Build a model dinosaur and drink beer in gritty-glam Downtown Brooklyn dead end
By Lore Croghan
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
That's one dino-mite party planned for Downtown Brooklyn's groovy Grove Alley.
Guests at the free al fresco fête are going to build an eight-foot-tall model dinosaur out of reclaimed wood, just for the fun of it.
It may sound like a dream date for Ross the paleontologist from “Friends” – but it's one of the funky activities planned for Grove Alley Makers Nite on Friday, June 27.
The offbeat block party marks the start of Season Two of a campaign the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership started last summer to promote the once-forgotten dead end tucked between the Fulton Mall and Livingston Street.
The group's ultimate goal is to turn tiny Grove Place – which has mysterious metal-encased fire stairs that look like a set from the Broadway musical “Rent” – into a quirky-cool commercial corridor.
The planned street soirée “builds upon the success of our previous events and brings a decidedly 'now' twist, given the tech, innovation and maker community that has sprung up in the Brooklyn Tech Triangle,” said Vivian Liao, the organization's director of marketing and strategic partnerships.
The Tech Triangle includes Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO and the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
The folks from Brooklyn Garage, a Gowanus shop that's into fixing and making stuff, will lead Build-A-Dinosaur. For attendees who prefer to produce personally useful things, Brooklyn Garage will host a booth that will teach them how to make bottle openers from scraps of wood.
Another do-it-yourself workshop will be run by Fort Greene jewelry shop Mynlyn.
There's drinking to be done, too – Brooklyn Brewery beers will be sold – plus DJ music. Foodie-fave trucks from Coolhaus, Mexicue and Snowday will be on hand to feed the crowd.
“We hope the night's theme will not only serve to showcase the talent here, but through the DIY workshops also help to demonstrate that everyone can be a part of this maker movement,” Liao said.
The Partnership hopes to hold one or two other Grove Alley events this summer, and is seeking sponsors who might turn alley get-togethers into a more regular thing.
Last year's Partnership parties in Grove Alley drew more than 2,000 attendees – and put the spotlight on gritty Grove Place, which the “Forgotten New York” website once called “a candidate for the worst street in Brooklyn, if not the five boroughs.”
Since then, the single-lane street off Hanover Place has been spiffed up with an 80-foot-wide mural. And one landlord has built a storefront window facing the alley.
The Partnership's aim is to fill the alley-facing sides of the surrounding buildings with small coffee shops or galleries in ground-floor spaces and small office tenants upstairs.
The organization's promotion of Grove Alley has scored a big victory, as the Brooklyn Eagle previously reported. A 28-story apartment tower that Bushburg Properties plans to build on the Nevins Street end of the alley will have retail spaces opening onto it.
The Partnership plans to keep hosting Grove Alley parties once Bushburg Properties starts demolition of the existing buildings at its 8-16 Nevins St. site.
“We remain in close contact with the developer and will work with them to ensure that our events don't interfere with their project and vice versa,” Liao said.
The Partnership, which is “actively pursuing tenants for the alley,” has fielded calls from a few interested food and beverage businesses, she added.
Bushburg Properties, which filed a construction plan with the city Buildings Department in April, submitted three additional Buildings Department applications related to the project last month. A 99-cent store recently moved out of its existing Nevins Street buildings, leaving them deserted-looking.
See http://bit.ly/grovealleymakersnite to register for the June 27 street party, which is scheduled for 5 to 11 p.m.