Three months ago, a group of venues and people involved in the NYC nightlife scene, led by AdHoc Presents, Brooklyn venue Friends and Lovers, PR agency Grandstand Media, the NYC Artist Coalition, and arts nonprofit The Solo Foundation, joined forces to create NYC Nightlife United, an “emergency relief fund to save NYC nightlife cultural spaces.” Three months later, those cultural spaces, by and large, remain closed, or operating in a limited, outdoor only, reduced capacity way; meanwhile, Congress adjourned until mid-September without passing a new coronavirus aid package at all, much less one that contained some of the legislation that would provide aid to venues. NYC Nightlife United has now launched a new Kickstarter campaign to help them continue their work. Here’s more from them about it:
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted so many around the world, leaving people and spaces in already precarious situations vulnerable like never before. As we’ve lost the privilege and comfort of coming together in large groups, this rings particularly true for NYC and its storied nightlife community.
Our city’s cultural spaces are at risk of erasure, with recent surveys forecasting the closure of 90% of America’s independent music venues in the coming months if there is no economic intervention. This situation is even more dire for POC and queer spaces, already under systematic financially distress before COVID-19 (2x as likely to be labeled “at risk”, 3x as likely to close due to a two-month revenue shock, 50-70% less likely to be approved for bank loans, etc.) and disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. With minority-owned business making up only about 10% of the country’s recreation industry, the risk of losing entire spaces built for POC and queer communities are at risk from disappearing completely. For example, Alibi, Manhattan’s last black queer-owned bar is at risk of following in the footsteps of Black and Latino-centric queer clubs that have closed over the last decade (Club Langston in Brooklyn, Secret Lounge in Chelsea, No Parking in Washington Heights and Escuelita in Midtown West).
We need your help to ensure these spaces, pivotal spaces for release for marginalized communities, are still there once it’s safe to gather again. Join us in keeping the lights on for one of NYC’s most economically and culturally necessary pillars – its nightlife ecosystem.
NYC Nightlife United (NNU) was born out of the need to support independently-owned businesses that enrich the cultural landscape of NYC’s nightlife, especially in the face of government inaction. Our goal is to administer emergency grants to shuttered venue spaces and staff members, prioritizing those by and for POC and LGBTQIA communities. NYC’s cultural landscape would not be as rich and robust as it is today without the trailblazing contributions from these communities.
While we’re hard at work to secure larger donations from sponsors willing to truly step up for NYC’s cultural community, we’re also asking individuals with the means and ability to pitch in and help save these spaces. At a time when we need it most, your donation provides critical grassroots support during this unprecedented moment.
With your help, we can help ensure an equitable nightlife culture in NYC that not only survives coronavirus closure, but is able to reopen as a stronger, healthier, and more creative community. We will not be able to get this done without you and thank you all for your support from the bottom of our hearts.
You can back the Kickstarter now, and they have tiers of rewards available, including stickers, guitar picks, disco ball keychains, earplugs, face masks, tote bags, photo zines and a photobook commemorating Death by Audio from music and portrait photographer (and longtime BrooklynVegan contributor) Ebru Yildiz, shirts, tank tops, a meeting with AdHoc, a DBA guitar pedal, and a livestream from Friends and Lovers.