Mr. Markowitz, the Brooklyn borough president, envisions Asser Levy Park, also known as Seaside Park, as the gateway to a spruced-up amusement complex evoking Coney Island’s splashy past. An enormous new outdoor amphitheater would have room for 8,000 people and draw top entertainers, he said — maybe even favorites of his like Carole King or Neil Diamond.
“It’ll be absolutely gorgeous,” Mr. Markowitz said, and “a really great attraction for the future of Coney Island.”
City officials hope to have the amphitheater, the largest in a city park, ready for the 2013 outdoor concert season.
But for many neighbors, the project is about as subtle as a spaceship. They say they like 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.”