Rivington and Norfolk is the heart of NYC’s Lower East Side, a block that includes everything from art galleries to bars to restaurants to tenement housing to luxury condos, the ongoing clash between the neighborhood of old and the LES of now pretty well aggregated. Like the rest of NYC, the block is ever-changing, and two of its newest additions arrived via Kickstarter.
The first is called Wedding Chapel, a pop-up wedding chapel where anyone can get married, re-married or fake-married for only $200 (here’s the original Kickstarter project). Several couples have already been married there (we posted pics of the first wedding earlier), including a fake wedding between a New York Magazine reporter and comedian Michael Showalter (The State, Stella, Michael & Michael Have Issues) that you can watch here, or you can watch my own unedited iPhone camera version here:
Ben Smyth, the owner of the Grand Opening space where Wedding Chapel resides, used Kickstarter to test whether his idea of a pop-up hitching post in NYC was worth doing. Three grand, some nice press, and a handful of weddings later, he has his answer. And for his backers, the results have been just as sweet. There’s a plaque listing all of the pledgers in Wedding Chapel, and Ben has kept backers in the loop with several video project updates.
Walk south on Norfolk St. about thirty yards and you’ll walk straight into Tiny’s Sandwich Shop, a LES institution for the past nine years. One of the very first Kickstarter projects was from a NY-based artist named Mike Brown, who wanted to paint a mural on Tiny’s interior walls — he called it LostLES. Mike worked hard to raise the $5,000 he needed, and he was paid off with a strong surge in the final 48 hours to close the gap.
The mural itself is awesome. I finally saw it for the first time this past week (having forgotten about it despite being a backer!) and took some pics:
It’s not often that you see the stuff we do on the internet cross into our everyday lives, but we’re big fans whenever it does. For us Kickstarter New Yorkers, this has been especially cool. (Can’t forget Chicago with Run Blago Run either.)
In the future Kickstarter will add features to make it easier to find local projects. It’s encouraging to see them already happening on their own.