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6 Things to Know About Making DIY Spaces Work

Detail view of suggestions made to the DCA Commissioner by members of the DIY community in late January (image via NAC)

Detail view of suggestions made to the DCA Commissioner by members of the DIY community in late January (image via NYC Artist Coalition)

Last night, dozens gathered in Greenpoint event space Magick City to discuss the current state of DIY spaces in New York and to brainstorm ideas they could offer the Department of Cultural Affairs that would help keep DIY arts and culture spaces operating safely without being prohibitive financially to those running them.

The meeting was organized by the NYC Artist Coalition, “an emerging coalition of artists, creative organizations, community leaders, activists, policy makers, and specialists providing mutual support and advocating for informal and affordable community spaces in NYC.” The Magick City discussion was a follow-up to a packed meeting about DIY spaces two weeks ago with the commissioner of Cultural Affairs. This willingness to formally cooperate with a city that is so often seen as actively working against DIY spaces comes hot on the heels of the Ghost Ship fire tragedy in Oakland, an event that shook up the DIY community nationwide and led to increased crackdowns on other homegrown venues.
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With Days Left to Legalize Their Lofts, Some Scramble, Others Stew, Many Have No Idea

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Several seconds/Flickr

Landlords call him “the devil.”

Meet Arthur Atlas, an architect specializing in loft design. He earned this disparaging title as a result of his work with tenant advocacy groups, and a lifetime of finding loopholes within the city’s convoluted property laws. Currently, Atlas is helping a man who lives on the roof of a building in a small, prefabricated home. The man has water and a kitchen — amenities he built up himself. “It’s a great place,” Atlas said, “but it’s on the friggin’ roof.”
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