Archive for the tag 'asser levy park'

From the office of City Councilman Chaim Deutsch:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The garden, before and after bulldozing. Source: NYCCGC.org

The garden, before and after bulldozing. Source: NYCCGC.org

The Coney Island Boardwalk Community Garden received an agreement from the city to stop construction of the amphitheater on the site of their recently destroyed garden. Construction will be postponed until June 10 when the Kings County Supreme Court will hear the case.

The local garden community lost their greens, cats and chickens last year during a midnight raid by the city that left the whole garden completely destroyed. The destruction happened only 10 days after former Borough President Marty Markowitz received permission from the city to begin construction on the amphitheater. The proposed 5,099-seat Seaside Park and Community Arts Center was to be the permanent home of Markowitz’s summer concert series and was seen as a personal project of the beep’s, even after Community Board 13 voted the theater down.

The displaced gardeners had filed the lawsuit in March.

The land the garden sits on is city-owned, and is where seating for the amphitheater will be located. It’s next to the Childs Restaurant building, which will be the stage – and which has not yet been purchased by the city.

Some information on the two conflicting claims, via our earlier reports:

[The] outraged gardeners say that the city failed to do its due diligence, and that the West 22nd Street greenspace was legally a New York City park and the group had an agreement with the city to operate the garden, which should have at least delayed the demolition.

The city, though, previously claimed that the garden was decommissioned as a park in 2004, Brownstoner points out. The group says the city never told them that and let them continue to operate for years, according to NY1.

The Asser Levy Park bandshell in better days. (Source: senarchitects.com)

The Asser Levy Park bandshell in better days. (Source: senarchitects.com)

The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Chaim Deutsch:

New York City Council Member Chaim Deutsch (D-Brooklyn), a strong advocate for improving all parks within the 48th district, will host a town hall meeting at Trump Village on Monday, March 24th, inviting community members to discuss their thoughts regarding necessary upgrades to Asser Levy (Seaside) Park, a popular location for rest, relaxation and recreation, which has fallen into disrepair.

(PREVIOUSLY ON SHEEPSHEAD BITES: Deutsch calls for demolition of Asser Levy Seaside Park bandshell.)

“Asser Levy Park has the potential to become a more enjoyable park,” said Council Member Chaim Deutsch. “It’s time we give the park some overdue attention, and begin working towards regenerating the lost splendor of this valuable resource.”

Asser Levy Park, located off Ocean Parkway between Sea Breeze and Surf Avenues, is home to a playground, hand ball courts, greenery, fitness path and a band shell; all requiring maintenance.

At the town hall meeting, Council Member Deutsch will be asking his constituents to share their vision on how to improve Asser Levy Park. In particular, the Councilman would like to gauge the public’s interests as he determines whether the city’s efforts should be directed towards repairing the rundown facilities currently located at the park, or replacing them with new projects favored by the community. Council Member Deutsch will also explore possibilities for supplementing the park with additional greenery in an effort to enhance the park’s natural beauty.

“Asser Levy Park should become everything that the community wants it to be,” said Council Member Deutsch. “It’s for this reason, that I hope you’ll join me in discussing this important issue and contribute your ideas on how to improve Asser Levy Park.”

The town hall meeting will be held in the Community Room at Trump Village Section 4 [2928 W. Fifth Street between Neptune and Surf Avenues] Monday, March 24, 7 PM.

The garden, before and after bulldozing. Source: NYCCGC.org

The garden, before and after bulldozing. Source: NYCCGC.org

The New York City Community Garden Coalition is suing the city on behalf of the Boardwalk Community Garden in Coney Island, which lost its city-owned land to make way for a seaside amphitheater.

Just days after the City Council approved a plan to make a 5,099-seat concert venue at the landmarked Childs Restaurant in December, bulldozers rolled onto the adjacent property and demolished the garden in a midnight raid.

But the outraged gardeners say that the city failed to do its due diligence, and that the West 22nd Street greenspace was legally a New York City park and the group had an agreement with the city to operate the garden, which should have at least delayed the demolition.

The city, though, previously claimed that the garden was decommissioned as a park in 2004, Brownstoner points out. The group says the city never told them that and let them continue to operate for years, according to NY1.

The gardeners are also suing over what they believe has been an insufficient environmental review, particularly when it comes to the requirements of their sewer system and flood protection. Brooklyn Daily reports:

“The city did not follow its own regulations,” said attorney Joel Kupferman of the New York Environmental Law and Justice Project, which is spearheading the suit. “You’re going to have thousands of people coming to a concert, and the sewers in Coney West cannot take that.”

