Restore Dyckman Marina

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Top 5 Parks Department Fails

Thank you for reporting your concerns and observations. We will continue to address issues as they arise at the licensed premises, and appreciate your patience in awaiting a response from Parks.”

– Melissa Goldberg, Director of Concessions Compliance, Dept of Parks, September 2013

As La Marina starts to buckle under the failed inspections and corrective actions generated by seven seasons of unchecked breach-of-contract operations, it’s worth taking a look back at the Top 5 epic fails by the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation. After all, they were ultimately the ones responsible for this concession during a stunning period of incompetence, willful blindness and civic corruption. Read on, and then comment if we’ve missed any of your favorite mismangement moments.
1. Valet Parking
It’s not even a contest when it comes to the number one fail. The enormous and completely insane valet parking was just so blatantly and obviously illegal, and yet operated in plain sight, every single summer evening, for two five six seven years. Where else in the city could a Parks concession steal public parking places on parkland and on city streets, park in No Standing Zones, and run a cash business with no concession agreement and no legal authority whatsoever?


To recap, the RFP included no parking areas, and the concession contract limited the premises to what is inside the metal fence, plus the pier and beach (which La Marina is supposed to keep clean.) Just before opening, La Marina begged Parks to have DOT change the parking signs in the surrounding streets from regular alternate side parking to a bizarre NO STANDING zone after 6 pm, under the excuse that this would free up space for taxis that were coming and going, or maybe valets running cars back to local garages. DOT shamefully complied soon after opening. La Marina also asked Parks to use the Parks-owned cul-de-sac at the west end of Dyckman Street, which contained a dozen public street parking spaces, exclusively for a valet service. Parks said no and then yes, provided that they keep the entire north side clear as a fire lane and access to the beach clear.  (Note that this was illegal for Parks to even offer).  La Marina still ignored this and did neither while Parks looked the other way. They, and several other city agencies, also let the valet spill out to include all of Staff Street, over a thousand feet away!


The really crazy thing is, Parks never had the legal right to unilaterally turn over their own property, never mind several blocks of public street. Allowing the private use of public land for compensation is called a “concession”, and there are rules for them which Parks never followed.


The valet parking froze traffic for blocks around, and attracted cars from across the tri-state who would sit for an hour to try to get to the valets at the end of Dyckman Street. Even the highways would sometimes be blocked. It’s not like the problem went unnoticedendless meetings, letters and other communications were made with the Parks Department but every time the blame for the traffic was always on someone else – DOT, NYPD, the other restaurants on Dyckman…


Finally, after a drunk driver crashed into parked police cars while officers were literally in the process of writing up a La Marina summons for “over servicing”, Parks had no choice but to cave in and inform the concession that the valet was “prohibited” in July 2018.


2. Not a Concert!
It’s not every day you need to take a dictionary to a Parks Department meeting, but for several years you’ve needed one. The RFP and the final concession agreement were both quite clear that concerts would be “strictly prohibited”. And yet Parks would claim, over and over:


We do not consider events that include music as part of the overall experience, and are not promoted as only a musical performance, to be prohibited.


This was high comedy but not funny for the neighborhood that had to absorb 1,500+ concert patrons stumbling out at 1 am every summer weekend. Every year there would be a concert series. There was an HBO concert special. Tickets were sold for upcoming concerts. For heaven’s sake, La Marina’s own Facebook page says they are a concert venue with concert-style sound. Of course they were concerts, and they were prohibited.


Related to these semantics was the equally infantile inability of the Parks Dept to read the words “All amplified music at the Licensed Premises must cease at 10:00 pm” written into the contract. This is not just a concession rule for this site, it’s a citywide rule. There is simply no way around it, and Parks knew this right from the beginning. But under pressure from the operators to hold concerts past 10 pm, Parks spokespeople would dance a jig and claim that the concession had put in a new sound system that would ensure “sound doesn’t leave the property”. Which unless you are bending the laws of physics is rather hard to do when the stage is outside. And so this deception carried on for seven years, with Parks pretending that the concerts did not go past 10 pm when of course they did.


Eventually Parks heard the music and realized they had made a grevious error that put them in legal jeopardy. Parks finally put an end to the ticketed outdoor megaconcerts in July of 2018.  (Update – they continued holding slightly smaller, still-unauthorized concerts inside a new, also unauthorized greenhouse.)


image (8).jpg
3. Bikini Palooza / PCBlast (tie)
Some of the events held at La Marina were well-meaning even if not permissible. A few planned events (like an outdoor boxing match) were so clearly outside of the rules that they were cancelled by Parks before they could even be held. But many, many of the events were parties that were so ill-advised it is mind-blowing Parks allowed them to happen with zero consequences for the concession. The 9AM Banger, the Heineken festival and the BrunchBounce megacrowds were all infamous. But the very worst of the bunch were Bikini Palooza and PCBlast.


The Bikini Palooza party itself on July 2, 2017 was a typical megaparty– thousands of patrons, DJs on the stage, alcohol flowing. You can see a video recap here. But the advertising was the worst yet (which is really saying something) — post after post on social media with extremely sexist images. After community complaints Parks made the bold move to… change the name to Beachwear Affair. The event ended up so overcrowded that the NYPD had to shut down the site, triggering an SLA violation that as of December 2018 is still awaiting a hearing.


PCBlast (Litty Edition) was not a concert event but a strange hosting of anarchist auto enthusiasts who liked to wear masks and set off smoke bombs as they raced at tracks and partied at clubs. There are several videos featuring the cars firing smoke flares down Dyckman Street and being rolled right onto the La Marina premises, then late at night revving their engines as they peeled out. How was this ever a good idea for a concession operating on public parkland? (A: It wasn’t).


4. The Missing Marina
The La Marina concession is actually comprised of two separate contracts — a restaurant and bar operation, and a marina operation. They each have their own boundaries, so those can be hard to follow given how the site was constructed, but they were intended to be separate and significant uses that would share the site.


Go back to the original RFP and look at this language regarding the marina:


Parks is seeking proposers with a solid background in the marina services industry to operate a high quality marina. Parks would like to see this site developed into a first class destination that draws visitors from all over the area while providing a convenient service to the public.

Additionally, Parks will look favorably upon proposals that include a storage area for kayaks and canoes. This storage could be offered for a fee. Parks will also look favorably upon proposals that include the installation of a floating launch.


And when Manhattan River Group won the RFP with a combined bid for both the restaurant and marina concessions, they promised a marina operation that would include “launching services, a 22-slip dock, limited short-haul space, a ship store, a new-boat showroom, facilities for mooring customers, offices and sailing school”. They also promised to make agreements with the marina across the river in Englewood Boat Basin to handle all boat maintenance and repair (to replace the boat maintenance that was on site at Dyckman Marina under the prior operator).


The bid also proposed that the marina would “concentrate on moorings as the primary means of storage” for up to 300 boats stretching from the site down to the GWB, serviced by a launch. There would be 130 moorings by 2018.


In the winter, 50 boats would be stored on site. Canoes and kayaks would be stored year-round in the existing quonset hut. All of this would all be accessible for community events, free kayaking (with a partner nonprofit group), boat rentals, bike rentals, river ecology tours, a greenmarket and annual festivals.


