Brooklyn Night Bazaar Potential To Influence A Struggling NYC Music Scene
“You know the feeling, the low blow, the sucker punch, you feel when your favorite venue/micro-cosm gets shuttered the second a large unmarked bag of money drops on a landlords desk. That’s the ultimate re-occuring end for many, a fate Brooklyn Night Bazaar owners faced with their fair-style venue on Banker St back in May 2015.
Contrary to what I originally imagined some adult version playground of vintage wares, live music, and vegan hot dogs would amount to, (rolled eyes then). Brooklyn Night Bazaar was actually pretty fun. (That’s New Yorker level joy here). When I was working late hours nearby in Williamsburg for a few months, it was the sort of the place you could go really late at night that wasn’t “the usual.” Whether alone, or to meet up with friends, or a love interest, nothing really struck me as obnoxious. In fact, I met some great people behind a small indie press I could have easily looked over, brushed up on my Street Fighter prowess, and occasionally saw new music and had a few decently priced drinks, all under one roof. The jubilant vibe was a nice option for Greenpoint, which is my sort of haven, because it’s a locals only scene for the most part, but that was until BMW soon priced them out. Seeing as i’ve lost many places i’ve loved that were around for decades or close to that, I let out one lone tear, as they never really had a chance to rise to the communal level they could have.
But Belvy Klein who co-founded and co-owns the Brooklyn Night Bazaar with Aaron Broudo are back. This time at the all things Polish-past, moving to the ol’ Polonaise Terrace, (an old Polish banquet hall.) After licking their wounds–rightfully so, and a brief ménage à trois at Riis Park, the announcement to bring Brooklyn Night Bazaar back comes at an odd time in New York for anything Independent (aka run by the middle class.) It seems Klein is pretty well aware, in a Gothamist article he was quoted saying, “You do have to wonder how it’s even possible anymore to operate a venue that doesn’t have massive financial backing. Coming from a punk rock/DIY background personally, to see venue after venue basically fall victim to the same developer/price-you-out scenario is really depressing. And as a native New Yorker, it pisses me off even more to see how unrecognizable this city has, and continues to, become.”
While the line up already abuzz with locals Clap Your Hands Say Yeah for their September 9th opening week, I recall the investigation dubbed the “New York City Music Industry Convening,” led by the Mayors office in late June, it was intended as an industry-wide introductory and brainstorm session to help determine how the city can support the music industry and its creators. It featured representatives from more than 75 companies and organizations – labels, management companies, recording studios, promoters, venue owners, publicity firms, rights organizations, publishers, brands, lawyers, distributors, universities and musicians themselves, among others attending the nearly two-hour summit. While the meeting was closed to press, it’s become public knowledge that an initiative is being echoed through an agency department the way the stamp Made In New York was geared to bring and keep the film Industry in New York.
My hopes would be that a key part of keeping the industry afloat in NYC would be to finally sign into law some level of rent cap. It’s a no brainer, nearly every venue to shutter from CBGB’s to Glasslands and around again, has been a direct result of rent increase as a brass tactic by landlords to welcome in someone willing and able-to-pay 8-10 times the rent.
But maybe this “odd time for New York” I spoke about earlier is seeing the tide of change, and in fact a better time could be down the road, these practices helped the film industry. The Music Industry Convening while expected to have been rudimentary and initial, was reported New York City may be getting some sort of similar initial safe guards much like the film industry went through before nearly tanking to the mass exodus that happened years ago. On top of that just a few days ago, Gov Andrew Cuomo signed the Empire State Music Production Tax Credit, which gives tax breaks for expenses related to the recording of musical projects within New York State. With change in the air, Brooklyn Night Bazaar could maximize this awareness, implement practices many DIY spaces like Silent Barn offer by offering some of their space at lower costs to artists that may not be able to afford being there, and more over work with the city as a key player. It’s the right time in many ways to cement some cultural practices of affordability into the mindset of the patrons, artists, and companies that will soon pass through the refurbished doors of old Polonaise, I fear not doing so could amount to the same.”