A former spice blending factory turned popular nightclub has started its newest chapter as a multi-level, unique hospitality venue equipped for corporate meetings, fundraisers, and weddings alike. Located at N. 12th Street and Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 74Wythe offers 15,000 feet over three floors—including a main room, mezzanine, cocktail lounge, dining loft, courtyard, and rooftop. Wallpapered rooms and modern decor attribute to the venue’s elegant, timeless style. Principal owners Zach Weinberg and Josh Kaiser envision the structure as a multi-purpose space that still maintains Brooklyn’s late night scene with its dazzling, waterfront skyline views, full-service bar, and kitchen. One of the most desirable features is the weather-protected, retractable, soundproof glass enclosure on the roof, which will limit outside noises from disrupting private ceremonies (e.g. weddings) while simultaneously preventing sound from escaping the building and disturbing the rest of the neighborhood during late-night events.
Located at N. 12th Street and Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 74Wythe offers 15,000 feet over three floors—including a main room, mezzanine, cocktail lounge, dining loft, courtyard, and rooftop.
Proving true to its message of community making, 74Wythe has pledged to indefinitely donate 1% percent of its net profits for all private event sales to Black Lives Matter, the Brooklyn Community Foundation, the Stonewall Community Foundation, the New York Center for Children, the New York Community Trust, or to another charity of a client’s choice. Their first donation went to the NYC Covid-19 Response & Impact Fund of the New York Community Trust. When COVID-19 struck and delayed 74Wythe’s opening, the venue collaborated with Angela Redai, founder of boutique consulting firm Artine Advisory. Redai conceived of and directed the art installation covering 74Wythe’s exterior, aptly named “#74WytheFamiliarFaces”. Over the course of the months leading to opening day, the team noticed New Yorkers began gathering in significant numbers virtually and physically in the name of work, community, social justice, meal distribution, and volunteering. #74WytheFamiliarFaces features a mosaic of bright, solid color, duo-toned screenshots and photographs spotlighting medical professionals, essential workers, activists, hospitality employees, first responders, and artists organizing in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis and ongoing revolution. The portraits are more than aesthetics, however. Included on many of the photos are Instagram handles and relevant charities. By citing the photographers and organizations associated with the pictures, #74WytheFamiliarFaces compels onlookers to converse, contribute, and thereby engage with the movement. Some images in the collage are custom-illustrated by artist Arianna Margulis who adds a light, fun quality to the artwork. The project was created in partnership with 40 Visuals, a printing and signage company.
#74WytheFamiliarFaces features a mosaic of bright, solid color, duo-toned screenshots and photographs spotlighting medical professionals, essential workers, activists, hospitality employees, first responders, and artists organizing in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis and ongoing revolution.
Interview with Josh Kaiser, co-principal owner of 74Wythe
Q: Your recent pledge to contribute 1% of net profits from all private events to charities indefinitely is a thoughtful and actionable stance. How did that decision come about?
A: Our organization is deeply rooted in leading by example and it didn’t make sense to us to engage in bringing attention to these issues without taking action.
Q: On that same note, will representatives of the charity organizations receiving donations from 74Wythe be invited to utilize the space free of charge?
A: Yes, the management team is looking to optimize usage of the space, and we have encouraged these charities along with community organizations to make 74Wythe their local gathering spot.
Q: How does 74Wythe intend on maintaining the venue’s accessibility upon opening? The space is wheelchair accessible and there are four entrances to discourage crowding, but what about pricing? The area is expertly built, with modern architectural design. Will pricing be dependent on the number of guests, nature, and schedule of specific events?
A: Due to the size, scope, and unique offerings available to our clients at 74Wythe, the variables on service offerings will be stratified widely. We have a number of different rooms at all different price points and while the venture is for profit, we intend to use our size and influence to assist organizations in facilitating product sponsorship and discounted partnerships with our many vendors.
Q: What did the decision-making look like for the building’s blueprint? How did the construction of the main room, rooftop, cocktail lounge, and dining loft/courtyard come about?
A: Like everyone, but particularly with a new team, we faced the hurdle of supporting each other in deploying this installation while working remotely until the day of the installation. In order to keep levity we held once a week virtual cocktail hours where no business was discussed, and detailed weekly overview calls to go through all working parts. The broad stroke division of spaces was established when we took possession. We sought to enhance and optimize each space to the max, with the biggest impact being a full redevelopment of the rooftop space which added ~30% more space.
