Bushwick/Bed-Stuy venue The Gateway was forced to close on May 23 and has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise the money to reopen, according to an email from the space’s owner Ned Shatzer.
Originally opened in the St. Lucian Paradise nightclub space in October 2016, The Gateway offered up two floors of shows and parties, plus a roof and basement. They told us in an interview they aimed to throw DIY-style shows while cultivating a legal space that longtime locals in the neighborhood could still frequent. They’ve also hosted monthly benefit shows to raise money for local charities.
The venue’s operators say, on the Kickstarter page, that they were forced to close because they “did not have enough money to sustain ourselves and avoid eviction because of large fines and burdens from the days before we obtained all our required permits and licenses.” Among other things, the venue received a $22,000 fine for having people on the roof, and $5,000 from the fire department for “a DJ using a smoke machine without our permission which set off the fire alarm.” They also received fines following a raid from MARCH (Multi-Agency Response to Community Hotspots), an NYPD-led task force that often enters unexpectedly and has facilitated the closure of venues like Palisades.
The $40,000 they’re asking for will cover their outstanding fines and rent. If they exceed their goal, they’ll enact further improvements like legalizing the roof through a “Place of Assembly” filing ($15,000) and fixing the HVAC ($3,000), with eventual plans to try and purchase the building so they’re not beholden to a landlord.
The last prominent Brooklyn venue to take to Kickstarter in order to stay alive and legal was Shea Stadium, which raised significantly more than their initial goal. Ultimately, they had to close anyway, as their building’s owners decided to open their own nightclub in the space. Another recent closure in the neighborhood was the Silent Barn, which exited their space on Bushwick Avenue at the end of April, also because of a financial burden that became unsustainable.
The Gateway’s Kickstarter is “all or nothing,” which means if they don’t raise $40,000 in the next 11 days, they won’t see any of that cash. Perks available to those who donate include a custom lighter ($5), access to the space for a video shoot ($500), and lifetime free show entry and free drinks ($1,500).
“If we don’t reach our goal, the people have spoken, we’re gonna close,” Shatzer tells us. “Moving on, I guess.”
The Gateway’s Kickstarter runs through Monday, June 18.