Wow, sounds great. So what actually happened? Well, over $600,000 of taxpayer money was awarded to the site in 2011 to build the docks and moorings. A further $700,000 of taxpayer money was awarded in 2012 for a community EcoDock.


And yet, despite that lovely accepted RFP bid, despite the contract, despite the $1.6M public dollars, nothing at all was built when the facility opened in 2012. By 2014 the 22 slip dock appeared for clubgoers. The sailing school arrived only in 2015.  But no EcoDock, no launch, no boat showroom, no ship store, no boater services, no kayak storage, no winter storage and no community boating festivals have ever appeared — they were squeezed out by the unapproved concert and nightclub uses.  A few transient moorings appeared and that was it.  Even a stern letter from the Federal Government over the missing marina did not result in the marina being fully completed.  In other words, the “marina” part of “La Marina” is still missing after seven years, and Parks has never done a thing about it. They should all walk the plank for it.


5. Sex, Drugs and Rock’n’Roll
La Marina is a Parks concession on public waterfront parkland. Take a look at any of its peers on Instagram — Here’s Battery Gardens way downtown. Here’s the Boat Basin Cafe and Ellington in the Park on the west side. This is Vivo Mediterranean in Queens. How about the Vanderbilt in Staten Island? All of these social media streams are filled with images of wedding parties, waterfront views, diners posing with their food, and so on. And then there is La Marina. How could Parks have ignored for seven years the thousands and thousands of posts and images of what is clearly concert and nightclub activity that violates the contract?


If Instagram wasn’t their thing, maybe the Parks compliance staff could have noticed the numerous YouTube videos with concert promos, stripper brawls, concert recaps, drug use, headline performances, etc. starring their Dyckman Marina concession.


Was Parks really unaware that one of their flagship eateries was mentioned in over a dozen extremely explicit lyrics about violence, guns, drugs, sex and more? Or that the site itself appeared in several explicit music videos? Not exactly something you see every day for a public facility, in any city, anywhere.


And then there were the promotions that violated the sexual content rules of the contract, every single year. The “best bikini contest” matter, followed years later by the “Bikini Palooza” fiasco. The “BrunchBounce” bouncing butts. The multiple posts about the bottle service girls. That whole naked-woman season opening countdown thing. Every time, Parks spokespersons would say they would remind the concession to control its promoters, that such issues would never happen again, and then of course they would.


There was a violent shooting in 2014. Parks never said a word about it. There was a sexual harassment lawsuit in 2017. Not a peep from Parks, despite language in the concession agreement about such matters being a cause for default. An explicit fail, in more ways than one.



Honorable Mentions
So many to choose from. There was:


Smoking, hookah and a whole lot of weed at a public park facility in a city where smoking was banned at all city parks. The hookah revenue was even reported so the city could take their cut!


– Reporting a modest revenue to rent out the beach to promoters, who would then turn around and sell thousands of tickets while hiding that revenue from Parks. Since all revenue was supposed to be reported and a percentage paid to the city, this may have cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars over seven years.


– Bottle service that kept the public from sitting at the patios, and serviced the concertgoers with $3,000 VIP packages. Parks admitted way back in 2012 that “designated areas of the event space at La Marina offer a bottle fee, which Parks did not approve” and yet the Ace of Spades kept flowing.


Multiple events every year where a public parkland facility would be covered in alcohol brands for various events. The concession contract had a two page rider about what to put in the vending machine, and very explicit bans on any brand advertising, and yet it was ok to cover the site in banners for Ciroc? Heineken? Johnny Walker? D’usse? And so many more.


– Constant lying about capacity of the facility. Go back and review every public meeting and article that a Parks spokesperson has ever been quoted in. Not once has the true permitted capacity of 2,094 ever been stated properly. And Parks even allowed La Marina to operate for their first summer without a Public Assembly permit. (Just try that with any building not protected by government corruption and see how that goes.)


– Creative use of the new Greenway bike and pedestrian path as a bouncer line. The moment the new path opened in 2014, La Marina saw a convenient way to get those pesky bag searches and bouncer lines away from the restaurant gate — by cutting in a new gate and turning the bike path into their private party queuing area. It was even handy for driving the DJ right to the stage. Parks never said a word.



And Finally…
The above is a photo of the Inwood Hill Park Nature Center. Built by Robert Moses, this was a popular attraction in Inwood Hill Park that was used by generations of young families. It had a ranger station, restrooms, and a charming collection of snakes and turtles who would occasionally escape. The Nature Center was flooded and damaged by Superstorm Sandy in 2012, a few months after La Marina opened.


As of 2018, La Marina has raked in at least $35M in revenue with their illicit concert events, valet parking, alcohol promotions and more. Meanwhile, the Nature Center sits in ruins, awaiting slow reconstruction and a possible re-opening in 2020. These two facts are difficult to accept when the same agency was responsible for both facilities. The fact that the Parks Dept managed to do all of the wrong that they did at La Marina while not even bothering to fix the one-room nature center within 7 seven years is an unbelievable abrogation of their public duties. For shame.


Restore Dyckman Marina.

collage 2018

Some of the 2018 concerts held at La Marina that the operators claim are not, in fact, concerts. Note that some of these were cancelled after the July 13, 2018 multi-agency raid.

More hall of shame:

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Parks gets Litty

“Thank you to the @Nypd 🚔for closing the street down so we can close out the #LittyEdition with the 3 BLOWTORCH SALUTE

 @PC_Blast on instagram July 29 2017

Throughout its six years of existence, perhaps the most unbelievable aspect of La Marina’s operations is the continued use of parkland and city streets for vehicular parking and displays to benefit a private operator.   And all enabled by a compliant NYPD that seems to have no problem assigning scarce officers to babysit club-going traffic.  It’s illegal, it’s bizarre, and it’s in complete plain sight.


NYPD officer looking the other way while a promotion blocks the street at the La Marina entrance, June 2017

This site has extensively covered the issue of valet parking.   And gridlocked traffic.   And the confusing improper definitions of different property boundaries.  But every weekend, the same script plays out.  The valet staff start coning off regular parking spots and No Standing areas.  Massive crowds attending a prohibited concert event start arriving in the afternoon, many by cab and car.  VIPs get to park illegally inside the gates.  Traffic starts to back up.  And the police spend taxpayer dollars redirecting traffic at various intersections around Dyckman Street to aid cars in getting to the valet and the front door, even if it means reversing or barricading streets.

The police have never explained why a valet parking operation is allowed to operate on a public street, or how a No Standing zone means Nightclub Parking zone.  They just point to the Parks Dept and say they are trying to “allieviate congestion”.

pc blast litty 3 jul16

Sex and autosports, perfect for NYC parkland?

But some events are just a little too hard to explain. How, exactly, did the NYPD view the PC Blast Litty Edition tour event of July 16 at La Marina?  This was a 3-day exotic car tour organized by enthusiasts who enjoy high-performance driving while wearing anarchist masks and firing off smoke bombs.

