Archive for the tag 'concerts'

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.

The Fab Four -- John, Paul, George and Ringo -- arrive in America at JFK. Source: Wikipedia

The Fab Four — John, Paul, George and Ringo — arrive in America at JFK. Source: Wikipedia

BETWEEN THE LINES: This past Sunday night, February 9, marked the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” A record 73 million Americans — more than a third of the U.S. population and considerably higher than the first Super Bowl TV audience three years later — tuned in. Some were habitual viewers of the popular weekly variety show. A sizable segment, no doubt, watched just to see what the fuss about four British lads was. But many viewers, largely pre-teen and teenage girls, were a legion of keyed up devotees, aware of the ruckus since the Liverpool quartet’s contagious pop songs became Top 40 radio staples in the weeks before their groundbreaking, two-set performance.

Continue Reading »

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.

Students from St. Mark School served as Santa's little helpers at the event, piling the donated toys and greeting guests.

Students from St. Mark School served as Santa’s little helpers at the event, piling the donated toys and greeting guests.

The Bay Improvement Group’s  23rd annual concert and toy drive on Sunday saw hundreds of toys piled on stage as Vince Martell of Vanilla Fudge jammed for the crowd.

The 225 toys collected will go to a shelter for battered women and their children located in the heart of Sheepshead Bay. It’s a toy drive in our community that ensures toys stay with the needy of our community, said BIG Executive Director Steve Barrison.

“We have a battered women’s shelter down the block and they were not getting anything [from other drives]. And that’s really the heart of it,” Barrison told Sheepshead Bites at the event, which took place in the Baron DeKalb Knights of Columbus (3000 Emmons Avenue). “We’ve got to fill the need right here in our own community, and we know where the toys go.”

The event started 23 years ago, when Barrison and Martell, who previously met at a diner, decided to spend the holiday season driving around in a limo, popping out at random places and singing to pedestrians for donations for children’s toys. Since then, the event has moved around the neighborhood, including the old Lundy’s restaurant, various local businesses, several years at St. Mark School and now, for the first time, at the Knights.

George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah,” written in Beethoven’s handwriting; “Beethoven so admired Handel’s work that he wrote it out so as to get the ‘feeling of its intricacies’ and ‘to unravel its complexities’.” Source: Rain.org

The 18th annual “Music from Good Shepherd” chamber music series kicked off two weeks ago, and is well underway.

The series of concerts, under the leadership of Musical Director Michael Fontana, takes place over the course of 11 consecutive Sundays at 6:00 p.m. in Good Shepherd Church, Avenue S at Brown Street, in Marine Park. This Sunday will be the third performance of the season.

The series’ concluding concert will be a rousing performance of George Frideric Händel’s “Messiah,” December 15, featuring a full orchestra, choir and soloists.

Admission is free and open to the public. Donations for the performers, however, are encouraged and greatly appreciated.

For information, call (718) 998-2800 or email mforgan@aol.com.

The complete schedule of remaining performances is below:
October 20 - Hard Tango Chamber Band
October 27 – 8 Strings & a Whistle
November 3 – Daniel Lippel, classical guitar
November 10 - Gregory Harrington, violin
November 17 - Kalin Ivanov, cello
November 24 - Brooklyn Baroque
December 1 - Matthew Fontana, clarinet
December 8 - Brace Negron, Bass/Baritone
December 15 - Handel’s “Messiah”, the Good Shepherd Chancel Choir & Orchestra

Source: NYC Preservation Commission

Source: NYC Preservation Commission

A blow came to Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz as Community Board 13 voted against the plan to convert the historic Childs Restaurant at West 21st Street into an amphitheater. The New York Daily News is reporting that board members voted against the project after fielding complaints from residents that the new facility would invite increased traffic and noise to the area.

As we’ve previously reported, the $53 million amphitheater is the pet project of the departing borough president. The new facility, which is set to transform the historic Childs Restaurant into a 5,000-seat concert hall that will host musical acts, restaurants and other concessions, is expected to be completed in 2015.

The Board held a meeting and voted 14-to-7 against the plan, stunning Markowitz and other developers who were moving full steam ahead with the project:

The surprising denial came after the board’as own Zoning and Land Use Committee overwhelmingly voted 10-1 to approve the plan earlier this month.

“It’s hard to understand what happened,” admitted Community Board 13 district manager Chuck Reichenthal, referring to the Monday night vote.

Markowitz said he was “disappointed” by the vote.
“This project… will generate jobs, economic development and joy for Coney Island and all of Brooklyn for generations to come.”…

Howard Weiss, the lawyer for star Financial, defended the plan.

“Any concerns about noise and traffic have been fully addressed,” Weiss said Wednesday.

Weiss pointed out that a special tent covering the concert area would help reduce the noise of the summertime shows.

Besides noise and traffic, local community members also expressed frustration that the fast pace of construction might endanger the community garden, as some proposals call for the garden to be paved over to provide for more parking. Local resident Carol DeMartino told News 12 that before construction proceeds, community members should have the opportunity to be more involved in the process.

“I’m hoping that all the people that show up will at least put a halt on it until the whole community is given the information, can process it. Stop rushing it, the whole thing is rushed,” DeMartino said.

While the Board’s vote comes as a blow to the development of the project, it does not represent a death knell as it is merely an advisory ruling. The Daily News reported that the City Planning Commission will likely give a further go-ahead next month before sending the project to the City Council for the final say. Still, the rejection by the Board tampers the enthusiasm of the project, long trumpeted by Markowitz, and sets the stage for more confrontation between developers and local residents.

