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Press Release

NYCEDC, Council Member Treyger & Borough President Adams Secure Long-Term Funding for Free Community Concerts in Coney Island

Mar 21 2019

Popular Concert Series at Ford Amphitheater and Seaside Park Guaranteed Through 2025, Ensuring Community Benefits from Newly Built Entertainment Venue

BROOKLYN, NY—New York Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), Council Member Mark Treyger and Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams today announced that they have secured sustainable funding to host free community concerts at the Ford Amphitheater and Seaside Park in Coney Island. iStar will provide $600,000 per year through 2025 to support free summer concerts for the Coney Island community, which will be produced this summer in partnership with City Parks Foundation.

The popular event series, with acts to be announced in the coming weeks, will be held at Ford Amphitheater and Seaside Park, an entertainment complex opened in 2016 through a deal brokered by NYCEDC. Adding to local attractions along the historic Riegelmann Boardwalk (now a designated scenic landmark), are the public beach and Kitchen 21, a 5,000-seat amphitheater, a 20,000 square-foot restaurant overlooking the ocean in the landmarked Childs Building, and a public park.

“The revitalization of Coney Island continues to be a top priority for NYCEDC. Securing long-term funding to support the free summer concerts and events will benefit Coney Islands and visitors from all corners of the city,” said NYCEDC President James Patchett. “I thank Council Member Treyger, Borough President Adams, our agency partners NYC Parks and DCP, and community stakeholders for their support in ensuring one of Coney Island’s most beloved traditions continues.”

Since it’s opening in 2016, the Ford Amphitheater has hosted a mix of concerts, sporting events, comedy and family shows, and multicultural events year-round. This new agreement provides resources to host additional free community events that are open to the public. The SummerStage concert series will be produced in partnership with the Department of City Planning and City Parks Foundation, which runs programming for more than 400 New York City parks each year, including the iconic series in Central Park. In past years, free concerts have featured such acts as Brooklyn-born Big Daddy Kane and Puerto Rican salsa singer Tito Rojas.

"I am proud to have worked with NYCEDC to secure stable, sustainable funding for one of our community's most beloved and popular traditions: free summer concerts,” said Council Member Mark Treyger. “Given the considerable public funding involved in building the Ford Amphitheater, I have long insisted that it was the responsibility of NYCEDC’s tenant to fund to free community events. For the first three summers, I worked with Speakers Corey Johnson and Melissa Mark-Viverito to secure city funding for free programming, while the long-term plan for the series remained unclear. Now, I am grateful that, working with NYCEDC and iStar, we have a long-term solution that everyone, especially local residents, can feel good about. I am already looking forward to this summer's shows and thrilled knowing our community will be able to enjoy them for years to come."

“Free seaside concerts in Coney Island have become one of Brooklyn’s most beloved traditions, and my administration has worked hard alongside NYCEDC and Council Member Treyger to keep the music playing summer after summer,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “The new agreement with iStar will sustain our SummerStage shows at Ford Amphitheater and Seaside Park for another half-dozen years, which is such welcome news to fans that count on this series as a source of family-friendly entertainment. This is a big win for everyone invested in the future of America’s Playground.”

“City Parks Foundation is thrilled to be able to work with iStar to bring our SummerStage festival to the Coney Island Amphitheater for a third season during the summer of 2019,” said Heather Lubov, Executive Director of the City Parks Foundation. “We look forward to presenting six concerts featuring a diverse roster of world-class artists and to serving to the Coney Island community—and the entire city—free of charge.”

“We are ecstatic that funding has been identified to ensure that Coney Islanders and visitors can experience the Ford Amphitheater with free concert programming provided by SummerStage,” said Alexandra Silversmith, Executive Director of the Alliance for Coney Island. “I have many amazing memories of free concerts in Coney Island including seeing the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin perform in our historic Amusement District. I look forward to seeing new memories created and the tradition carried on.”

“Funding for six years of free concerts at Ford Amphitheater is my favorite news so far in 2019,” said Dick Zigun, Founder and Artistic Director of Coney Island USA. “Coney Island not only rocks a gorgeous facility, we give famous acts away for free!”

Production of free summer concerts was a key community benefit associated with the new venue, but uncertainty of funding over the past several years led Council Member Treyger and Borough President Eric L. Adams to maintain programming through discretionary funding until a long-term solution was identified. Funding is now identified and committed until 2025, ensuring the community will continue to benefit from this facility.

In 2009, a 19-block rezoning created a 27-acre amusement and entertainment district in Coney Island. Public amenities like the Ford Amphitheater, restoration of the historic Childs Building, and the development of Kitchen 21, bolster NYCEDC’s work in the community. That work includes over $180 million toward infrastructure upgrades to activate more than 4,000 units of housing and public open space. Collectively, these investments are expected to create up to 6,000 permanent jobs, 25,000 construction jobs, and $14 billion in economic activity. In 2021, NYC Ferry will launch a new route in Coney Island, that will reduce commute times in half for Coney Islanders.

New York City Economic Development Corporation creates shared prosperity across New York City’s five boroughs by strengthening neighborhoods and creating good jobs. NYCEDC works with and for communities to provide them with the resources they need to thrive, and we invest in projects that increase sustainability, support job growth, develop talent, and spark innovation to strengthen the City’s competitive advantage. To learn more about our work and initiatives, please visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.