Thursday, July 9, 2009

East River State Park: rockin' all summer

Dirty Projectors play Williamsburg July 19

By Aaron Short

The summer concert season in Williamsburg has finally arrived.

After six months of tense negotiations between elected officials, concert promoters, and city and state parks staffers, a full line-up of free shows are coming to East River State Park (North 8th and Kent streets) for the inaugural concert series.

"I am very excited that everyone was able to work together to bring the concerts to the state park this year,” said Assemblymember Joseph Lentol, who with the Open Space Alliance and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, led negotiations to move the concert series from McCarren Park Pool to the East River. “This is one of the many things I was envisioning: a place not only where the community could go to relax and enjoy nature, but also where they could go for interesting and exciting programming of all different kinds.”

That they will, as this year’s schedule features acts as diverse as Mission of Burma (July 12), which will open the festival, Dirty Projectors (July 19), Dan Deacon and Deerhunter (August 2), and Grizzly Bear (August 30), and additional acts being confirmed closer to the start of the series.

Though the spirit of JellyNYC’s free concerts in Williamsburg will likely remain the same, the atmosphere at East River State Park promises to be significantly different from shows at the open-air concrete McCarren Pool. With a stage framed by the romantic Manhattan skyline and cool breezes blowing eastward into the crowd from the river, concerts on the water could be on of those memorable “I was there” experiences.

“We loved the JellyNYC Pool Parties and the fabulous music they brought to the neighborhood,” said Andrea Rosen, Digital Marketing Coordinator of L Magazine. “We’re thrilled that they’ve also decided to continue their programming despite the loss of the pool.”

The East River series is just part of a bevy of programming options coming to parks in Williamsburg this summer. The L Magazine Summer Screen series is being preserved as well and will be moving to a fenced-in concrete ballfields next to the tennis courts on Bedford Avenue and North 12th Street starting July 8 with such cult classics as “The Warriors,” “Wild at Heart,” “Fame” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”

“To select this year’s Summerscreen films, several thin-skinned L Magazine editors argued over a list of personal favorites,” said L Magazine’s film editor Mike Asch. “The hope is that the lineup is beloved but not overexposed, that it represents and perhaps expands the tastes of a young Brooklyn audience while welcoming pretty much anyone, and that among the six films there’s something for everyone to see, and for that matter to do.”

Asch, like his counterparts at JellyNYC, the main music promotion company behind the East River concerts, do not know what to expect, but are eager to bring their vision to a new venue for Brooklyn residents to enjoy.

“Though we’ll miss what a unique venue the pool was, we’re very excited about our new location,” said Asch. “There’s more visibility from the street, so we expect a lot of passerby to pop in for screenings and maybe get films like “Evil Dead 2” a few new fans.”

For more information, check out for the most updated listing for the East River Summer Concert Series, as well as and


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