The first two legs of the tour involved driving laps around NJ Motorsports Park and partying at an Atlantic City nightclub.  That makes sense — racing at a racetrack, then being entertained at a massive entertainment venue.  Hey, you know what would go great with that?  Driving to congested Manhattan to visit a city parks concession for more racing and partying, right?  Which is exactly what they did – La Marina was the official third stop on the tour.

litty on site 8

This was supposed to be parking for kayaks, not racecars.

And so on July 16, 2017 this unbelievable scene took place on Dyckman Street, a public street and highway access route, as a parade of exotic cars was welcomed by La Marina staff to roll onto public parkland as guests of the concession facility.  Ear-splitting revs and thick clouds of smoke, never mind a complete traffic standstill, did not draw seem to draw any attention from the NYPD during the entire event.

What the hell?  This goes way beyond the time La Marina turned into a seaplane showroom, or their misuse of public space for alcohol advertising, or their frequent appropriation of a $3.5M bike trail for a bouncer line (sometimes even used for driving performers to the stage).   This is inviting and condoning activities that belong at a racetrack or Atlantic City onto NYC parkland, and is pretty much the exact opposite of every promise made in the RFP when the concession was awarded in 2009.  In one testosterone-soaked moment it conveys everything wrong with the Parks Dept, and the NYPD’s enabling of their mind-boggling mismanagement.

pc blast litty 1 jul16

The apocalypse, or a Sunday afternoon outside La Marina?

The cars were parked on site, despite it being improper for any cars to park on the site.  They held engine rev contests that night in the middle of a residential neighborhood.   They made a general mockery of the streets of Inwood.  Watch this moment as a La Marina staffer blocks two women with strollers from accessing the park because the exotic cars get priority!

pc blast litty 5 jul16

No Standing zone?  More like No Enforcement zone.

None of these activities would be permitted in another part of New York City, but they are magically allowed in Inwood by Parks and the NYPD?

It is completely insane that a Parks concession is being used for events like PC Blast and other promotions.  Restore the approved uses.  Restore Dyckman Marina.


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Liar Liar Parks on Fire

“Concerts are strictly prohibited at the Licensed Premises.

 License Agreement, June 25 2009

We do not consider events that include music as part of the overall experience, and are not promoted as only a musical performance, to be prohibited.”

 David Cerron, NYC Parks Dept, July 3 2017

“With this concert, we’re giving audiences an opportunity to reminisce in the nostalgia of the music, while giving Pedro’s fans something fun to watch.”

Jackie Gagne, HBO marketing vice-president speaking about an event at La Marina Aug 9 2017


Halfway through the summer of 2017, it is time to check in on the many lies of the New York City Parks Dept under Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner Mitchell Silver.

Every year Parks promises to “continue to address issues” with the concession over resident concerns about how public parkland got turned into an unaudited private nightclub.  So how are we doing so far this season?

Since La Marina’s opening in 2012, residents have been working year-round to try and get the Parks Department and elected officials to enforce the license agreement as written, as well as eliminate the serious impacts this nightclub has created for the surrounding community. These efforts usually start in reasonable questions being asked of Parks, and often end in ridiculous lies and misdirection because Parks cannot possibly explain how any of what La Marina does outside of being a restaurant or bar is legal.  It is not, and this how Parks hopes to confuse you, the politicians, and the courts into letting the concession continue without interference for another ten years.

bb2 may27

Not a concert, that’s just the cable guy fixing the wifi router.   (5/27/17)

Let’s start with the unilateral verbal extension of hours to 1 am, which you recall was extended from 11 pm.  The extension of hours is perhaps permissible,  but the extension of music to 1 am never has been.  Parks has tried many times to claim that La Marina’s events all end at 10 pm, and that any music after that is not from the main stage and is on some sort of sound limiter.  They have to say this because noise outdoors in New York is illegal after 10 pm.  But in the case of La Marina it’s pure fantasy.  The facility closes at 1 am, and the concert acts always go long past 10 pm – and are often advertised as such by sloppy promoters.  (The veteran ones, like #BrunchBounce, know to keep to the 10 pm lie.).  Even La Marina’s own website shows this when they describe a July 4th event that starts at 3 pm and features “more than 15 artists, 10+ hours of music and dancing, and special performances and surprises”  (Note that dancing is also not legal at La Marina).  And yet, when queried about the constant late-night noise, Parks will say as they did in an email of July 21, 2017 (all quotes on this page are from David Cerron, Chief of Revenue, Concessions, and Controls Oversight for Parks):

Regarding the event’s duration, we spoke to the operators of La Marina and they confirmed that the July 4th event ended at 9:30pm. The facility closes no later than 1am.

Yeah, they checked on this by calling the operators.  Hey fox, how many eggs did you steal from that henhouse you were guarding?  Oh, none?  Ok then.

And why again are there concerts happening on the site in the first place?  Parks has been asked many times in writing to clarify how this can be when the license agreement explicitly states “concerts are strictly prohibited (see 10.18).”  This is the lie put forth by Parks in an email of July 3, 2017:

jul15 crowd

Not a concert, just a lot of people standing around a space filled with concert speakers. (7/15/17)

With regard to “concerts” at the facility, as stated in prior correspondence dated August 18, 2015, it is true that the concession agreement does not define concerts. There is no indication in the agreement that live or recorded music is not permitted at the facility. The agreement contemplates amplified sound at the concession with Parks’ approval.

This first part of this answer tries to deflect by confusing any amplified music with concerts.  Amplified music is ok with some conditions, as you would expect for any restaurant or bar.  Of course it is.  The issue is the 1,500 person CONCERTS that occur in the “La Marina Beach” area and include a huge stage, ticketed entry, specific showtimes and featured performers.

concert stage jul2

Not a concert, just a nighttime TED talk.  (7/2/17)

We do not consider events that include music as part of the overall experience, and are not promoted as only a musical performance, to be prohibited. Consequently, we have approved La Marina’s use of regulated live amplified music as part of its overall concession activity, which includes its restaurant and lounge operation, marina services, and catered events.

Oh, so those are not concerts after all?  They are just “events that include music”?  That’s odd, since any six-year old would be familiar with this dictionary definition of concerts:

CONCERT /ˈkɒnsət/: A musical performance given in public, typically by several performers or of several compositions.

bb8 may27

Not a concert, they are cheering at random and not at all at whatever is happening on that stage. (5/27/17)

It is absurd of Parks to try and claim that “concerts” is not a defined term.  After all, neither is the word “day”, a word which is used in the agreement many times.   Maybe they mean a Martian Day, or a Klingon Day?  Or a language in southern Chad? Come on Parks, no judge is going to buy this.  You had an entire run of events last year that was called a SUMMER CONCERT SERIES for crying out loud.  You had HBO rent the place out for a CONCERT SPECIAL.  If a guy prances around on a stage performing sets, maybe accompanied by musical instruments, all while thousands of paying customers watch or dance, newsflash: it’s a concert.  Borough President Gale Brewer was emphatic about this point in a 2015 letter her office sent to Parks, but even that was ignored.

summer love 2016 image of a concert

Not a concert — those are just funny-looking hookah pipes.

