It’s a theater, recording studio, concert venue, and even a campaign stop for candidates with presidential ambitions.

The Arc, a 20,000-square-foot, multi-purpose center with cathedral-like wooden beams in the air and graffiti splashed on the walls, opened in Astoria’s Kaufman Arts District in early 2019. And the parties are just getting started.

Last night, the Arc kicked off its NABRHOOD series with live music, projection art by 3 Legged Dog, cuisine curated by Bareburger, and specialty drinks with help from Bulleit whiskey and Don Julio Tequila. Guests shook their groove things, dug through vinyl crates for goodies, and added their own graffiti-style imprints with supplied markers, canvases, and paint. As part of the fun, somebody called “The Ironing Man” dutifully ironed clothes on demand.

Williamsburg is so last decade.

The Arc currently consists of two large performance spaces that can hold a few hundred revelers at a time. Other aspects include an artistically adorned elevator booth, an eight-person speakeasy, a small theater, and a hidden room. But don’t get used to the facilities, as things are constantly changing as per the creative vibe.

NABRHOOD continues tonight, May 10, with deejays Shigeto + Swarvy and other big names on the NYC party scene. The starting time is listed as 8 p.m. for these events. They end when the cows go home.

A little more painting. A little light construction work. Maybe some gardening. Then NABRHOOD returns on May 16 with another “epic hang” starring FLAMINGOSIS, an electronic music producer, beat boxer, and disc jockey, the Jamal Jackson Dance Company, and other mixtures of live music, deejay work, and anything goes.

The final NABRHOOD bash is on May 17. (Details are coming.)

The Arc is actually an extension of the website DMNDR, which South Ozone Park native John Belitsky launched in 2014. Success was fast and furious with hundreds of passionate art creators and consumers using the site to share interviews, reviews, opinions, video clips, and photos. After a few years, Belitsky realized that his cyber space needed a corresponding physical space, so he took over a converted sushi factory that occupies the entire block with an entrance at 36-30 36th St.

Success has been equally fast and furious. Kendrick Lamar, a cappella singer Madison McFerrin, and the Oxymorrons have already taken the stage. Theater groups, comedians, and filmmakers are involved. Even politicians are in the mix. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts who is running for president, held her first NYC rally there on March 8. (The place filled with bearded twenty-somethings who enthusiastically applauded her jabs at Corporate America.)

More politicians might be on site for a 24-hour reading of the Mueller Report with actors, musicians, and the public taking turns on June 1. It should be a fun event, but who knows what the place will look like by then?

Images: The Arc


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