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As Brooklyn Holds Final Seaside Summer Concerts, Markowitz Pushes For An Amphitheater

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It is the last run for one of Brooklyn's signature events, the annual free summer concert series in Coney Island, but outgoing Borough President Marty Markowitz is pushing for a new permanent concert venue to be built. Borough reporter Jeanine Ramirez explains why.

It's the beginning of the end for the annual Seaside Summer Concert Series. Borough President Marty Markowitz took the stage Friday for the start of its final run.

The free seasonal shows is a tradition he started 35 years ago when he was a state senator, and so is his customary white jacket.

"I have three sets of white jackets. Unfortunately, this is the only one that fits me for the summer of 2013. But I have never thrown away any of my white tuxedos, even from 35 years ago," he said.

Markowitz is nearing the end of his 12-year borough presidency and is not seeking another office. So as he lets go of public life, so go his outdoor concerts.

But as one of his last projects, Markowitz set aside some $50 million dollars to build an amphitheater.

"Once the amphitheater theater is built, the music will never end in Coney Island," Markowitz said.

As NY1 first reported last summer, a landmark building will be the venue site.

Just last week, the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the new design. It calls for a 5,000-seat performance space with an adjoining outdoor lawn for more seating. It'll also include a restaurant and some kind of covering.

"It's so important to have a covered amphitheater, in case of rain, that the show will go on, rain or shine," Markowitz said.

The Seaside Park and Community Arts Center is expected to hold as many as 40 concerts between May and October. While cleared through landmarks, the project still needs to go through the public review process.

It will go to the community board, the City Planning Commission and the City Council. Markowitz says if it gets the approvals it needs by the end of the year, construction will begin next year, under a new borough president.

"I hope the next borough president will extend an invitation to me and I want the next borough president to know I accept," Markowitz said.

The goal is to have the amphitheater open in 2015.

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