Deep down, Parks knows they can’t squirm their way out.  They know they are in trouble here.  Go back to the language of the RFP from 2007:


This is not a concert, just an event that includes music.  A lot of music.  Actually pretty much only music. (7/1/17)

Proposers should note that the café will not be permitted to have any outdoor, amplified music without prior written approval from Parks. All amplified music must be at sound level reasonably acceptable to the Commissioner. The café and restaurant (if proposed) will not be permitted to operate past 11:00 p.m. on Sunday through Wednesday and 12:30 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Concerts will be strictly prohibited at the site. If the proposer plans to build an enclosed, year-round restaurant, then amplified music may be played within the structure. All amplified music at the café or restaurant (if proposed) must cease at 10:00 p.m. and must be at a sound level reasonably acceptable to the Commissioner. Music and all other noise emanating from the café and restaurant (if proposed) shall comply with the rules for noise control in Title 24, Chapter 2 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York.

aug19 event details how is this not a concert

A ticket description for an event that will have 17 musical acts on 3 stages.  But it’s not a concert! (8/19/17)

So the intent was pretty clear then.  No concerts.  This year, Parks has been trying to strengthen the “they’re not concerts, they’re events that include music” excuse by requiring that the weekend concerts describe themselves as, wait for it, “birthday parties”.  (This seems similar to the tactic tried some years ago of calling the concerts “benefits”.)  So for these “birthday parties”, you just show up like any other birthday party, only you have to get a ticket, you don’t bring a gift, there is hours of music but no singing of ‘Happy Birthday’ or cake, and there will be about 1,500 other guests.  So pretty much the same as any other birthday party ever you’ve been to, right?

not a concert aug9 hbo latino 3

Not a concert, just a smooth jazz trio performing ambient music and not in any way a HBO Concert Special (Aug 9, 2017)

And if they are not birthday parties, the concerts are called “beach parties”.  You know, like any party at the beach, minus the ocean and beach chairs, plus bouncers, tickets, a stage and multiple music acts.  And they allow 15 of these a year, on the legal basis of absolutely nothing.  Parks should be ashamed.

baefest poster aug6

Not a cartoon of a nearly naked woman.  Also, not a concert.  Also, a birthday party.  (8/6/17).

Speaking of knowing no shame, another 2017 lie from Parks is that they are blameless over the content of some of these concerts/parties.   It has long been an issue that Parks allows event promotions that feature the objectification of women, a remarkable practice for a city-owned facility in the 21st century and one that is prohibited in the license agreement (10.16).  Right from Memorial Day weekend 2017, there were problems with concert posters that fixated on female bodies.  When questioned, Parks stated on July 3, 2017:

As you know, the advertisements you referenced were not approved by Parks. We spoke to La Marina and were informed that the advertisements were not approved by them either, but instead were issued by third-party event planners. We directed La Marina to instruct the event planners to immediately replace the advertisements with something more appropriate and to firmly remind event planners to have all advertisements approved in advance. After review, it appears these advertisements were subsequently replaced. We have also directed La Marina to strengthen their efforts when monitoring online promotional material for events that is not on the La Marina website.

bikini beachwear

See, it’s not Bikini Palooza anymore.  Now a family-friendly non-concert affair suitable for public parkland.  (7/2/17)

And yet a month later, Parks pretended to be shocked!, shocked! yet again when a prominent event was booked called Bikini Palooza  which featured some of the most outrageous marketing images yet.  After the event was brought to Parks’ attention, was it cancelled?  Of course not.  It was simply renamed “Beach Wear Affair” and allowed to continue.

Again, Parks blamed others — a website redesign  — and said on July 21, 2017 that they would resolve the issue not by stopping the illegal concerts, but by asking La Marina to hire a staffer to surf Instagram!

With regard to advertisements, approved promotional material for beach events can be found on La Marina’s website and/or Facebook page. Their website was not functioning for most of June due to a site redesign, which may have contributed to the circulation of unapproved advertisements. With that said, we agree that the event in question was not promoted appropriately by the event planner – we have expressed this sentiment to the concessionaire, and they have now assigned a staff person to search event-related online posts and ensure they are in keeping with the approved event

bikini palooza 22

This sort of marketing has nothing at all to do with Parks allowing a public facility to serve as a giant nightclub. Right?

Good luck with that, since the #LaMarina hashtag is now considered so explicit that Instagram often filters it and hides search results.  But please, Parks, keep up with the good work!  Because it hasn’t stopped this poster from appearing on the La Marina website for July 30th.  Or this one from circulating on event ticket sites.  (One wonders if any other municipal facility in history has ever developed quite the street rep as the Dyckman Marina…)


Officer in background: Nothing to see here people (just the taking of public space).

Finally, Parks is continuing in 2017 the Great Lie about parking.  See, parking is a tough topic to spin.  It’s rather technical in that the site has none, the license agreement doesn’t mention it, the site plan doesn’t allow any, and the Parks-owned parking lot nearby has no agreement of its own to operate as a valet lot.  All of the streets near La Marina are either regular residential parking or No Standing zones.  And yet, and yet, every weekend, the barricades go up and parking staff seize public streets as private valet parking.  It’s a little hard not to notice, with the dozens of cops assigned to look the other way while they direct traffic.  And so, Parks must wiggle and squirm to try and not make it apparent that everything concerning parking at La Marina is grossly illegal.  Per an email on July 21, 2017 responding to a resident complaint about valet parking closing off Dyckman near Staff Street:

La Marina does not have authorization to close off this area of Dyckman Street. We spoke to the operators regarding your concern and were informed that the decision to close Dyckman Street was made by staff of the 34 precinct. In this instance, valet parking employees were allowed to move to the front of the barricade depicted in your photo to facilitate access for patrons traveling to the facility, and parking in the concessionaire’s designated area closer to the facility.

close off dyckman st for valet

Valet parking staff cone off Dyckman Street from public access, July 2017.  Because that’s totally normal to happen every weekend on NYC streets in violation of DOT regulations.

Oh, so it’s the NYPD’s fault?  Little problem with this lie:  there is NO “concessionaire’s designated area” for parking.  None.  Not a single space.  So Parks here is essentially saying the NYPD allowed an illegal parking operation to take over a public street to support a use that is not approved or authorized at a city-owned facility.  Nice.

End the lies.  Restore Dyckman Marina.

Not a concert, despite the same exact event being a Summerstage concert in Brooklyn.

Not a concert, it’s a fest.  Also not more than 1,500 people. (Aug 6, 2017)

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#LaMarina #SolidCircle … DOLCE THIS FRIDAY AUG 11TH@

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Not a concert, it’s…. oh, screw it.  This is a concert. (Aug 6, 2017)

Yeah, and so is this. (Aug 9, 2017)

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Welcome Back, Klubber

“At the far west end of what the district refers to as the Dyckman corridor, is the unnervingly popular riverside restaurant-bar-hookah-dance venue La Marina.”

