Friday, October 10, 2014

Last Night, Housing Works Roof. East 9th Street and Avenue D East Village, NYC.

Last night we recreated 3 of our favorite store fronts from our book STORE FRONT: The Disappearing Face of New York on the roof top deck of Housing Works located on East 9th Street and Avenue D in the East Village. All three of the shops we chose are from the East Village. CBGB and Love Saves The Day are unfortunately gone, while Stage Restaurant is happily still in business. The fact that two of our favorites are closed and long gone made it all the more special for us.

The prints. The first thing we noticed was the strong wind that was swirling around the location. We wanted to lay out our Loves Saves The Day and CBGB right away because they were shipped to us folded. Love Saves The Day we had reproduced at 10 feet high by 15 feet wide and CBGB 10 feet high by 12 feet wide which made them too big to ship in a tube.  That meant those two prints had some creases. Stage Restaurant at 10 feet by 8 feet was small enough to be tubed and is seen helping weigh done the other two works. Chairs were also put in play as the wind lifted and threatened  to send the stores down into the East River.

Progress. We have no shots of the rolls being zip-tied to the pallets we laid on the roof because the process required both our full attentions. We knew we needed something good and heavy to make them secure. There was a mix up with the delivery of a load of 2X4s and pre-made sand bags so we found ourselves scavenging the neighborhood for lumber. Two local businesses helped out, with Figlia & Sons Inc pitching in one pallet, their only one and Frank Alexander Party & Event Planning Service giving us some 2X4s and smaller pieces of lumber. The rest came straight out of the dumpsters in the Jacob Riis houses complex.

Rock Salt. 50 pound bags of rock salt ice melt from Housing Works took the place of sand bags. The grommets held, as did the zip ties we used to secure the shops to the pallets and assorted wood as the wind only seemed to get stronger as the day went on.

Metal brackets. Saifee Hardware on First Avenue in the East Village is where we purchased the metal brackets and lights which we planned to string along the top of the stores. An earlier idea using work lamps was abandoned because of questions of them being weather-proof... wind, rain and otherwise. The brackets had to be drilled down into the pallets to stay put in the howling gusts.  1 WTC looks on in the distance...

The view. A line of clouds thickened as the temperature dropped and rain as a possibility entered both our minds. The vinyl banners could have withstood the most determined soaking, but still.

Sunset. The sun sank and we still had to tackle CBGB's wall which had an added obstacle of flood lights which stuck out and would not allow the print to lay smooth. With no more wood we unscrewed two bowed metal trellises that were already on the Housing Works deck and laid them down to give the print a slight distance from the wall. It seemed to work fine until a blast of wind lifted the whole thing up. Prints, trellises and all were sent up a foot or two and slammed back down on the deck. More ice melt bags and umbrella stands were obviously needed.

Lights. The outlet we planned on using for the  strings of lights was non-operational which sent us scrambling to re-wire things as the sun disappeared behind the buildings of downtown. All that was left after sorting that out was cleaning up and smoothing out the bottoms.

7 hours later. The party guests for The East Village Community Coalition's 10 Year Anniversary Party had just started filing in as we finished. Ice melt bags were replaced by heavy planters and the last of zip ties and duct tape were used to fight the wind. And most importantly, CBGB's and Love Saves The Day stood once again alongside Stage Restaurant in the East Village. At least for the night...

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