Note: After hosting events there and at Williamsburg Waterfront in 2010, Jelly NYC did not do it there again in the following year.
Rock Yard is a vacant lot on 354 Wythe Avenue in Brooklyn, between S 2nd and S 3rd Streets, just around the corner from Death by Audio and Glasslands. In the summer of 2010, Jelly NYC (the people behind the Pool Parties at Williamsburg Waterfront, and before that, at McCarren Park Pool) started holding free shows there on alternate Saturday afternoons.
A vacant lot between two buildings, Rock Yard is still enclosed by the back of another building on the far side from the street, and a corrugated iron sheet-fence blocking most of it from the street, with the entrance at the north side of the space. The stage, such as it is, is located in the northwest corner of the space, a wooden patio & roof pointing diagonal into the space. The rest of Rock Yard includes vendor stalls, a slip ‘n’ slide in the southeast corner, and a temporary roofed space in the middle of the southern portion of the space, with chairs and electric fans hooked up to ice cooler, blowing cold mist towards the chairs. The stalls include those selling beer, a mixed Mojito-like drink, and hot dogs & cornbread, as well as one giving away free Jell-O shots.
Jelly NYC imported a lot from the old McCarren Park Pool Parties with Rock Yard – not just the slip ‘n’ slide but also their rather DIY, sun-baked nature, as opposed to the far more professionalized Williamsburg Waterfront. The acts are decidedly on the low end, which makes it hard to get people who don’t live right nearby to the space, but it also keeps it from being too crowded, a major bonus. Most importantly, the rather drunken, run-down Williamsburg summertime feel of the Pool Parties is retained. The sound quality and stage floor is so-so, but the drink prices are low (four dollars for Sixpoint or Lagunitas beer) – low enough that only the cheapest of hipster cheapskates would only get drunk on the free Jell-O shots (there’s even a vegan option for the shots, a mango flavor that is actually better than your standard cherry). And the place is so small that there’s no ‘VIP’ area or other accoutrements, save for the hot dog grillers also cooking sausages that are only for staff – a rather frustrating tease for ‘regular’ consumers, and annoying constant inquiry/request made to the vendors. If you took everything that was ‘big’ out of the old McCarren Park Pool Parties, from the bands to the corporate sponsorship, you’d have Rock Yard – so get there before it gets big or the city reclaims it!
all ages, free
354 Wythe Avenue (Between S 2nd and S 3rd Streets)