 Metro, Dec 7, 2016

only you

Welcome to 2017.  This will be the sixth season operating under the never-enforced and pretty-much-worthless concession agreement for the establishment at the Dyckman Marina basin.  The rent will still only be a measly 8% (far below the rents of 14% at Boat Basin Cafe or 12% at New Leaf Cafe) and as we’ve noted over and over, much of the money potentially owed to the city may never be seen because concert ticket income seems to not be reported.  But never mind all of those abstract numbers — a return to warm weather and the concession’s reopening means a return of illegal noisy concerts that bring unfair traffic and parking mayhem to Inwood’s 40,000 residents.

As usual, attempts have been made to correct the situation by asking Parks to abide by the agreements that were actually negotiated and signed back in 2009, rather than continue whatever fantasy they have been living in since 2012.  And last year saw a lot more scrutiny than usual, with federal corruption investigations surrounding Mayor de Blasio extending to La Marina’s majority partner.

2016 part1

Concert posters from the first half of the 2016 season.

But despite FBI rumors and calls for audits, as in past years Parks simply resorted to “alternative facts” to respond to critics.   In June 2016, a Parks spokesperson stated in an email to a neighborhood group that:

Similar to last season, La Marina is limiting the number of large Beach events, which are events on the beach that meet or exceed 1,000 attendees, to 15.

Keep in mind that there is no legal basis for even one of these “events” (which involve tickets and music and are called “concerts” by non-lying people).  Nonetheless, over the course of the summer Parks could not even manage to enforce their own invented and relaxed guideline.  In October 2016, long after the last mic had dropped, the spokesperson stated in a followup email:

La Marina is limiting their number of large beach events to 15 per year … for such an event to be included, it must meet or exceed 1,000 attendees.  Any events with less than 1,000 attendees are not counted in the 15 per year restriction.  Using that parameter, La Marina hosted 10 large beach events this season.

In reality, there were at least 40 heavily advertised, ticketed events in summer 2016, as seen in the posters on this page.

2016 part2

Concert posters from the second half of the 2016 season

At least 21 of those events, as documented here, hosted large crowds that filled the beach area to 2/3 or more (the beach alone has a legal capacity of 1,500 people):

1. May 21 Memorial Day Party
2. May 30 Brunch Bounce
3. June 12 Mega Music Series #3
4. June 18 Everyday People
5. June 19 Mega Music Series #4
6. June 25 Mai Tai NY
7. July 2 Chicken & Beer
8. July 3 Lovetrain Tour
9. July 4 Brunch n Beats
10. July 10 Mega Music Series #6
11. July 16 CRIBS
12. July 22 AfroCarnival
13. July 24 Mega Music Series #8
14. Aug. 6 Everyday People
15. Aug. 20 Summer Daze
16. Aug. 21 Rains/Powder Wars
17. Aug 26 Fiesta Empanada
18. Aug 27 Afro Caribbean
19. Sept 3 Everyday People #3
20. Sept 5 Brunch n Beats
21. Sept 10 Brunch Bounce

So how exactly does twenty-one equal ten?  How exactly do the images of all those concert posters  match up with “concerts are strictly prohibited” as stated in section 10.16 of the concession agreement?  How exactly was this creating “a significant improvement to the ambience of the park and surrounding area while providing a convenient service to the public” as required by the original concession RFP?  We’ll never know, as when Parks can’t give an answer that justifies their negligence, they provide no answer at all.

The only time in 2016 when Parks did their job properly in overseeing the concession was when they cancelled a boxing event that the operators had booked for the site.  Presumably they could not come up with a way to describe a live boxing match better suited for Madison Square Garden as being part of the approved use of “a full-service restaurant and a lounge”, so in this one rare instance it was dropped.

But one right does not make up for so many wrongs.  Will the same abuse of Inwood’s largest park as a late-night concert venue happen again in 2017?  What about the never-performed audit, or the missing EcoDock?  Will the city continue to look the other way as the alcohol industry uses a city park as a promotional vehicle?  Will the NYPD continue to pretend that Dyckman Street is not the city’s biggest illegal parking operation?  And exactly how many new explicit songs will come out this year referencing La Marina in their lyrics?

The big question for 2017 remains: will Dyckman Marina ever be restored to its intended and approved uses?

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2016 Event Tracker

“The all day (and all night) beach party fetes the collective’s new imprint, Crew Love Records, and will host raucous sets from the label’s own No Regular Play, Nick Monaco, David Marston, and — of course — extended sets from founders Wolf + Lamb and Soul Clap themselves to toast the evening into the morning.”

  Billboard Magazine, June 30 2016

2016 packages list

2016 Bottle Service Price List

Promises, laws and regulations have been broken every year since the concession re-opened in 2012.  Will 2016 be any different?  All disruptive nightlife-type events, the kind of events that are not supposed to be happening on city parkland under the concession agreement, will be posted here.

Note that many of the events will claim to end before 10 pm, since by regulation outdoor concerts across the city end at that hour.  But of course at La MArina the “house DJs” take over from 10 pm to 1 am, continuing the illegal outdoor sound and keeping the party going.

Please send any photos or videos to to be added to this page.

Restore Dyckman Marina to its intended uses as a restaurant and marina and remove the nightclub/concert venue operations and the problems will cease. 

Examples of “minor” events that are in addition to the ticketed concerts below.

May 5, 2016 – Rhythym and Style Splash

Hours – 5 pm – 12 am
Ticketed – yes, $15
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – Restless Media (RM) and AFLIK TV

May 12, 2016 – Rhythym and Style Splash

Hours – 6 pm – 12 am
Ticketed – RSVP
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – Restless Media (RM) and AFLIK TV

May 28, 2016 – Memorial Day Party

Hours – 2 pm – 10 pm
Ticketed – yes, $53 advance
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – Carefree Nation

May 29, 2016 – Mega Music Series Concert #1

Hours – 5 pm – 12 am
Ticketed – yes, $30 advance
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – LaMega97.9

May 30, 2016 – Brunch Bounce

Hours – 1 pm – 9 pm
Ticketed – yes, $20 advance
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – BrunchBounce

View this post on Instagram

😰 @walshyfire 🔥 • #BrunchBounce #LaMarinaNYC

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June 5, 2016 – Mega Music Series Concert #2

Hours – 5 pm – 12 am
Ticketed – yes, $30
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – LaMega97.9
Cancelled by Mother Nature, not by Parks (!)
june 5th cancelled

June 11, 2016 – Jack Daniel’s PXP FEST

Hours – 6 pm – 1 am
Ticketed – yes, $40
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – Jack Daniel’s Whiskey

June 12, 2016 – Mega Music Series Concert #3

Hours – 5 pm – 12 am
Ticketed – yes, $40
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – LaMega97.9

View this post on Instagram

@messiahgram Live #LaMarinaNyc #PrParadeAfterParty

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June 18, 2016 – Remy Martin Producers Series

Hours – 3 pm – 6 pm
Ticketed – no
Amplified music – yes, DJ
Promoter – Remy Martin Cognac

June 18, 2016 – Everyday People

Hours – 2 pm – 10 pm
Ticketed – yes, $10 to $20 cash at door
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – Everyday People

June 19, 2016 – Mega Music Series Concert #4

Hours – 5 pm – 12 am
Ticketed – yes, $40
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – LaMega97.9

June 25, 2016 – Mai Tai NY

Hours – 2 pm – 10 pm
Ticketed – yes, $40 advance
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – Caesar’s Army, Carefree Nation

