The Market Hotel Project: Todd P Outlines Plans to Make Market Legit

Following a mysterious cop raid two weeks ago and the announcement — earth-shattering for some — that Market Hotel would be closing its doors until further notice, some 60 Brooklynites gathered in the venue’s signature triangle-shaped ballroom this evening to discuss the future of the borough’s flagship DIY concert space. For those of you who have never been to Market Hotel, it was the kind of place where you would pack in along with 500 other people to see a band that in any other town might be lucky to draw 75. For those of you who do remember sweating straight through your clothes and chatting outside the bathroom with a tall boy of Coors’ banquet and an arm around a friend, you probably learned a few cool new things about Market if you attended.

The history of Market Hotel, for example, does not begin with the music venue Todd P founded with the So So Glos in February of 2008. In fact, the building was constructed in the mid-1870s, when it housed the offices of a local bank (remember all those boarded-up windows along the sides? Those were designed to keep the whole place flooded with light, pre-electricity style). Among other historical nuggets, it is also rumored that the ballroom was used as one of the location’s in the classic ’80s film Ghost (specifically, as the fleabag abode of the “bad” ghost in said film), though I think I am going to have to go back and watch it again before I can vouch for that 100%.

But perhaps the most surprising thing you would have learned is that from here on in, Market Hotel will be known in music and bloggerly circles as The Market Hotel Project. Over the course of the two-hour meeting — the purpose of which, I gleaned, was primarily to recruit volunteers — Brooklyn concert mogul Todd P announced plans to convert the semi-legal all-ages club into a full-blown non-profit venue and community center. From the way he described it, this new incarnation of Market Hotel — revamped and police proof — will be kind of like Market Hotel on steroids; in addition to 7 nights of musical programming a week, “curated’ by local promoters from all over the musical spectrum, it will be home to art exhibitions, Yoga classes (aka Body Actualized Control), community groups (including those that do not involve hipsters), artists’ workshops, and just about any endeavor with a big heart and a small budget.

Todd P was vague as to how long it would take for this shining utopian vision to pan out, though he implied that it could take anywhere from 4 months to a few years. In the interim, Todd P explained, Market has to endure three rites of passage in order to spread its wings and fly as a grownup Market: 1) legalization and declaration of 501(c) non-profit status, 2) architectural renovation (including the installation of a new sound system, a new stage, new electricity fixtures, new bathrooms, and even handicap access), and 3) fundraising. Todd P estimated the project’s costs at a whopping $100,000 — though even this, he explained, was lower than it might be if the organization wasn’t able to rely partly on the resourcefulness and generosity of the DIY community.

True to his signature adhocist ethic (or what I like to think of his own DIY version of the American Dream), Todd P encouraged those present to think of the Market Hotel Project as a communal endeavor, and to understand that we can probably make a lot of this happen just by culling from the skills and resources that grassroots Brooklyn already has at its disposal. Volunteers with experience in video and web design, for example, could help design a killer Kickstarter Page; aspiring grant writers could help research possible funding opportunities; promoters, organize benefit shows. Not to mention the non-profit’s undisclosed executive board, which will ensure the continuing patronage and artistic mentorship of some of the city’s most illustrious countercultural VIPs.

And you know what? As quixotic as it sounds, and however true to its founding vision it actually will be, somehow I believe that the Market Hotel Project is going to happen. Isn’t the fact that Market Hotel happened in the first place kind of proof enough? When the Q&A was over, as I took my favorite lonely walk home alongside the JMZ, the question that stuck out most in my mind was not whether Todd P and his cohorts were going to pull it off, but how we (and I mean anyone who cares about the future of grassroots culture in Brooklyn) are going to go about it. The Market crew already seems to be overflowing with hair-brain schemes. If you have any to offer, just write the email address below.

For a list of specific areas in which help is needed, visit ToddPNYC.

Words: Emilie Friedlander
Photo: Annie Escobar

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7 Responses to “The Market Hotel Project: Todd P Outlines Plans to Make Market Legit”

  1. MFB says:

    Interesting. Glad to hear a summary of what was discussed here. I’m all for “going legit,” but the Hotel will certainly lose a heap of charm. Cue a bunch of hipsters talking about what it was like “back in the day.” (including me, probs).

  2. Actually, dude reassured us several times that while the space would clearly be renovated, it would not be designed to have a sterile gallery feel. Obviously, the disgusting bathrooms will be renovated and no smoking of any kind will be allowed, but they will still be serving booze, if that’s what you mean by “charm” haha.

  3. MFB says:

    Booze does not equal charm, but there was something very freewheeling and genuinely gritty about the place. Not that I want to idealize things that are dangerous/unhygienic/sketchy, but I did like that about it. I think that Market Hotel Mk. I was a victim of its own success and popularity, for better or worse. The last few shows I went to there were just unbelievably crowded.

  4. Emilie Friedlander says:

    Just kidding about the booze thing… All I meant to say is that the moderator of the meeting heavily stressed the fact that Market was still going to feel and function like the rock venue it once was… with the necessary improvements. ps. why would you be a victim??

  5. MFB says:

    TYPO ALERT. I meant to say “it” was a victim, as in Market Hotel…

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