Model Water Tower Kits Join Lineup at Brooklyn Flea

By Janet Upadhye on April 15, 2014 3:01pm 

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 Boundless Brooklyn sells New York City water tank models that buyers can build themselves.
Boundless Brooklyn
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FORT GREENE — Now everyone can have their own piece of the New York City skyline.

A Brooklyn-based company recently launched a "Model Water Tower Kit" that allows DIYers to construct, decorate and display their own iconic symbol of the city.

Boundless Brooklyn released their kits last December and have popped up in more than 35 retail stores and museums during the past four months.

The kits are one of the new offerings this year at the Brooklyn Flea, including Ironwood Woodworking, which sells handcrafted furniture from Vermont and Attic Addict, which specializes in '70s shag furniture items and accessories.

There is also Evan James Interiors, which sells vintage furniture, and Mouse Trap Vintage, which sells "outdoor geek gear" like bird calls and vintage Boy Scout patches.

The small, two-person company has sold more than 1,000 kits since the beginning of the year and they also have deals to start selling in California and Japan.

"Last year we realized that no one was making model water towers, which was incredible considering what an iconic figure it is in New York," said co-founder David Shulman, 41. "So over the course of a few weeks we researched and tested and came up with these great kits and the response has been great."

Shulman — who has a background in marketing — met his business partner, industrial designer Terrence Arjo, 45, at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU nine years ago.

Both live in Brooklyn and are part of what Shulman calls "almost a subculture" of people that love water towers.

"I think that they are such a beautiful design element," he said. "And because they are so high we forget that they are there."

The two created their product in a Fort Greene home and now manufacture parts from a studio in Williamsburg. The kit has five components — the base, water tank, platform, roof and glue dots — and takes about 10 minutes to assemble following simple instructions.

The models are made out of chipboard (which comes from recycled paper) and are available in two sizes: the Mini that stands 10 inches tall and costs $20 and the Mega, which measures nearly 16 inches and sells for $30.

Once the models are assembled they can be painted and put on a desk, mantle or shelf, according to Shulman.

The design duo also plan to launch a limited edition "tag series," created by street artists who plan to put their own designs on the water towers. Plans are also in the works to create building kits for other city icons in the near future.

The model Water Tower Kit can be found at the Brooklyn Museum, Lower East Side Tenement Museum, Grumpy Bert, CityStore, Brooklyn Historical Society, Chelsea Market Baskets and the Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene.

For a full list of locations visit Boundless Brooklyn.

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