June 26, 2016 – Mega Music Series Concert #5

Hours – 5 pm – 12 am
Ticketed – yes, $40
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – LaMega97.9

July 1, 2016 – First Fridays

Hours – 8 pm – 1 am
Ticketed – cover charge after 10 pm
Amplified music – yes, DJ
Promoter – Drill NYC
jul1 poster

July 2, 2016 – Chicken & Beer

Hours – tbd
Ticketed – yes, $25
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – BrunchBounce, FeelUp

View this post on Instagram

Dance still nice #LaMarina

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July 3, 2016 – Lovetrain Tour

Hours – 2 pm – 1 am
Ticketed – yes, $40-50
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – Crew Love, Matte

July 4, 2016 – Brunch n Beats

Hours – 3 pm – 9 pm
Ticketed – yes, $20
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – Intermixx Marketing Group

July 9, 2016 – Rum n Riddim

Hours – 2 pm – 10 pm
Ticketed – unknown
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – Everyday People
jul9 poster

July 10, 2016 – Mega Music Series Concert #6

Hours – 5 pm – 12 am
Ticketed – yes, $40
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – LaMega97.9
july10 poster

July 16, 2016 – CRIBS

Hours – 3 pm – 8 pm
Ticketed – yes, $40 – $60
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – Carefree Nation, Natalie

View this post on Instagram

Found a feter! 😜#cribs2016

A post shared by Nikki (@ladybacktoblack) on

July 17, 2016 – Mega Music Series Concert #7

Hours – 5 pm – 12 am
Ticketed – yes, $30
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – LaMega97.9

July 22, 2016 – Boxing Event – Cancelled by Parks Dept

Hours – tbd
Ticketed – yes, prices tbd
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – Uprising Promotions
july22 boxing

July 22, 2016 – Soul Diverse

Hours – 6 pm – 1 am
Ticketed – $10 donation
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – Bang the Drum
jul22 poster

July 23, 2016 – AfroCarnival

July 24, 2016 – Mega Music Series Concert #8

Hours – 5 pm – 12 am
Ticketed – yes, $25
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – LaMega97.9

July 30, 2016 -OASIS

Hours – 5 pm – 2 am
Ticketed – yes, $10
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – Merge, Globalmixx, SoulDiverse, Brooklyn Social
jul30 poster

July 31, 2016 – Mega Music Series Concert #9

Hours – 5 pm – 12 am
Ticketed – yes, $20
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – LaMega97.9
jul31 poster

Aug 6, 2016 – Everyday People

Hours – 2 pm – 10 pm
Ticketed – yes, $20 cash at door
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – Everyday People

Aug 7, 2016 – Mega Music Series Concert #10

Hours – 5 pm – 12 am
Ticketed – yes, $30
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – LaMega97.9
 aug7 poster

Aug 14, 2016 – Mega Music Series Concert #11

Hours – 5 pm – 12 am
Ticketed – yes, $20
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – LaMega97.9

August 20, 2016 – Summer Daze

August 21, 2016 – Rains / Powder Wars

Hours – 12 pm – 6 pm
Ticketed – yes, $60
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – Ice Box Entertainment, Carefree NAtion

Aug 21, 2016 – Mega Music Series Concert #12 (postponed due to rain)

Hours – 5 pm – 12 am
Ticketed – yes, $20
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – LaMega97.9
poster aug21night

August 26, 2016 – Fiesta Empanada

Hours – 5 pm – 1 am
Ticketed – yes, $10-$30
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – The Frat Haus

August 27, 2016 – AfroCaribbean

Hours – 4 pm – 11:30 pm
Ticketed – yes, $30
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – VybeAfrica

Aug 28, 2016 – Mega Music Series Concert #13

Hours – 5 pm – 12 am
Ticketed – yes, $20
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – LaMega97.9
poster aug28

Sep 3, 2016 – Everyday People #3

Hours – 3 pm – 10 pm
Ticketed –yes, $10-30
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – Everyday People

Sep 4, 2016 – Mega Music Series Concert #14

Hours – 5 pm – 12 am
Ticketed – yes, $20+
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – LaMega97.9

Sep 5, 2016 – Brunch n Beats

Hours – 3 pm – 9 pm
Ticketed – yes, $20
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live
Promoter – Intermixx

Sept 10, 2016 – Brunch Bounce

Hours – 1 pm – 10 pm
Ticketed – yes, $25
Amplified music – yes, DJ and live (inlcuding Skrillex!)
Promoter – BrunchBounce

View this post on Instagram

Skrillex on a beach #LaMarina #BrunchBounce #Skrillex

A post shared by Bruno John (@brunojohn117) on

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The More Things Change…

“La Marina offers a unique experience that infuses a touch of South Beach in Manhattan, setting the perfect backdrop for private social events or corporate parties.”, April 2016


Summer is coming…

As La Marina prepares to open for its fifth season, there is cause for despair.

Many residents who lived closest to the Parks concession have now moved elsewhere; newer residents moving in are unaware that the problems at the site are things that should not be happening — to them, they are just the way they have always been.

Remaining residents, tired of successive politicians who fail to take action, have adapted their travel patterns and weekend activities to try and mitigate the damage.

In 2014, at the Community Board 12 liquor license renewal committee meeting, a huge crowd turned out, only to see the license renewed for another 2 years with stipulations (that were never met) and more lies fabricated (to justify actions that are not permitted by the concession agreement or city regulations).  And so on April 13, 2016 few residents appeared for the licensing committee meeting, knowing that the liquor license would be renewed regardless — which it indeed was, without a single stipulation.

LM Posters1

Will summer 2016 be just like summer 2015?

So what now?  Will the “private social events” (aka concerts, no, make that “experiences that include music“) be  limited to ending at 10 pm?  To not being on Sunday nights?  To occuring just a few times throughout the season?  No, of course not.  Will the community uses of the site, which now finally includes sailing, increase?  Nope, anything like a family movie night would conflict with the concerts.  (Although, for a place that takes in many millions each year, you would think La Marina could afford to donate the $25,000 needed for a floating classroom for the sailing school.)  How about that EcoDock promised in 2012?  Every year it is promised, every year it fails to appear.

A shooting in 2014 did not bring change.  Community meetings with Parks officials in 2015 did not bring change.  A corruption scandal involving uptown politicians in 2016 has not brought change (yet – stay tuned on this one).  There is simply no reason not to expect summer 2016 to be just like summer 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012.  So what can you do about it?

Take note of the impact La Marina has on your quality of life when they host disruptive concerts, or are playing music past 10 pm, or when you cannot even exit the highway. Email with your photos and observations and they will be published here.  And contact your elected officials to let them know that not all of Inwood has rolled over or abandoned the neighborhood.

Restore Dyckman Marina to its original uses, to benefit everyone, as it should be.  In the meantime, Happy 2016.

tweet from the security company showing their training

Security staff training for La Marina’s 2016 season.  Because all Parks concessions need bouncers, right?



