Lowline Launches $200,000 Kickstarter For Tech Lab in Former Essex Market Building

Streit’s Matzo Documentary Raises $14,000 So Far

This week The Jewish Daily Forward features the Kickstarter campaign in support of Michael Levine’s Streit’s Matzo documentary film project.  The production team has raised $14,000; they’ve got to hit $60,000 by the end of May.  The documentary, “a story of Matzo and the American Dream on the Lower East Side,”  celebrates the Streit family’s decision to stay in the neighborhood in spite of gentrification and competitive pressures.

Levine told The Forward, “You could argue that it would be a more dramatic story of they were, like so many other businesses before them, being forced from the neighborhood… But I honestly think it’s more compelling, and perhaps can have more of a positive impact, to tell the story of a business that has steadfastly refused to leave, to modernize their equipment at the expense of their workers’ jobs.”

It’s the Last Day to Support the Delancey Underground on Kickstarter

Architectural rendering courtesy: RAAD Studio/James Ramsey.

It’s the final day of the Delancey Underground’s Kickstarter campaign.  As just about the whole world knows by now, James Ramsey and Dan Barasch are hoping to build a park in an abandoned trolley station on the Lower East Side. The fundraising drive is meant to pay for a large demonstration of solar technology necessary to make the park a reality and for engineering studies.  The initial goal was met in the first week of the campaign, so the project will definitely be funded (that’s how Kickstarter works). With about 7 hours to go the Delancey Underground has raised about $153,000 from more than 3,200 backers. If you’d like to help, click on this link.  The deadline is 5:46 p.m.


Delancey Underground Raises $60,000 in One Week

One week ago, the founders of The Delancey Underground launched a Kickstarter campaign in support of their dream of building a park in an abandoned trolley station below the Lower East Side.  So far it’s been remarkably successful.  With more than a month to go, $60,000 of the $100,000 needed to stage a large-scale demo in the Essex Street Market has already been raised.

A couple of days ago Delancey Underground co-creator Dan Barasch acknowledged there have been some sizable donations from big backers. But he added that lots of small contributions (many just $1) have rolled in.  There were 900 Kickstarter supporters as of midday today.

Delancey Underground’s Kickstarter Campaign

We’ve been reporting about the Kickstarter campaign in support of the Delancey Underground, the fascinating proposal to build a park in an abandoned trolley station on the Lower East Side. Well, last night co-visionaries Dan Barasch and James Ramsey launched the campaign, which aims to raise $100,000. The money will go towards funding a large scale demo of new technology Ramsey has developed to transport sunlight underground. You can watch their video above and visit the Kickstarter page here.

This is part of the pitch:

Now we need to build a full-scale installation– a “mini LowLine”– so people can see this with their own eyes.  And we need $100,000 to build it.  This tech demo will be an invaluable tool in helping convince our community, potential funders, the City, and the MTA that this idea can work. It will also help us refine the technology so we get it perfect once it’s time to build the real thing. We’re planning on installing the mockup in the Essex Street Market, an indoor public space in our neighborhood. e hope you’ll support our effort to build a new kind of park. You can visit our web site, delanceyunderground.org, for more information or to see renderings of what the park might look like. And please help us by backing our Kickstarter campaign, at whatever level you can! Thanks, and we’ll see you underground!

The Delancey Underground is also featured in today’s Wall Street Journal (paywall alert).


Kickstarter – In Conversation at the New Museum

Founded in 2009, Kickstarter has quickly exploded in to the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world. Founders Perry Chen and Yancey Strickler will be in conversation at the New Museum on Saturday, discussing this “new form of patronage and commerce,” and what it means to the art world, with artists who have successfully used Kickstarter to complete their projects. $8, free for members // 3pm // New Museum Theater // 235 Bowery.

Ping Pong in the Park


Photo by Friends of Gulick Park via Flickr.

Those resourceful community organizers battling to restore Luther Gulick Park have a new weapon in their arsenal — ping pong!  The group is pulling out all the stops for “Take Back Our Park Day” on May 16th. Now, in an effort to enliven one of the city’s most neglected spaces, the Friends of Gulick Park have launched a campaign on Kickstarter for an outdoor ping pong table.

Vegas Style Wedding Chapel Set to Open on Norfolk Street

A few weeks ago we told you about the latest imaginative project from the guys at “Grand Opening” on Norfolk Street. In the past, they’ve turned their storefront (at 139 Norfolk) into a drive-in movie theater complete with a sky blue 1965 convertible, a ping pong parlor and an art gallery. Starting July 10th, it will be a Vegas style wedding chapel. We stopped by the soon-to-be chapel recently to get the scoop from the “wedding planners.”


In a past life, “Grand Opening” was a drive-in movie theater.


A ping pong parlor was the first “business” to open at “Grand Opening”

Ben Smyth and his brother moved their business to the Lower East Side a couple of years ago, opening the storefront as an offshoot of their design firm. Ben says they wanted to do something to engage the community, tapping into the diversity and artistic spirit the neighborhood is known for. The concept behind “Grand Opening” is to unveil a new “business” every few months. So far there have been about 10 projects, some more popular than others.

The wedding chapel concept seems destined to be a big hit. One of their employees, Kevin Fey (pictured), has gone through an exhaustive (about one hour) correspondence course to become a minister in the Universal Life Church. You get to choose the cheesy backdrop: beach, forest, whatever you want. Ben says there’s already been quite a lot of interest. Some people are having real weddings in the 250 square foot space – others are renewing their vows or having a commitment ceremony. You can even rent a bride or groom. There is room for around 20 guests. They’ll stream a live feed of your big day on the internet.

“Grand Opening” is raising money for the project on Kickstarter. They only have one more day to reach their fundraising goal of $3,000. There’s still about 500 bucks to go. You can see more information about the Wedding Chapel and watch a video here.

LES Wedding Chapel

The LES installation/event space "Grand Opening" on Norfolk Street has a proposal to make. Next month, they'll become a quickie wedding chapel, Vegas style. You'll be able to get married by a Universal Life Church minister, with 20 or so of your closest friends looking on. The whole thing is explained in this video on Kickstarter.