Where I Work

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Features, Tribeca, Where I Work

Owner Jeff Friedman works on a neon snowflake for a holiday display that went up in Uniqlo’s Fifth Avenue flagship store

6sqft’s series “Where I Work” takes us into the studios, offices, and off-beat workspaces of New Yorkers across the city. In this installment, we’re touring the Tribeca showroom and studio of Let There Be Neon, an international supplier and creator of custom neon for signage and artistic applications. 

Back in the early ’70s, neon had gone out of fashion, with cheaper fluorescent-lit and plastic signs taking over after World War II. But multimedia artist Rudi Stern was determined to revive the art and make it more accessible. He opened a showroom studio, Let There Be Neon, in 1972 on West Broadway and Prince Street in Soho, and soon attracted a client roster of artists including Keith Haring, Robert Rauschenberg, and John Lennon and Yoko Ono. He even outfitted Studio 54! By 1990, he’d moved to a charming brick storefront at 38 White Street in Tribeca and sold the business to his long-time friend and employee Jeff Friedman.

Rudi Stern sadly passed away in 2006, but he would be happy to see the legacy that Friedman has maintained and how wildly successful the business is today. Not only does their client list still include a long list of contemporary artists, but they’re the go-to sign restorers and recreators for classic NYC mom-and-pop businesses such as Russ & Daughters and Trash & Vaudeville, and Old Town Bar, and do projects with national companies like WeWork, Soul Cycle, and Uniqlo. 6sqft recently paid Let There Be Neon a visit to see their incredible fabrication work and chat more with Jeff Friedman about the art of neon.

Tour the studio and see how it’s done

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Architecture, Art, Features, Interviews, Sunset Park, Where I Work

6sqft’s new series “Where I Work” takes us into the studios, offices, and off-beat workspaces of New Yorkers across the city. In this installment, we’re touring the Industry City space of Evergreene Architectural Arts, one of the nation’s foremost restoration and conservation firms. 

On Monday evening, the Historic Districts Council will present their 29th annual Landmarks Lion Award to Jeff Greene of EverGreene Architectural Arts, one of the nation’s foremost experts in specialty contracting for both traditional and new, innovative techniques for restoring and conserving murals, ornamental plaster, and decorative finishes. “Jeff has been pivotal in restoring some of New York City’s most beloved landmarks to their proper glory,” said HDC’s executive director Simeon Bankoff. And indeed, this is true; their commissions include the recent restoration of the New York Public Library’s Rose Reading Room, Brooklyn’s Loew’s Kings Theater, the Eldridge Street Synagogue, and the McKim, Mead and White-designed University Club, where the event will be held, and this only scratches the surface of their hundreds of projects throughout the country.

In anticipation of Jeff’s recognition, 6sqft was given a behind-the-scenes tour of EverGreene’s new office and studios in Industry City, where the firm’s master artisans were hard at work painting murals, casting plaster moldings, and researching the history of several upcoming projects. We also spoke with Jeff himself about what inspired him to get into the field (“I ate the crayons before marking the walls,” he says), how preservation has changed since he started the firm in 1978, and what some of his favorite projects have been.

Hear from Jeff and take a tour of EverGreene’s incredible space

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Bushwick, Features, Video, Where I Work

6sqft’s new series “Where I Work” takes us into the studios, offices, and off-beat workspaces of New Yorkers across the city. In this first installment, we’re hitting up MÔTÔ Spirits, a whiskey-distillery-cum-motorcycle-shop located in the heart of Bushwick. 

Marrying whiskey and motorcycles seems like a lethal combination, but at MÔTÔ Spirits the pairing is a match made in heaven. Founded by Hagai Yardeny, Marie Estrada, and Tim Harney, MÔTÔ isn’t your average whiskey producer: On top of being the first and only distillery in the U.S. to produce rice-based whiskey and jabuka (an apple-based Croatian liquor), their deliciously potent potions are both inspired by motorcycles and concocted in the back of a motorcycle shop! In our exclusive video, Yardeny, Estrada, and Harney take us on a tour of their space and share how, and why, MÔTÔ Spirits has interlaced two unlikely businesses into one extraordinary endeavor.

take the tour here

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Bed Stuy, Features, Green Design, Interviews, People, Where I Work

6sqft’s series “Where I Work” takes us into the studios, offices, and off-beat workspaces of New Yorkers across the city. In this installment, we take a tour of the Bed-Stuy urban farm Square Roots. Want to see your business featured here? Get in touch!

