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Gowanus is one ‘Yard’ shy as party spot closes down

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Friday was the day the parties died.

After a dispute with its landlord, The BKLYN Yard announced on Friday that it is shutting down for the summer, scattering its Sunday dance parties, food fairs, and flea markets from the Gowanus Canal site.

Fresh off its wildly successful SCORE! Pop-up Swap clothing exchange, MeanRed Productions, announced on Friday that it would be leaving its one-half acre Carroll Street space and canceling its schedule at the Yard for the rest of the summer.

On May 1, MeanRed’s landlord, David Lefkowitz, told MeanRed President Jen Lyon that he would no longer honor the company’s lease on the site and did not give the company an opportunity to renegotiate the terms. In response, MeanRed canceled all of its confirmed events for the remainder of the season, and is now scrambling to find alternative spaces for its events.

“We are sad to see our passion project go in its brightest year, and are sad to let down all the people who have supported and worked with us for the past three summers,” said the e-mail. “But if there is one thing we pride ourselves in, it’s our ability to think outside the box, to take a leap when there is no net, and to reach our highest visions.”

Lefkowitz, a real estate investor who has developed property in the Gowanus since 1998, characterized the situation as “very complicated” and did not comment regarding future development of the space.

“I’ve been down there a decade, and I’ve done a lot to reuse the land and will continue to do that,” said Lefkowitz.

The half-acre lot is adjacent to the Gowanus Canal, which was recently declared a federal Superfund site in March, clearing the way for a decade-long clean-up process.

Lefkowitz was all set to sell the lot to the Toll Brothers development company, which hoped to build a 447-unit project — but that was all undone by the Superfund designation. A spokesman for Toll Brothers has said that nothing has changed.

Meanwhile, Lyon and other MeanRed employees put a brave face on the devastating news, saying that the Yard’s “renegade spirit and love for pop-up spaces will come alive again this summer … very possibly even better than we had planned before.”

Shine on, you crazy diamond.

Updated 2:20 pm, October 19, 2011
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