Coney Island Development Continues, Locals Angry as Always

03/30/2010 11:55 AM |

Coney Island, this could be your future
  • Coney Island, this could be your future

What Curbed calls the “potato-chip-shaped amphitheater” planned for Asser Levy Park, a pet project of the sinister Marty Markowitz, took one teensy step closer to reality last week when the parks department started looking formally for a company to operate the 5,000-seat facility. In a press release, Markowitz said that “this project means Asser Levy Seaside Park”—nine acres at the Coney-Brighton border—”will be not only a welcoming eastern gateway to a revitalized Coney Island, but a place where families in the community and visitors can enjoy relaxation, recreation and the vibrant cultural programming that has been the Park’s hallmark since at least the turn of the twentieth century.” Still, local Jews are upset about such meshuggeneh.

In February, the Times reported that neighbors

[L]ike Asser Levy Park just as it is — a quiet oasis with a modest band shell — not as a place, they say, that would draw more traffic, disrupt services at two synagogues and, perhaps most critically, diminish their only decent patch of open space.

“His dream is our nightmare,” said Al Turk, president of Temple Beth Abraham, on Sea Breeze Avenue, opposite the park. “They’re destroying a park to turn it over to a concrete amphitheater. This thing is right on top of us.”

Nothing is ever easy in Coney Island development (no embedded link could express the truth of that statement in all its magnitude), and this fight probably isn’t over, even if the locals have already lost.