater. Because of the ban on amplified sound that is being enforced for the first time in years, organizers were denied use of the band shell just days before the event. They were given permission to set up a makeshift stage at the other end of the park.
LoSapio said the event was a success and she’s looking forward to doing more cultural events in the area to benefit various causes, including a possible comedy show in the near future. If you’re interested in getting involved with this terrific grassroots effort, drop us a line and we’ll get you in touch with the Jamsterdam crew.
Chicks with guitars are hot. Expect to see this and more at Jamsterdam. Photo courtesy of Circadian Clock
We let organizer Samantha LoSapio tell you all about Jamsterdam yesterday. But for those not paying attention, Samantha put together an extraordinary showdown of local bands to rock the outdoor venue of Asser-Levy Seaside Park tomorrow. The festival kicks off at noon, and we got the entire schedule of bands here.
Remember – this is a benefit concert to raise awareness of autism, supported by Autism Speaks. It’s a great cause, and all the bands deserve to be recognized for coming together for this purpose (not to mention Samantha, who put it together against all odds).