Q: Could you speak a little more about the challenges the team faced in making #74WytheFamiliarFaces and the hospitality venue as a whole given the ongoing threat of COVID-19?
A: 2020 has redefined the meaning of the word “challenge.” In one of the most challenging periods the city has ever faced, New Yorkers gathered their skills, resources, and energy to move forward when so much of life was at a standstill. Creating this tribute was a privilege.
The 74Wythe team was really thoughtful and collaborative—Chloe Labiner and Tiana Conyers led a major outreach effort to source portraits of New Yorkers making a difference, and all the images were edited, illustrated, and shared digitally. Our printing partner 40Visuals went above and beyond to create a beautiful finished product that could be installed quickly and safely. Beyond the installation, 74Wythe made an important ongoing pledge, and led with their own donation to New York’s COVID-19 Relief Fund.
Q: The art installation for 74Wythe is anticipated to remain until the end of the summer, at which point there’ll be an assessment on whether to remove it. Would #74WytheFamiliarFaces be replaced with a different piece of art calling for action, or are there no plans yet to maintain the interactive component of the venue’s exterior?
A: No concrete plans. But, if an artist or initiative with a bold idea would like to have a conversation, reach out—I’m always happy to chat through ideas and see if there’s a proposal to be made.
Q: Are there any concerns from the team over how COVID-19 will impact business? Although the venue itself is intentionally designed to accommodate and prevent crowding, are there standards set in place for clients to limit spread and contamination?
A: Our organization wants to consider each opportunity in its own time, and we are hopeful that by the onset of Autumn, the sentiments of isolation and working remotely along with the front line first response to COVID-19 may begin to fade away, and be replaced by a more optimistic outlook. We are closely following best business practices in our segment and hold the safety and comfort of mind of our clients among our highest priority.
Q: From a spice blending factory to a popular nightclub, 74Wythe is now a hospitality venue catering to the timelessness of late-night Brooklyn hangouts. Are there any specific hopes the 74Wythe team has for the industrial warehouse in its newest chapter?
A: It’s our ambition to create a space that is inviting and approachable while equally maintaining the highest standards of aesthetic design, product offerings and service. As such, we imagine this new incarnation will attract more people from more walks of life, and more surrounding areas than ever before.
#74WytheFamiliarFaces illustrates the influence of community even in the wake of isolation; despite looming fears and somber thoughts New Yorkers gathered in the name of love, hope, and change. Several of the collection’s photos illustrate Black Lives Matter protesters in streets and on bridges with signs, bullhorns, and in full protective gear marching for justice. In another picture, doctors at Mount Sinai Queens form a square with signs that have the following phrases: “Stay Positive”, “Stay Healthy”, and “Stay Home”. In the center is a doctor with an illustration of a smiling house. Colorful screenshots of virtual birthday celebrations, corporate meetings, and weddings are also featured. All of the images in the #74wythefamiliarfaces collage have pink, purple, blue, red, yellow, and orange tones. On this minor yet specific detail, 74Wythe principal co-founder Josh Kaiser notes that “creating this during a global pandemic and summer without travel, I wanted the visuals to evoke a sense of warmth and calmness. The colorway of every unique image is based on a different, specific photograph of a coastline golden hour. Intended as a bit of a visual escape, the impact is serene and cohesive.” It certainly is. As an artwork, #74WyheFamiliarFaces establishes the vision of the building’s new chapter as a gathering place for friends and, simultaneously, a space where high-level organizations can collaborate on sustainable change for the future.
As an artwork, #74WyheFamiliarFaces establishes the vision of the building’s new chapter as a gathering place for friends and, simultaneously, a space where high-level organizations can collaborate on sustainable change for the future.
Whitney Graham is a recovering Floridian and New York adoptee, who graduated from NYU with a BA in English and American Literature. She first moved to New York City in 2014 so she could study poetry in the same location many of her favorite writers started. Her favorite elements of NYC are its cultural diversity and creative heartbeat. She does, however, dream of a day when gentrification will cease, transportation will become more efficient and clean, and recycling and composting are normalized. Whitney is twice published thus far and is an intern for Bowery Poetry Club. In addition to being a poet, Whitney is also an essayist who aspires to become a public school teacher and creative writing professor. She spends most of her time teaching English Language Arts to NYC students, cooking vegan food, practicing yoga, exploring neighborhoods, reading, and drawing.