NEW YORK - MARCH 02: A teen walks across the heavily polluted Gowanus Canal on March 2, 2010 in the Brooklyn borough of New York. The 140-year-old Brooklyn waterway has just been named as a Superfund site by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The move to cleanup of the Gowanus, which was opposed by the Bloomberg administration, will cost between $300 million and $500 million and could take 10 to 12 years. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
A beloved independent venue that found a home on the crusty, polluted banks of the Gowanus Canal is being forced to close its doors today after being informed by the landlord that their lease would no longer be honored.
The sad news comes just two days after a glowing Times profile that ominously noted the Yard "happens to be adjacent to the Toll Brothers site and might not survive development," referring to recent construction plans to glamorize this dilapidated stretch of Carrol Gardens.
Over the past four years BKLYN Yard has grown as a home for a variety of summer events, shows, and outdoor festivals -- playing host to such acts as Lee Scratch Perry and Dan Deacon to events for foodies and slow culture enthusiasts like the Gowanus Harvest Fest, Parked: Food Truck Festival and the BK County Fair.
Just this past Memorial Day weekend, hoards of celebrating Brooklynites came out to enjoy the new bar and bocce court.
But despite scheduling an exciting summer of events through Labor Day that now will never see the light of day, MeanRed Productions, the production company that owns and operates the venue, announced today the venue's closure in a letter to supporters posted on its website this morning.
Addressed "To our Yardies," it began, "Over the past four years, we have worked hard to create BKLYN Yard. You watched us grow from a small unknown independent venue into a space that hosted the best tacos in NYC, incredible talent ... and countless lobster bakes, pig roasts, BBQs and more."
"Our landlord of the past four years, who used to share our vision for BKLYN Yard, notified us on Tuesday May 1st, that they would no longer honor our lease which had been in place since early this year. They chose not to give us an opportunity to renegotiate, and requested that we take what we have built, and terminate all of our confirmed plans and schedule for BKLYN Yard this summer."
The reaction across Twitter and the blogosphere was swift. At Brooklyn Vegan, they simply wrote, "That sucks." Commenters wrote of their suspicions in the landlord's motivations -- dollar signs by building on the property, selling out to Toll Brothers and cashing out. Gothamist reassured us, "Surely there are other toxic green spaces in the city that could use a little love and drunken debauchery."
The BKLYN Yards Twitter account meanwhile is furiously retweeting digital hugs and messages of support, spreading the memories to their 1,500 followers.
In an interview with the Times' ArtsBeat blog, Justin Carter, the promoter behind the Sunday Best dance parties, said it was a surprise, and that he'll be relocating to the party's previous rain-out location at Littlefield (622 Degraw St., Carrol Gardens) for the coming week.
A phone call to MeanRed Productions by NBC New York went unanswered. We'll update if we hear back.
Despite this disappointing turn of events after such a promising start to the summer, the organizers want you to know this isn't the end, and hope New York will "continue on this crazy ride with us as we bring you what’s next."
"Stay tuned," they conclude, "we will pop-up where you least expect it, with the words: 'Built by BKLYN Yard'"
As if to reinforce that message, MeanRed Productions today tweeted out one more message of encouragement for supporters who feared this was the end.
"Wow. the response has been deafening. But you know us... OF COURSE we've got things up our sleeve. Stay tuned."