Rush Job! Coney Island Amphitheater Makes Its Debut, Barely

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Ticketholders going through security to enter the Ziggy Marley show at the Coney Island Amphitheater. (Photo: Alex Ellefson / Sheepshead Bites)

Ticketholders going through security to enter the Ziggy Marley show at the Coney Island Amphitheater. (Photo: Alex Ellefson / Sheepshead Bites)

Construction on the Coney Island Amphitheater barely made it to the finish line to host thousands of concert-goers Saturday for its first show with Ziggy Marley.

The venue was issued a special permit after passing a safety inspection barely 24 hours before the musicians took the stage, according to the Department of Buildings. The property failed two inspections in the week-and-a-half before the concert, records show.

As we previously reported, construction crews working on the highly-anticipated 5,000 seat, open-air entertainment space appeared to be running out of time. With only nine days before the first show, cement work needed to be done, landscaping had to be completed in the park area, the fence surrounded the site and some of the seats still needed to be installed. The project also had to clear 60 requirements before the DOB issued a certificate of occupancy for the property to be used as an entertainment venue.

Instead of obtaining a certificate of occupancy, the amphitheater was given a Temporary Place of Assembly (TPA) permit on Friday — allowing the concert to go forward. A spokesperson for the DOB said contractors building the amphitheater completed all the requirements for the special permit at the very end of the business day. A temporary certificate of occupancy, good for two months, was issued for the amphitheater Monday, property records show.

The audience filing into for the first show at the Coney Island Amphitheater. (Photo: Alex Ellefson / Sheepshead Bites)

The audience filing into for the first show at the Coney Island Amphitheater. (Photo: Alex Ellefson / Sheepshead Bites)

Despite the last minute scurry of activity before the show took place, DOB inspectors made sure the building was safe and ready for action.

“This whole week, we were out there every day doing inspections,” said a DOB spokesperson. “Anything to do with life safety was resolved before the TPA was issued.”

Construction at the amphitheater is still not complete. Scaffolding surrounds the landmarked Childs Restaurant, built in the 1920s, which is expected to house a restaurant and indoor entertainment space. However, the open-air venue was ready to go and ticketholders crowded the boardwalk Saturday to get in for the first show

Brooklynite Nadine Blair said she was excited to be among the first to experience a concert at the new amphitheater.

“We’re groundbreakers. We could say we were the first here,” she said. “We will see tonight if it stands up to the beat of reggae.”

Blair also noted that construction was incomplete and said she was interested in seeing if there are any changes when she returns in August for Reggae on the Boardwalk.

Scaffolding around the landmarked Childs Restaurant. (Photo: Alex Ellefson / Sheepshead Bites)

Scaffolding around the landmarked Childs Restaurant. (Photo: Alex Ellefson / Sheepshead Bites)

The Coney Island Amphitheater’s first show caps a more than three-year effort by the city to build a state-of-the-art entertainment space in the area — and is part of larger attempt to revitalize the area.

The New York City Economic Development Corporation President Maria Torres-Springer, whose agency is overseeing the city’s $60 million investment in the amphitheater, sent a statement celebrating the venue’s opening.

“To see the Amphitheater at Coney Island open is to see a major City investment come to life. The Amphitheater will bring arts, entertainment and economic growth to the area, building off the revitalization we’re seeing throughout this community,” she said.