Archive for the tag 'music'

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.

You might know Willie Simpson as a Sheepshead Bites contributor, but you probably didn’t know he’s also a songwriter.

And now he’s produced his first full-length music video for his song “Memory Lane,” and he didn’t even bother telling his closest friends and part-time employers about it. They had to read about it on Facebook.

Like, really, one of your best friends publishes a website all about Sheepshead Bay and frequently features music and video about Sheepshead Bay and you don’t bother telling him you made a video chock full o’ Sheepshead Bay.

What can I say – Willie’s no ladder climber.

But he’s got good friends that help him out anyway. Check out the video above, and follow Willie’s musical musings at WillieSimpson.com and on Facebook.

He told me his next single will be called the “The Oshi Anna Poos,” a bluesy folk piece about a news blogger kidnapped mid-squat on a public john and lynched as a warning to anyone who dares have a sense of humor. It’ll be his “Straight Outta Compton,” I’m sure.

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.

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

Pipe Organ Restoration at Our Lady of Refuge in Brooklyn New York | 6 Years in 7 minutes from Joe Vitacco on Vimeo.

One of the world’s greatest musicians will be heading to Midwood to lay his hands on the enormous pipe organ located at Our Lady of Refuge Church in Midwood (2020 Foster Avenue). The New York Daily News is reporting that Olivier Latry will be the first to play the organ after it was meticulously restored after years of work.

The instrument is a Kilgen Organ Opus 5163. It features 1,800 pipes and is 80-years-old. The restoration process took six years and cost $250,000. The Daily News reported that over 1,000 people donated to the organ’s restoration with one person generously handing over $10,000. Chairman of the church organ’s committee Joe Vitacco was thrilled at the organ’s restoration and over the renowned Latry’s upcoming October 18 performance.

“(Latry) is like Tiger Woods, he’s like the Peyton Manning of organ. He’s that good. I have people coming in from California, I have people coming in from all over the country. It’s really pretty amazing,” Vitacco told the Daily News.

The event has drawn 700 people and is likely to sell out, stunning Vitacco.

“Usually organ recitals don’t sell out. I really just wanted to have everyone wowed by this instrument, even those not into pipe organs. (Latry) will wow them,” Vitacco said.

The recital is scheduled for Friday, October 18 at 7 p.m. For more information you can call (718) 434-2090 or visit the Our Lady of Refuge Church’s website by clicking here. Also, be sure to play the video above for a fascinating look at the restoration process of the organ.

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.

Bronislaw Huberman, founder of the Israel Philharmonic. Source: bronislawhuberman.com

Bronislaw Huberman, founder of the Israel Philharmonic. Source: bronislawhuberman.com

The Beth El Jewish Center of Flatbush invites all to its fall film series, kicking off with a screening of the documentary “Orchestra of Exiles,” Monday, September 30 at 7:30 p.m. inside the synagogue’s daily chapel, 1981 Homecrest Avenue at Avenue T.

The film tells the story of the founding of the Palestine Philharmonic — which grew into the world famous Israel Philharmonic — in the 1930s by Bronislaw Huberman, a Polish musician who worked to saved fellow musicians from the impending Holocaust. The film combines Holocaust history with an appreciation of great music.

The series is free, and all are welcome to attend. For further information, call (718) 375-0120.

Beyonce On the Cyclone (Source: Coney Island Facebook page)

Beyonce On the Cyclone (Source: Coney Island Facebook page)

Superstar singer Beyonce made waves in Coney Island yesterday, riding the Cyclone roller coaster as part of a new music video. While Beyonce’s presence caused joy for most fans in the area, one woman was left in tears, according to a report by the Daily Mail.

Beyonce’s new music video was directed by famed ‘creepy’ fashion photographer Terry Richardson, a controversial artist known for creating unsettling over-sexualized situations during his shoots. This portion of Beyonce’s newest video was a much more wholesome affair, featuring the singer happily riding the Cyclone with other thrilled extras and also hopping on the iconic Wonder Wheel for a spin. In pictures published by the Daily News, Beyonce was all smiles, soaking in the attention of her fans and seeming to genuinely enjoy the fun of the attractions.

Not everyone was overjoyed by the singer’s presence, however. The Daily Mail found a woman in tears after being stuck on the Wonder Wheel for a half hour while ride operators suspended the contraption so Beyonce’s makeup could be touched up. Apparently, the operators assumed they had cleared out all other riders and  forgot that one couple was still suspended in a pod. When they realized that another couple had been hovering for a half hour, operators let them off, revealing that the woman had been visibly shaken and crying out of fear. Beyonce was reportedly unaware of the couple’s distress.

Of course, there are worse rides to be stuck on than the Wonder Wheel, especially considering that it was only for 30 minutes. Still, operators caught up in attending to the needs of a superstar need to do their jobs and realize that they can’t keep people trapped in the sky, but that goes without saying. It is also worth noting that the distressed woman hurried off the scene quickly, seeking no publicity or attention, that is, until the inevitable lawsuit comes out in a few weeks.

Next »