In a Bed-Stuy parking lot, across from the Marcy Houses (you’ll know this as Jay-Z’s childhood home) and behind the hulking Pfizer Building, is an urban farming accelerator that’s collectively producing the equivalent of a 20-acre farm. An assuming eye may see merely a collection of 10 shipping containers, but inside each of these is a hydroponic, climate-controlled farm growing GMO-free, spray-free, greens–“real food,” as Square Roots calls it. The incubator opened just this past November, a response by co-founders Kimbal Musk (Yes, Elon‘s brother) and Tobias Peggs against the industrial food system as a way to bring local food to urban settings. Each vertical farm is run by its own entrepreneur who runs his or her own sustainable business, selling directly to consumers. 6sqft recently visited Square Roots, went inside entrepreneur Paul Philpott‘s farm, and chatted with Tobias about the evolution of the company, its larger goals, and how food culture is changing.

Take a tour of Square Roots and get the full story from Tobias

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Design, Features, Gowanus, Where I Work

6sqft’s series “Where I Work” takes us into the studios, offices, and off-beat workspaces of New Yorkers across the city. In this installment, we take a tour of the Gowanus studio of Lite Brite Neon. Want to see your business featured here? Get in touch!

Among the manufacturing and arts tenants in the Old American Can Factory, a converted six-building industrial complex at the Gowanus Canal, is Lite Brite Neon, which has been described as “the darling of artists and designers.” And after touring their funky workspace/showroom, the description definitely fits. They were founded in 1999 in Brooklyn and have been creating neon art, signage, lighting, and displays ever since, in addition to preserving and restoring historic neon. 6sqft recently got an insider’s look at their colorfully gritty home and spoke to lead designer Wayne Heller about how the company functions and what makes neon unique.

Take the tour here

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Art, Features, My SQFT House Tours, People, West Village , Where I Work

Ralph Lee, Westbeth Artists Housing, Village Halloween Parade, puppet maker, mask maker

Our ongoing series “My sqft” checks out the homes of 6sqft’s friends, family and fellow New Yorkers across all the boroughs. Our latest interior adventure brings us to Westbeth Artists Housing in the West Village. Want your home to be featured here? Get in touch!

When the old Bell Telephone Laboratories building was transformed to the Westbeth affordable artists’ housing in 1970, one of the original creatives to move in was Ralph Lee, a theater jack-of-all trades who is best known for his larger-than-life puppets and masks. His whimsical creations served as the props for the very first Village Halloween Parade, an event that has since grown into an annual, nationally-known event. Today, his characters from the early days of the parade adorn his eclectic live/work studio in Westbeth, where he still lives and continues to make puppets and masks for his company the Mettawee River Theatre. Ralph recently invited 6sqft into his space, where we got up close and personal with the puppets and were able to see how the magic happens.

Learn about Ralph’s storied career and get a special look at his home and studio

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Architecture, Features, Interviews, navy yard, Technology, Where I Work

david belt, dbi projects, macro-sea, new lab, nea lab brooklyn navy yard

The Brooklyn Navy Yard has since its inception acted as a pole for the cutting edge and creative, from its time as the “The Can-Do Shipyard” where U.S. warships assembled, to present day as urban farmersphotographers and filmmakers carve out spaces for themselves on the campus’ more than 300 acres. But the latest most notable addition to the Navy Yard is most certainly New Lab. New Lab is the creation of Macro Sea (who many will remember brought dumpster pools to NYC a few years ago) and is a revolutionary hub that turns an 84,000-square-foot former shipping building into a thinkspace for nearly 300 engineers and entrepreneurs working in advanced hardware and robotics. Here, members whose work include everything from designing nano microscopes to using synthetic biology to engineer cities can take their ideas from concept to prototype to production under one roof. It’s what the founders are calling “a breakthrough ecosystem of shared resources.”