Source: NYC Preservation Commission

Worst Photoshop Job Ever? (Source: NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission)

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz’s dream of putting a multi-purpose amphitheater in Coney Island cleared a major hurdle this week when the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously to approve the plan. The New York Daily News is reporting that the Commission gave approval to transform the Childs Restaurant (West 21st Street), which is landmarked, into a community arts center and seaside Park.

As we’ve previously reported, the project, which costs an estimated $53 million, will transform Childs Restaurant into a 5,000 seat concert hall with space for an additional 2,000 people on the adjacent lawn. Here is a list detailing the expected changes:

  • The design plan will remain true to the original Childs Restaurant and will restore the classical Greek, Spanish and maritime influenced architecture along the exterior and rooftop of the building.
  • A hole will be knocked in the side of the restaurant to create room for a stage.
  • The land surrounding the space will be manicured into a park that will also allow for 5,000 seat viewing capacity when shows are put on.
  • During the spring and summer, the semi-circular stage will be set underneath a removable mesh roof.
  • There will be a high end restaurant and cafe that will operate year round. The restaurant will also feature an open-air section on the roof like the original Childs Restaurant.
  • The surrounding empty lots around West 22nd Street will be converted into parks, lawns, gardens and provide a space for private concessions.

Markowitz tapped his inner showman in expressing praise at the Commission’s decision.

“The (Commission) has taken a major step towards ensuring that rain or shine, the show will go on in Coney Island,” Markowitz said in a statement.

Fredrick Bland, an official from the Landmarks Commission was apparently bowled over by Markowitz’s plan.

“It’s really a very creative, clever solution,” Bland said.

Speaking of ‘bland,’ something has to be said about the mock-up of the proposed amphitheater pictured above. This is either one of the worst Photoshop jobs ever thrown together or a representation of how boring this structure might look from the outside when it is expected to be completed in 2015. I suppose time will tell on how the building actually turns out, but right now it looks pretty ugly.

The Hot Sardines as photographed by Harry Fellows for Collective Magazine

The Hot Sardines will play July 20. (Source: hotsardines.com)

On Stage at Kingsborough, the performing arts programming division at Kingsborough Community College (2001 Oriental Boulevard) will once again host a series of free outdoor concerts all summer un the Hot Summer Nights banner.

The concerts kick off this weekend, and follow on Saturday nights thoughout July at 8:00 p.m.

“This year, our concerts will feature some of the finest Jazz and Swing artists in the world that play regularly at New York City’s hottest clubs,” stated Anna Becker, executive director of On Stage at Kingsborough. “Or you can find them right here, at Kingsborough’s free outdoor concert series at our bandshell, in the shadow of our stunning lighthouse, and just a breezy stroll away from our breathtaking sea wall. We invite everyone to bring a picnic and make a wonderful summer evening of it.”

Here’s this year’s lineup:

  • July 6: The Brooklyn Community Wind Ensemble, conducted by Ray Wheeler, kicks off the series with its musical tribute to Independence Day. Join us for an evening of patriotic pops with our community’s beloved concert band.
  • July 13: The George Gee Swing Orchestra, featuring vocalists Hilary Gardner and John Dokes with special guest Lindy Hoppers Samantha Siegel and Brian Lawton. Get ready to jump, jive and wail with the George Gee Swing Orchestra. This swingin’ band has been together for over 25 years and deeply enjoys its hard-earned reputation as the swingin’-est, blowin’-est, heppest classic big band in New York City. In more than 30 years of playing for dancing feet, the George Gee Swing Orchestra band has developed a special bond with lindy hoppers all around the world.
  • July 20: The Hot Sardines -  Take a blustery brass lineup, layer it over a rhythm section led by a Fats Waller-style stride-piano virtuoso, and tie the whole thing together with a magnetic, one-of-the-boys frontwoman whose voice recalls another era, and you have The Hot Sardines. The Sardine sound – wartime Paris via New Orleans (or the other way around) – is steeped in the kind of music Louis Armstrong, Dhango Reinhardt, and Waller used to make: Straight-up, foot stomping jazz.
  • July 27: David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Centennial Band - Inspired by the noble jazz pioneers Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton, and more, David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Centennial Band breathes life and passion into America’s own great art form. This Grammy Award-nominated band plays weekly at New York City’s Birdland Jazz Club with guest musicians such as Wynton Marsalis, Dick Hyman, Jon Hendricks, and blues great Big Joe Turner. 

GENERAL INFORMATION:

Admission and parking is free and open to the public. Kingsborough’s gates open at 7:00 p.m. and the concerts begin at 8:00 p.m.

A limited number of seats are available, but all are welcome to bring blankets and folding chairs for our grassy areas as well.

  • Rain Location: In the event of rain or extreme heat, the concerts will be relocated to the air conditioned Leon M. Goldstein Performing Arts Center. Updated location information will be available on our box office line - (718) 368-5596 - starting at 4:00 p.m. on concert days.
  • Picnic Information: To complete a gorgeous night of great music in a friendly community setting, our gates open at 7:00 p.m. and picnicking is welcomed. An ice cream truck will be on site selling treats.

For more information:

  • Box Office Location: On Stage at Kingsborough box office, Kingsborough Community College, 2001 Oriental Boulevard. There is ample, free parking on the campus.
  • Box Office Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday
  • By Phone: (718) 368-5596
  • Online: www.OnStageAtKingsborough.org 

Next »