Last week, two synagogues filed suit against the city and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz over the Seaside Summer Concert Series at Asser Levy Park. The synagogues pointed out that the concerts violate the noise code, "which prohibit the use of electronic sound amplification equipment at any location within 500 feet of houses of worship during hours of worship" (the synagogues are 300 feet away). Now the city is looking to fast track a bill to get around the violation.
A new bill—requested by Mayor Bloomberg— sponsored by City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Queens)—would revise the law to allow outdoor concerts within 500 feet of houses of worship. Vallone said, "Clearly, the events in Brooklyn show that [the rule] may need to be tweaked. There are concerts all over the city that may now be in danger because of this lawsuit."
However Norman Siegel, who is representing the plaintiffs, said, "It's a clear end run around the existing law. It's disappointing that rather than comply, the city is trying to change the law." And one of the plaintiffs, Al Turk, vice president of Temple Beth Abraham, told the Daily News "What city Councilman could vote for this in good conscience? It's wrong. How could you have loud music interrupting synagogue services?...This not only affects synagogues, it will affect mosques, churches, libraries, and schools."
Markowitz seems confident, "The Seaside Summer Concert Series, which has been held at Asser Levy Seaside Park in Coney Island without complaint for 19 summers, will continue to bring joy to thousands. "