In this 6sqft feature, we speak to New Lab’s co-founder and Macro Sea Executive Director and founder David Belt. David is also the founder and Managing Partner of DBI, which is currently managing the realization of the Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center, amongst other high-profile projects around the city. Ahead, he takes us through the new facility and gives us some intel on what inspired the design, the cutting edge companies that have taken up space, and what he ultimately hopes to achieve with New Lab.

Learn more about New Lab with David here

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Design, Features, Interiors, Where I Work

Thompson Square Studios, Thompson House Group, Visualhouse, Robert Herrick

6sqft’s series “Where I Work” takes us into the studios, offices, and off-beat workspaces of New Yorkers across the city. In this installment, we take a tour Thompson Square Studios, a private members club-style co-working space in Soho. Want to see your business featured here? Get in touch!

After starting his career as an architect in London, Robert Herrick went on to found Visualhouse, a “creative ideas” agency focusing on the architecture and design fields, in 2006. With offices now in London, New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Hong Kong, Visualhouse has produced work from branding campaigns to digital renderings for the likes of Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster, and Rafael Vinoly. In 2013, Robert took his expertise and created the Thompson House Group with the goal of delivering private member experiences in workspaces, hotels, and restaurants.

The Group’s first project was Thompson Square Studios, a “private member club for work and play.” Unlike traditional co-working spaces, the Studio has a membership board that selects tenants from the creative industries based on what they can bring to the collective whole. 6sqft recently caught up with CEO and founder Robert, who took us on a tour of the impeccably designed space filled with copper accents, industrial decor, and sleek yet moody furniture. We also got a look at how Visualhouse operates within the club.

Tour the space and hear from Robert

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Design, Features, Interiors, Where I Work

Flavor Paper, Brooklyn wallpaper company, Jon Sherman, nyc studio tour

6sqft’s series “Where I Work” takes us into the studios, offices, and off-beat workspaces of New Yorkers across the city. In this installment, we take a tour of the Cobble Hill studio of colorful wallpaper company Flavor Paper. Want to see your business featured here? Get in touch!

Nestled among the charming streets and quaint rowhouses of Cobble Hill is the headquarters of a wallpaper company that’s taken the art to a completely new level. Flavor Paper was founded in 2003 in New Orleans before moving to Brooklyn nine years ago. What started out as an attempt to salvage old equipment from a hand-screened wallpaper company on the Oregon coast has morphed into an internationally recognized brand–known for its bright colors, bold patterns, and plain-old fun aesthetic–with over 156 designs and collaborations with the likes of Lenny Kravitz and the Andy Warhol Foundation.

6sqft recently toured what the company calls their “Flavor Lair” (it houses their production facilities, offices and showroom) and chatted with founder Jon Sherman about what sets Flavor Paper apart from other wallpaper manufacturers, why he calls Brooklyn home, and the backstory on some of the most popular designs. We also got a sneak peak into Jon’s personal home, a sexy abode located above the Skylab Architecture-designed Lair.

Take the tour this way

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Features, Interviews, People, Sunset Park, Where I Work

Industry City is a six million-square-foot, 30-acre industrial complex on the Sunset Park waterfront. Its 16 buildings made up the former Bush Terminal, a manufacturing, warehousing and distribution center that opened in 1895. After falling into disrepair over the past few decades, in 2013, a new ownership team led by Belvedere Capital and Jamestown began their $1 billion undertaking to update the complex while cultivating a diverse tenant mix that fuses today’s burgeoning innovation economy with traditional manufacturing and artisanal craft.

Today, there are more than 4,500 people and 400 companies working in Industry City, and 6sqft recently paid a visit to four of them (a handbag designer, lighting designer, candle company, and chocolatier) to learn why the complex makes sense for their business and what unique opportunities it’s afforded them. We also spoke with Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball about the unprecedented success of the complex and his visions for the future, as well as took a tour of the buildings and their wildly popular public amenity spaces such as the food hall, outdoor courtyards, and tenant lounge.

All this and more ahead

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