Thursday, August 19, 2010

Markowitz Concerts Significantly Violate New City Sound Law: Mayor Goes Back On Promise

July 29, 2010 - Asser Levy/Seaside Park. City employees, and a private audio consultant take decibel measurements outside the concert.  (Photos: © Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on photos to enlarge.


Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz concert series at Asser Levy/Seaside Park significantly violated the new sound code.  According to sound readings taken at the July 29th concert the music exceeded the "typical ambient sound level of 57.8 dBa by 20-32 dBA, far higher then the 'under-10 dBA' specified by law."

The new sound law provides that sound attributable to a sound devise "shall not exceed a level of 10 dB (a) or more above the ambient sound level as measured at a distance of 15 feet from the point on the perimeter upon which structure is located that is closest to the sound device or apparatus."

Lawyers for the plaintiffs sent a letter to the City's Corporation Council on August 3, 2010 with a report of the results.  "As the testing results contained in the enclosed report demonstrate, the sound level at the July 29th concert significantly violated the Code, as amended."  The August 3rd letter asked what the City's plans were regarding the continued use of Asser Levy Park in violation of the Code's amplified sound restrictions. The letter also provided the Mayor with the opportunity to stand behind his commitment to cancel any future concerts if they violated the new sound code as he stated on July 12th. 

On July 12 at City Hall Mayor Bloomberg said, "I can promise you that I will at city expense make sure that the standards in this bill as passed by the City Council are followed.    If in the middle of a concert that's going on and its too loud no we're not stop the concert but they will not have another one. I think that's a fair thing.  We don't need a riot we don't need people to be so disappointed but I empress on the borough president  that we are deadly serious and we're going to enforce this."  

The City admitted the concerts violated the new sound law on multiple nights in an August 11, 2010 letter from the City's Law  Department to the plaintiff's attorneys. "...readings taken by City personnel during the performances on July 29 and August 5th indicated sound levels above the permitted level on a number of occasions during the hours of worship identified by the plaintiffs. This information has likewise been conveyed to the Mayor's office."  

In a stipulation between the City and the Plaintiffs, the City has agreed that the promoter must present a plan to the City detailing the specific steps it will take to ensure compliance with the law for the remaining two concerts to be held on August 19th, and 26th.  A copy of the promoter's plan must be delivered no later than 5:00pm two days before the remaining concerts. 

The City is required to monitor the concerts before and during the concerts. According to the agreement,  if the promoter exceeds the permitted levels prior or during the concerts  and if after being informed does not take immediate measures to correct it, the City will consider terminating the concert, subject to safety concerns. The agreement further stipulates that If the promoter exceeds the permitted levels and the conditions are not immediately corrected on the 19th,  the City will not authorize the future use of amplified sound by the promoter in 2010, whereby canceling the August 26th concert.  

"I am so disillusioned with the Mayor," said plaintiff Ida Sanoff.  "Everyone who attended the bill signing believed that he would do as he said - stop the concerts if they violated the law. But instead, he's just giving us the run around. I guess it's another example of the old boys network - Bloomberg is letting his good buddy Markowitz get away with everything."

"I am extremely upset over our Borough President flouting of the law, "  said Mendy Sontag, president of the Sea Breeze Jewish Center. "I am extremely saddened that the Mayor of the greatest city in the United States has broken his promise to make our politicians adhere to our laws."

July 29, 2010 - Asser Levy/Seaside Park 


A lawsuit was filed on June 17, in Brooklyn Supreme Court on behalf of two synagogues seeking to prevent the City of New York and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz from violating a long-time law forbidding amplified concerts within 500 feet of a house of worship, schools, hospitals, and courthouses. On June 29th, 2010, the City Council passed a bill which excluded Asser Levy/Seaside Park from the law.  The bill to change the existing law was hastily introduced by Queens Council Member Peter Vallone at the request of Mayor Bloomberg  The amendment was a clear end-run around the existing law.  Since 1991 Mr. Markowitz has sponsored an annual concert series in Asser Levy/Seaside Park, in Brighton Beach Brooklyn.

In violation of the law, these concerts have coincided with the hours of worship of Plaintiff Congregation Sea Breeze Jewish Center and with the hours of worship of Plaintiff Congregation Temple Beth Abraham. The two synagogues are approx. 300 feet away.

The suit was brought against defendants the City of New York and Brooklyn Borough President, Martin Markowitz, with regard to the violation of Title 10, Chapter 1, Section 10-108 (g) of the New York City Administrative  Code, and Title 38, Chapter 8, Section 8-06 of the Rules and Regulations of the City of New  York (together, the “Code”), which prohibit the use of electronic sound amplification equipment  at any location within 500 feet of  houses of worship during hours of worship.  Plaintiffs are directly and adversely affected by the Defendants’ annual operation of the Parks Department band shell in Asser Levy Park, which comes within 500 feet of Plaintiffs’ houses of worship, as a concert and event venue using electronic  sound amplification equipment.

Electronic sound amplification equipment is used during the concerts. Mayor Bloomberg and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz want to build a $64 million, eight thousand seat amphitheater in Asser Levy/Seaside Park, right across the street from Sea Breeze Jewish Center and Temple Beth Abraham. 

Read More: 

The Brooklyn Paper - August 25, 2010  - By Stephen Brown 

New York Post - August 19, 2010 - By Rich Calder


  1. This is just another example where Marty Markowitz is not abiding by the Law that was enacted by his fellow polticians in the City Council.
    There's a two tier system here : One law for the Public to abide by & another for the Politicans.
    Mr. Markowitz violated the original 500 foot rule. Now Mr. Markowitz is violating the new law.
    We should hold Mayor Bloomberg to his words. Afterall, if the Mayor does not keep his word about stopping the concerts, if Mr. Markowitz violated the new law, ( which he is quoted)
    what good is his word on other policy matters in the City of New York worth ?

  2. that's outrageous.