Kupferman further alleged that iStar Financial, the company that will construct and operate the new hall as a permanent home for Markowitz’s summer concert series, did not do the proper studies when they designed the underground reservoirs that the company claims will combat flooding at the waterfront venue.

Attorneys for iStar say that the blueprints are perfectly in line with regulations.

The amphitheater is set to be the new, permanent home of the former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz’s free summer concert series. It has been opposed by Community Board 13, but given the green light by the Department of City Planning and the City Council.

Source: NYC Preservation Commission

A rendering of the proposed amphitheater.

Well, the city may drag its feet when it comes to repairing the pothole in front of your house, but when it comes to tearing up community gardens, boy, do they move quickly.

The proposed Seaside Park and Community Arts Center, a.k.a. the 5,099-seat amphitheater doggedly sought by outgoing Borough President Marty Markowitz, was given the go-ahead just a mere 10 days ago. Yet, while you might wait months or even years to see a sidewalk crack repaired, the city was quick to evict a beloved community garden in the construction site’s footprint.

Bulldozers were deployed in the middle of the night on Sunday, and workers threw out the gardener’s tools and wheelbarrows, and removed their chickens and a colony of feral cats.

The New York Post reports:

The chickens were placed in pet carriers on the sidewalk and the felines were left fending for themselves.

“They destroyed life!” fumed tearful volunteer Elena Voitsenko, 60, a Russian immigrant who told The Post she’ll take in the birds until they find a new home.

“‎I came to America to escape from the communist regime,” she added. “This is more than the communist regime! They came at 4 in the morning.”

The land the garden sits on is city-owned, and is where seating for the amphitheater will be located. It’s next to the Childs Restaurant building, which will be the stage – and which has not yet been purchased by the city.

But even though the project is still several years off (unless similarly expedited), the city went ahead and gave the boot to the 30-year-old garden regardless of a request for a stay of execution.

Throughout Saturday, volunteers recovered their belongings after workers knocked down plots for tomatoes, cabbage, zucchinis and other vegetables.

Residents say they’ve run the garden since the 1980s.

The city Economic Development Corp., which is spearheading the project, referred questions to the borough president. Markowitz’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

But Mark Cottingham, a consultant for the project, said the urban farm was decommissioned in 2004 and was operating illegally.

Source: NYC Preservation Commission

A rendering of the proposed amphitheater.

The New York City Council gave a parting gift to outgoing Borough President Marty Markowitz, greenlighting his proposal to create a new open-air auditorium, green space and restaurant at the former site of Childs Restaurant on West 21st Street and the boardwalk in Coney Island.

The Council voted in favor of a resolution supporting a 10-year special permit allowing the 5,099-seat amphitheater at its final meeting of the year yesterday, where the majority of the legislative body’s representatives will give up their seats to term-limits on December 31.

Related resolutions that also passed yesterday in order to make way for the project include creating a special zoning district, as well as the acquisition of land between West 21st Street and West 22nd Street, and the elimination of the street between West 22nd Street and West 23rd Street.

Dubbed the Seaside Park and Community Arts Center, the theater and community complex will be used to continue the free Seaside Summer Concert series started by Markowitz, and will also feature paid shows as well. A restaurant concession is also part of the deal.

Markowitz is overjoyed by the project’s approval, which many have portrayed as the final achievement of his legacy as beep. He claims it will create jobs and stimulate commercial development in Coney Island.

Here’s part of the press release Markowitz issued yesterday evening:

This is a landmark achievement for the future of Coney Island and the entirety of Brooklyn. The Seaside Park and Community Arts Center will add even more energy and excitement to one of our nation’s top destinations for family amusement and entertainment, which will increase local tourism and stimulate our economy.

The City’s first covered seasonal   amphitheater will create hundreds of quality jobs; the developer has committed to prioritizing local residents both for construction jobs and when the amphitheater is up and running. This project will catalyze residential and commercial development and keep our City’s attention focused intently on the needed infrastructure improvements that residents of Coney Island’s West End have been seeking for years. By adaptively reusing the Childs building, which has been closed to the public since the 1940’s, we can breathe new life into this under-utilized section of the Riegelmann Boardwalk. By building a lush neighborhood park, we can jumpstart the Coney Island Plan and deliver on the city’s promise of building green spaces.

The proposal won the approval of the Council’s Land Use Committee on Wednesday, allowing it to move forward to the general body.

The local community board voted against the plan in September, and, although the site is landmarked, the Landmarks Preservation Committee gave the overhaul – which would see at least one exterior wall torn down - a thumbs up.

