The Night Heron was an invitation-only bar built illegally inside a Chelsea water tower in New York City that was open for just a few weekends this spring. Despite the arcane, timepiece-based invite process, Atlantic Cities and The New York Times both made it there. Here’s how a guest would find her way to this spot, according to Atlantic Cities:
The entrance tickets … are in the form of a pocket watch — which can only be obtained as a gift — with a reservation number and instructions inside advising against high heels and to be ready for a bit of climbing … After squeezing through a trap door, you are welcomed into a candlelit wooden cylinder outfitted with a bar, drink tables, and chandelier, all made from upright piano parts. You sip an aromatic amber concoction made by a dapper proprietor and survey this cedar jewel box, seemingly constructed by a pauper of exquisite taste.
Here’s what that felt like:
All this was possible because, even in a city of gentrifying neighborhoods and investment, there are still building owners who don’t pay much attention to their property.The New York Times reports:
Mr. Austin located a suitable water tower by scouring Buildings Department records for violations with egregious scaffold fines. That can indicate a neglectful landlord, he said, which meant it might be a vacant building ripe for adopting as one’s own.
At Atlantic Cities, Dan Glass suggests that the project shares roots with urban exploration, but N.D. Austin, the organizer, has a different way of describing this project: “transgressive placemaking.” We call it an awesome way to have a few illicit drinks with friends and then break your neck getting back down.