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Owners of Nowadays reflect on first year in Ridgewood and ponder future plans

Photo via Instagram/nowadaysnyc

One of Ridgewood’s hottest hangout spots this summer, Nowadays, is getting ready to close up shop for the winter, with its owners already eyeing warmer days in 2016.

When owners Justin Carter, Eamon Harkin and Mark Connell opened Nowadays back in June, there were many questions as to how the outdoor bar/hangout area would be received, since it was a novel idea for the Ridgewood community.

“We met a lot of great new people and felt like we became a real part of the neighborhood,” Carter said of Nowadays’ introduction to the area. “It was wonderful how so many people from the community embraced us. We were so pleased to feel so welcomed.”

As time moved on, the owners began to learn more about what the community wanted from Nowadays and tried to accommodate their requests.

“After being open for just a couple weeks at four days a week, we quickly realized that there were plenty of people from the neighborhood who’d like to come and hang out seven days a week — so we opened seven days a week, and people came,” Carter said.

Shortly after opening, concerns arose regarding Nowadays’ proximity to the Superfund site at the former Wolff-Alport chemical factory, which produced and dumped radioactive thorium during the 1940s and 1950s.

“Before we leased the space, because of the proximity to the site, we and some co-tenants had radioactivity tests done. The test was done by Hydro Tech Environmental, a company that specializes in, among other things, radioactivity testing,” Carter said. “In short, the gamma radiation reading throughout the space … was 0.0 milliwatts per square centimeter. That’s less than any device that you could think of that emits the smallest amounts of gamma radiation, because, well, it is zero.”

For the sake of transparency, the owners are happy to share the full results of the test with anyone interested.

“If anyone would like to personally see the test results, they can feel free to reach out to us at nownownowadays@gmail.com,” Carter said. “We’re more than happy to share the findings with anyone who’d like to see them.”

Nowadays’ final day of 2015 will be Sunday, Oct. 25, and the owners are planning to reopen in April.

“Mark, Eamon and I are sitting down soon to talk about what we’re going to change, but we haven’t decided yet. We wanted to wait until the end of the season to see how everything progressed from summer to autumn before we made any big decisions,” Carter said. “I could see us trying to come up with more solutions for shade on hot days and trying to come up with some more permanent solution for shelter at the bars, but it’s all up in the air right now.”

One idea Carter and his co-owners are tossing around is finding an indoor space for the winter months so they can operate Nowadays year-round.

“We’re still fleshing out our plans for the indoors … but essentially, after opening this summer, we’ve realized that there is a place for us in the neighborhood all year round, and we’re really excited about moving forward with those plans,” Carter said.

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