He's been talking about it for years, and now, as Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz nears the end of his third term, his dream of building an amphitheater in Coney Island is finally coming true. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.
The deal is done. An amphitheater will be built in a landmark building on the Coney Island boardwalk.
NY1 first reported back in August about the city's plans to turn the former Child's Restaurant into an entertainment complex. Now, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is set to announce the project is a go, in his State of the Borough address Thursday night at Barclays Center..
"It's been a dream of mine for many, many years," Markowitz said. "This new amphitheater will be in the heart of Coney Island. It will add immeasurably to making Coney Island America's Playground."
Markowitz raised some $50 million for a Coney Island venue to hold his annual Seaside Summer Concert series. He was hoping to build it at Asser Levy Park, where he had held his shows since 1991, but he was forced to move the concerts after nearby synagogues and others filed a lawsuit about the noise.
"I still think that those that spearheaded the opposition have made a terrible mistake, but nonetheless, sometimes, out of adversity, a better plan emerges," Markowitz said.
The new plan calls for a 5,000 seat amphitheater. But it won't be a year-round venue like Markowitz envisioned. With no heating or air conditioning, it'll be a seasonal spot and will host other events and will need to go through the public review process. Markowitz said developers plan to eventually add housing and retail as well.
By the time the shows go on, perhaps by summer of 2015, Markowitz will no longer be borough president, blocked by term limits from running again. So this is his final State of the Borough address.
"It's really a celebration of Brooklyn," Markowitz said.
The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, who performed at President Barack Obama's inauguration will be there, along with some other top acts.
There will be other celebrities with Brooklyn ties sharing the stage with Markowitz, including actor Tony Danza and Miss America Mallory Hagan.
Markowitz promised lots of show surprises as he prepares to wrap up his 12 years in office.