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Summer Lyin’ (2015 edition)

“We look forward to La Marina continuing to serve as a successful concession that is responsive to community concerns…”

Liz Sanchez, Analyst, Revenue Division, Parks & Recreation

All photos on this page are from Summer 2015

All photos on this page are from summer 2015

When fall arrives, one of the signs of the season for Inwood residents is the return of calm to Dyckman Street.  Another is the receipt of the annual form letter from the Parks Department explaining what a terrific job they did of managing their Dyckman Marina concession and how any and all community concerns about the operations of an illegal nightclub and concert venue are either unfounded or sure to be addressed any day now.

For example, here are excerpts from the 2012 version of “the letter”:

Thank you for your letter regarding NYC Park’s Concession, La Marina.  I apologize for the delayed response.

La Marina is permitted to have 500 seated people at their Parks licensed premises, 200 of which can be outside. La Marina is currently applying for a Place of Assembly permit from the Department of Small Business Services so that they can ensure they are safely accommodating their outdoor patrons.  NYC Parks, La Marina and the 34th Precinct have also been coordinating to ensure that public safety at the facility’s perimeter is maintained as well.

ritmo3Designated areas of the event space at La Marina offer a bottle fee, which Parks did not approve. We are working with La Marina for next summer’s season to ensure that the areas available to restaurant patrons remain the priority of the establishment.   We have received complaints regarding Sunday traffic congestion in the area.  As a result we have met with La Marina and they have urged more use of public transportation to their facility. In addition, we have received complaints about noise.  La Marina’s contract requires all amplified sound to terminate by 10 p.m. We have informed them of the complaints we have received and their need to comply.  We have also witnessed that many people driving in the area, perhaps on their way to La Marina, have the volume on their car stereos excessively high.  Other people set up “car parties” and put chairs on Dyckman Street and turn their car stereos on too loudly.  These areas are outside of La Marina’s Licensed Premises, and La Marina is only responsible for the behavior of patrons at the restaurant.

Thank you again for taking the time to write.


And then in 2013, another letter with some familiar themes:

Thank you for writing to us about La Marina.

We understand your ongoing concerns and indeed, we have been working with the operators of La Marina to address them. The first year of any new concession is always a challenge as the agency seeks to navigate a course that is flexible and supportive of a new  business, while being sensitive to people who have to accommodate new commercial activity in their neighborhood. 

The operators of La Marina have been advised that all outdoor amplified sound must end by 10:00pm, and they have agreed to comply with this restriction in the future. As such, several events that had been planned for the end of the summer were canceled. We hope that this will help curtail the community’s concerns about noise.  

Parks has also been coordinating with NYPD and the NYCDOT to see what street network or traffic controls can be put in place to alleviate area congestion

I apologize for the delay in responding; your message was misrouted through our correspondence system. Thank you for reporting your concerns and observations. We will continue to address issues as they arise at the licensed premises.

valet on staff st (1)In 2014, instead of waiting until after summer for the Parks Dept to make their annual excuses, the concession operators themselves  issued a preemptive letter to the Community Board before the season even started.  This included such deflections as:

All of these inspections and reviews by the various departments have determined that our business in fully compliant with applicable laws, rules and regulations: The 34th Precinct  conducted sound inspections throughout the area on one of our busiest days and found no violations or concerns relating to public safety; we received our second consecutive ‘A’ from the Department of Health; we do not exceed permitted occupancy levels; FDNY concluded that there were no unsafe conditions and that emergency vehicles had sufficient access to our site; the SLA is satisfied with our significant efforts to ensure that minors are not served alcohol.

A Parks Department audit conducted this winter has shown some areas where our internal procedures could be tightened up, but overall found that La Marina has properly fulfilled its obligations to the City. As a result of that audit, through ongoing meetings with Parks officials in the Compliance and Revenue Divisions, we are working together to develop new protocols to improve transparency. We are told that it is typical for new concessions to go through this type of tweaking – the process is never seamless.

cribs photo4La Marina has had an important impact on this neighborhood. Most of those who complain loudest about our business tend to ignore the drag racing, prostitution and drug dealing that plagued the area just a few years ago. The now absent dreary storefronts and dangerous stretches are not part of the discourse. We continue to work with the task force, the BID, DOS and DOT to improve the area further. By working with these groups, we are also eager to effect more positive change.

It’s not necessary to pick apart the above letters since they obviously resolved nothing — just click on the links.  But let’s take a look at this year’s form letter (supposedly authored by an analyst at the Parks Dept), which may be the best yet in terms of its truthiness.  Note – there are so many lies, the letter has to be addressed almost one sentence at a time.  For clarity, the 2015 letter text is underlined.

Thank you for your letter regarding La Marina. I apologize for the delay in response.  Since you sent this inquiry, NYC Parks has worked closely with La Marina to clarify requirements and adjust operations in order to enhance compliance with the concession agreement and to address any inadvertent impacts of the concession’s considerable popularity.

bb14This is a nice foreshadowing that the rest of this letter will be pure bull.  I wonder if “worked closely with La Marina to clarify requirements” has something to do with gross violations of their licensing agreement.  Since virtually nothing has changed in terms of their operations since 2012, does “enhance compliance with the concession agreement” mean “allow everything we initially said was not approved, like bottle service and concerts”?  Gee, I wonder if creating gridlock for half of Inwood was an “inadvertent impact”?  It’s a little hard to claim that the negative results of hosting 3,000 people and hundreds of cars at a site that is not capable of supporting such crowds is some kind of shocking surprise.

Finally, the crutch of “but they’re soooo popular” is wheeled out right in the first paragraph.  This is the excuse that Parks leans on time and again to paint the concession as a victim of their its success.  No.  The issue is not that the 500 seat restaurant is popular.  A facility of that size was forecast from the beginning and, on its own is manageable.  We know this because there are no quality of life problems on nights when the concert venue and nightclub are not operating.  The “popularity” is in reality the large crowds of thousands that attend the concerts and late-night club portions of the site, a use that was never approved by any agency.  This is made worse by the massive valet that operates without any legal agreement whatsoever.  The problem is not that these uses are popular, it is that they exist where they should not.
sample of 2015 posters

This season, La Marina has made important strides to better serve the needs of its community and implemented reasonable adjustments to its summer 2015 programming in accordance with community concerns.

Really?  Pray tell, what were those programming adjustments? Other than fewer headline performers (2Chainz, Fabolous, etc.) there was virtually no change to the summer programming.  See for yourself — Can you tell the difference between the sample poster collection on the right, from 2015, and this image of posters from the previous summer?  I didn’t think so.

As for “community concerns”, I guess the community must have been concerned with not enough events where beer companies took over parkland for promotional events, because there were two of those this year.

Per Parks’ direction, La Marina agreed to limit the number of large events to 15.

IMG_20150715_103045What a nice bit of misdirection.  In reality, Parks raised the limit of concerts from zero to 15  (since the contract says “Concerts are strictly prohibited”).  So how did Parks weasel out of this ban? It was hinted at in May, and then confirmed in a separate letter to residents in August, where Parks Chief Accountant David Cerron wrote the words “We do not consider events that include music as part of the overall experience, and are not promoted as only a musical performance, to be prohibited.”  That has to be one of the most farcical statements ever penned by a public official.

