Brooklyn Yard may be gone, but it’s spirit lives on. Much to the disappointment of those living in the Gowanus neighborhood and beyond, the outdoor space met it’s demise shortly after it’s season-opening grand fete last Memorial Day, when landlord David Lefkowitz ended the lease with tenants MeanRed Productions. Details of why Lefkowitz kicked MeanRed to the curb are murky. The Brooklyn Paper reported in June that Lefkotwitz – a real estate investor – refused to negotiate with MeanRed, having already sold the space to a development company that planned to build a 447-unit project.
MeanRed, a production, marketing, and promotions company that bills itself as “so cutting edge we’re used to falling off, and liking it,” had transformed the half-acre lot by the canal into a comfortably ramshackle space for concerts, fairs, and clothing swaps over the past four years. Suddenly, they had a full summer’s worth of events – including a concert by Asobi Seksu, happening Saturday – and nowhere to host them. Luckily for tomorrow’s concert, they had to look no further than across the street.
Asobi Seksu will go on as planned, at 383 President Street – directly across the street from the now-defunct Brooklyn Yard. Which is sort of like your little brother holding his hand in your face, repeating, “I’m not touching you.” The outdoor space – which is slightly smaller and more concrete-laden than Brooklyn Yard, but with a more artist-friendly landlord – was a natural back-up option says Jennifer Lyon, who runs Mean Red with partner Katie Longmyer.
“About four years ago, we rented out a building on that land and turned it into a temporary venue for a month, called The Carriage House,” said Lyon via e-mail. “The owners are land owners who’ve owned this lot for quite a long time.”
Father and son duo Daniel Tinneny and Daniel Tinneny Jr., respectively, have owned the building and adjoining lot at 383 President for about thirty years, according to David Belt of Macro Sea, an artistically-inclined development company that turned a bunch of dumpsters into swimming pools at that space last summer, literally making a country club out of trash (or trash receptacles, to be exact). In a video of the project, Tinneny Jr. says this inventive use of the space is inevitable, given the personality of the neighborhood: “I know what goes on around here, all the artistic types and all that. ‘The weird stuff,’ as my father would say.”
For MeanRed, purveyors of ‘weird stuff,’ this is positive foreshadowing. For tomorrow’s show, they’ll transform the space, sans pools. “We’re bringing in picnic tables and sweet lighting, serving root beer floats,” said Lyon. “[We’re] going to have a lovely time.”
Aside from root beer floats, the show will also feature Asobi Seksu, the shoegaze-tinged dream pop band formerly known as Sportfuck. And the name may still mean that – according to many articles on the band, it translates to “playful sex” in Japanese, though Google translate told me “Asobi Seksu” in Japanese means “Asobi Seksu” in English. Regardless, they’ll be at President St at 6 p.m. Leave your cranky landlords at home.
–by Caitlin Curran