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State: More security measures at Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater

Bollards are installed outside Jones Beach theater Friday.

Bollards are installed outside Jones Beach theater Friday.  Photo Credit: Danielle Silverman

New anti-terrorist safeguards for Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater now include 91 round concrete barriers to prevent anyone from attacking the venue by driving across the VIP parking lot, officials said Friday.

Part of the theater and the entrance to the VIP lot were walled off by long rows of bright yellow concrete barriers about two years ago.

The new, closely spaced, yellow-striped bollards, which look like oversized tennis balls, were installed Friday by forklift-driving stagehands. The bollards create an L-shaped safety lane on the VIP lot’s perimeter where only authorized vehicles are allowed.

“We are securing this area … to make sure the public is protected,” said George Gorman, regional director, Long Island, state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

The lot also will be shielded by two barricades that can be raised to about waist high and lowered if necessary so vehicles can drive over them, said Maj. Anthony F. Astacio, commanding officer, State Park Police, Long Island-New York City.

Further, concertgoers will be screened for possible weapons or other verboten items under two new wooden sheds with queuing lines to help speed the process, Gorman said.

And additional security cameras have been installed at the theater, he said.

Unlike the 2017 upgrades partly prompted by the June 22 concert bombing in Manchester, England that year, the latest improvements stem from the continual analysis of security that officials undertake, scrutinizing other venues and attacks around the world, the major said.

Possible threats on social media are monitored by a multi-agency group.

“They provide intelligence to us for every single concert," Astacio said. “If somebody doesn’t like somebody in a band and they are coming here, we know about it.”

Tactical teams equipped with M4 rifles and sidearms, drone surveillance, bomb-detecting dogs that even can detect whether any bands used pyrotechnics at previous concerts, and a patrol boat guarding a safety buffer in Zach’s Bay behind the theater also are part of the mix, the officials said, declining to reveal all of the safeguards that are deployed.

“We can’t give the bad guys the game plan,” Astacio said. “It just defeats the purpose.“

The LiveNation entertainment company, which puts on the concerts, and the parks department are sharing the approximately $290,000 cost of the new measures, Gorman said.

A LiveNation official declined to comment.

Astacio, emphasizing the need to balance security while avoiding the oppression of a police state, said coordination was critical.

“It really comes down to the cooperation of everybody who works this event,” Astacio said. 

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