Source: NYC Preservation Commission

Rendering of the proposed venue (Source: NYC Preservation Commission)

The New York City Council is set to vote on the on the $58 million proposal to convert the former site of Childs Restaurant in Coney Island into an amphitheater and public park today, the final scheduled meeting of the Council for the year.

The plan got the green light from the Council’s Committee on Land Use yesterday, according to Crain’s New York, and today goes before the full body.

Here are details from the Crain’s article:

The proposal for the Seaside Park and Community Arts Center project is being advanced by both the city’s Economic Development Corp. and an iStar Financial subsidiary called Coney Island Holdings LLC. Under the plan, zoning laws would be altered and permits granted to allow for the construction of an outdoor amphitheater along the boardwalk near West 21st Street, that could accommodate 5,099 people. In addition, a public park would be built and the landmarked Childs Restaurant would be restored and reopened as an eatery and catering facility.

The proposal has the support of the local City Councilman Domenic Recchia Jr., D-Brooklyn, which means the proposal is likely to sail through the full council tomorrow, since the legislative body typically votes in concert with the local lawmaker.

“The improvements proposed in this project will undoubtedly restore this iconic structure’s use to the community, provide multiple cultural and educational benefits, and greatly contribute to the area’s ongoing cultural and economic revitalization,” Mr. Recchia said in a statement.

The proposal is the brainchild of Borough President Marty Markowitz, who has long sought a permanent venue for his free Seaside Summer Concert Series. Original plans were for an amphitheater in Asser-Levy Seaside Park, where the concerts were held for years. But neighborhood advocates leery of losing one of the community’s few green spaces, and concerns over traffic, parking and noise, led to that proposal’s death after a protracted legal battle.

In addition to the beep’s free concerts, advocates for the plan hope to bring paid concerts as well, and see the proposal as a way to spark residential development in the Sandy-stricken neighborhood.

Some neighbors of Childs Restaurant, as well as members of a community garden on the site that would need to be relocated, have expressed opposition based on traffic, parking and noise.

The local community board voted against the plan in September, and, although the site is landmarked, the Landmarks Preservation Committee gave the overhaul – which would see at least one exterior wall torn down - a thumbs up.

The Asser Levy Park bandshell in better days. (Source: senarchitects.com)

The Asser Levy Park bandshell in better days. (Source: senarchitects.com)

City Council candidate Chaim Deutsch is looking to revamp Asser Levy Seaside Park, saying the space is going to waste and the bandshell – abandoned after a court ruling that barred amplified music in the park – has become an eyesore.

Deutsch told Sheepshead Bites he’s been spending time in at Asser Levy, most recently on Sunday, to survey conditions and talk to patrons about their visions for the space. The park, located on Surf Avenue and Ocean Parkway, has fallen into disrepair, he said, and the bandshell has become a useless, tattered husk that the Parks Department refuses to repair.

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Huey Lewis and the News (Source: hueylewisandthenews.com)

The 35th annual Seaside Summer Concert Series will kick off July 12, featuring another year of all-stars coming to the shore community, hosted by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.

All shows take place on Thursdays, beginning at 7:30 p.m., except the opening night, a Friday, and the closing night, a Wednesday.

Here’s the full lineup, released this week by the beep’s office:

  • July 12 – Cheap Trick
  • July 18 – TBA
  • July 25 – Smokey Robinson
  • August 1 – The Go-Go’s, Tom Tom Club
  • August 15 – Huey Lewis and the News – “Sports” 30th Anniversary Tour
  • August 21 – Chicago

This summer, the shows will again be held at West 21st Street and Surf Avenue, next to the home of the Brooklyn Cyclones.

A limited number of $5 rental chairs in a specially designated area are available on a first come, first served basis.

Performers are subject to change without notice. Call the concert hotline for updates at (718) 222-0600 or visit www.brooklynconcerts.com.

After years of performances at the Asser-Levy Seaside Park on the Brighton Beach – Coney Island border, the series moved in 2011 to the West 21st Street location after Markowitz announced controversial plans to turn the park into an amphitheater. Neighbors opposed the plan and pressed the city to enforce laws the prohibited amplified noise near religious facilities – two of which are near the park.

Markowitz moved the location, and this year announced plans to bring a $50 million amphitheater to the former site of Childs Restaurant.

Source: smikulen/Flickr

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.

The proposed theater has faced a long stream of resistance from local synagogues and other neighbors afraid of traffic and noise. Neighbors are also not thrilled at the idea of groups like Iron Maiden blasting heavy metal riffs through the community, but Markowitz told the Times that, in the end, the theater will be a net positive.

“Change, I know, is not easy. This will bring so much joy and happiness to the people of New York and Brooklyn,” said Markowitz.

According to officials, the theater would take two years to complete.

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