Events that met or exceeded 1,000 attendees were counted as part of the 15 large events.

Well that was nice of Parks to arbitrarily pick a nice round number like 1,000.  Where did that come from?  How did they decide that 999 people (again, at a site that was supposed to be 500 seats) would not have an impact but 1,000 would and therefore need some limit?  As it turns out, there is a process for evaluating when a proposed use will have a negative impact.  It’s called an Environmental Impact Statement or EIS.  And did La Marina have an EIS when it was first proposed?  Let’s go back to the transcript of the September, 2008 Franchise and Concession Review Committee hearing, and recall what the Parks concession director told the committee when they asked about doing an EIS:

sep5 scene4“This is an existing use, previously a [marina] cafe, for at least, I believe, 15 years. I don’t know the exact number; at least the last 10 years. So this is not a new use of this space. Therefore, we didn’t do any [environmental assessment], because typically it is existing use and we know what the conditions that were there before.  We don’t think there is going to be any — the concessionaire has offered to work with local garages to make sure that there is valet  parking; to encourage people to come by public  transportation. And we don’t think there’s going  to be a particular traffic impact based on the concession.”

So after deflecting any need for an EIS, Parks can just turn around and say under 1,000 is ok all the time, and more than that is even ok fifteen times a year?  Inequitable treatment of Inwood, to say the least.

For the summer 2015 season, eight events met or exceeded the 1,000 person threshold.

tickets july26Liar, liar, pants on fire.  There were over fifty heavily promoted musical events during the summer of 2015.  Many of those attracted huge crowds that clearly filled the beach area to capacity.  How did Parks get its count?  Does the bouncer write up a report for Parks?  Are they getting ticket sales reports from their concession?  In other words, prove it, Parks, because the pictures don’t lie.  All we do know is that Parks no longer requires special events permits for any kind of event, even the “large” ones, so there is no official record of any kind.

Additionally, Parks worked with La Marina to ensure that Community Board 12 and the NYPD 34th Precinct were made aware of potentially large upcoming events.

Hmmmn.  How exactly did you tell the Community Board (which by the way is based in Washington Heights 35 blocks from La Marina) about these summer events when the Community Board is shut down for July and August?  The police though surely were aware of the events given the traffic and crowd control they were providing each and every summer weekend, at taxpayer cost.

In regards to noise/sound, in accordance with the NYC Noise Code, La Marina transitions to an in-house system at 10:00pm that was specifically designed in consultation with a sound engineer.

bb4No, it doesn’t.  There are many examples of videos showing main acts continuing well past 10 pm on the main stage using the main speakers.  Here is one from 11:15 pm on Aug 22.

This sound system is much quieter and part of their internal audio system which contains limiters, compressors and/or other equipment for systematically containing the volume of audio at the Licensed Premises and ensuring that neighbors are not impacted by amplified sound.

And here we find some technobabble that conveniently obscures the fact that the written contract forbids any amplified music of any kind after 10 pm.   It does not allow for limited, compressed or otherwise contained audio after 10 pm.  It bans it, for the express reason that besides the fact that the New York City Noise Code effectively prohibits outdoor music after 10 pm, any music past that hour enables a nightclub use that was never approved and keeps large crowds on a site until a late hour when their exit becomes extremely disruptive.  (This also relates to how Parks unilaterally extended the hours past those approved in the contract)

20245761884_c581ef92eb_oThroughout the season, La Marina continually worked with NYC Parks and the 34th Precinct to address parking concerns and pedestrian flow.

Oh, the jokes are really flying now.  Parking concerns?  As in, the valet parking lot is totally, completely, absolutely illegal but let’s let them have it, never mind whatever the law says?  Ha ha ha.  As to addressing pedestrians, Parks must be referring to the fact that the recently built bike path next to La Marina is now used as a ticket queue, VIP access and backstage door during summer afternoons and evenings due to the construction this year of three gates along the path.  Gates that were never on the approved site plan and act to seize yet more public space for La Marina’s benefit?  Did the bag checks and ID scans to enter a public park also help with “pedestrian flow”?

20150823_103206La Marina has continually encouraged visitors to take mass transit to the venue, ride bikes to the site, and has partnered with area garages to minimize parking impact on the community. Furthermore, Parks met on-site with the 34th Precinct and the La Marina operators to discuss safety procedures for the valet parking operation.

Yes, I’m sure the instagrams of entertainers arriving by car and yacht scream “mass transit”.  Or is that referring to the tiny fine print that was added to the bottom of the La Marina website about taking the A train?  Bottom line, if you are running Manhattan’s largest valet parking operation (cash-based, it might be pointed out) you are attracting car traffic, not deterring it.  The fact that the entire thing is grossly illegal rather overrides any “discussions” about safety procedures.

In order to expand waterfront access to the community, La Marina has established a public sailing program, which provides both free sailing instruction for children and fee based sailing programs for adults.

Ah yes, the ballyhooed sailing program.  The same program that was long promised but never appeared in 2012, 2013, 2014, or even 2015 until the last weekend of August.  The one that charges $95 per person for a sailing outing.  The one that held a single Community Day in mid-October that filled its free sessions within hours, so great was the demand.  That sailing program.  While an excellent use and entirely consistent with a proper Parks concession use, its belated arrival does not make up for the many sins committed and promises broken over the past four years.

photo-from-may24During the season, La Marina’s beach area was open to the public most Saturdays from around 12:00pm to 3:30pm.

Giggle.  “Most”.  And why was that “most” and not “all”?   Could it be that anytime there was money to be made by holding a concert the free beach access was cancelled?  And about those hours, it’s curious that Parks does not point out that the hours were originally 2 pm until sunset, but those times were found to conflict too much with the business of closing public land for private parties and so were moved forward.  During the few hours a week that this large portion of the site (originally approved as an open-air and ungated café area) was open to the public, La Marina prohibited users from bringing food or drink (which had to be purchased) but generously pointed out that virgin cocktails would be available for the “little ones”.  How thoughtful of Parks to make sure the kids developed drinking habits early in life.

In addition, La Marina provided a reoccurring free beach outdoor fitness program and hosted kayak events.

20247392583_86c3e0c864_kYes they did.  A fitness program that used extremely high volume music, because why not?  If it’s ok to blast music at 1 am, why not 9 am on a Sunday too?  As for the “kayak events”, other than letting the community-friendly Inwood Canoe Club use their ramp to build their new kayak dock it’s not clear what kayak events occurred.  Unless they are confusing kayaks with floatplanes, which did hold a demonstration event for an entire week at La Marina — although being a floatplane showroom was not exactly part of the federal boating grant that paid for the docks.

I hope this information is helpful.

Not unless “helpful” means “insulting”.

We look forward to La Marina continuing to serve as a successful concession that is responsive to community concerns.

Look Parks, it’s been four years already.  You can spare us next year’s letter.  La Marina would be a successful concession responsive to community concerns if it operated solely as a restaurant and marina, as it was supposed to.  Allowing continued operation of the Jones Beach-like concert venue and late-night nightclub is wrong and should stop.

Thank you.

We will thank you when you Restore Dyckman Marina.

This is a Parks concession?