Bikini brouhaha in Brooklyn, and more


To avoid upsetting some local Chasidic communities, New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority has banned Georgi Vodka ads featuring scantily ad women from appearing on buses that pass through certain Brooklyn neighborhoods. That sparked a protest Tuesday by some scantily clad women outside MTA headquarters. Fox News reports:

Dozens of bikini-clad women and upset New York residents congregated outside New York City’s public transit headquarters on Tuesday to protest the transport authority’s recent decision to ban a popular Georgi Vodka ad campaign, which features models donning sexy swimsuits, from appearing on buses that travel through certain neighborhoods in Brooklyn that are primarily populated by Hasidic Jewish communities.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority’s move was reportedly initiated in response to a string of complaints filed by religious groups in the New York borough.

“We’re very upset about the censorship,” Georgi Vodka spokesperson Todd Shapiro told Pop Tarts. “We had about 50 girls pointing their backsides at the MTA as part of the protest, basically telling them to ‘butt’ out. The government should not be acting in a role of judging where an ad goes based on religious beliefs.  The MTA has no place in segregating areas; it should be all or nothing.”

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Brooklyn, two shuls are suing the city over a plan to stage music concerts at a nearby park, claiming the noise will disturb services. The New York Times reports:

The singer Neil Sedaka, a sleepy city park and two synagogues by the sea: only in New York — and only in Brooklyn, maybe — could those elements be part of a raging feud.

What for months was largely a local dispute over the renovation of a Coney Island park has escalated in recent weeks, drawing in the mayor, the City Council, the civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel and the courts.

There have been accusations that the borough president, Marty Markowitz, had used strong-arm tactics to quiet the opposition and countercharges that the synagogue leaders were being parochial.

At issue are plans by Mr. Markowitz to transform run-down Asser Levy Park into a signature concert space by replacing the band shell with an amphitheater…

The two synagogues, Temple Beth Abraham and the Sea Breeze Jewish Center, have sued the city and Mr. Markowitz in an effort to stop the concerts, saying that a provision of the city code bans the use of amplified sound within 500 feet of a place of worship during services.

To counter the lawsuit, the City Council on Tuesday approved a 90-day pilot program that would use decibels and not just distance to determine whether sound permits should be granted. That would allow this summer’s concerts to go forward.

Recommended from JTA