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Fans of Shuttered 'Shea Stadium' Donate $50K in 1 Day to Help Venue Reopen

By Gwynne Hogan | March 22, 2017 2:58pm
 The venue says it needs $50,000 to bring it up to code and reopen as a legally permitted venue.
The venue says it needs $50,000 to bring it up to code and reopen as a legally permitted venue.
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Photo by Seth Applebaum/Courtesy of Shea Stadium

EAST WILLIAMSBURG — The alternative performance venue Shea Stadium — which was recently shut down after authorities realized they'd been operating without any permits since 2009 — raised more than $50,000 in less than six hours Wednesday in an effort to bring the space up to code.

"It's f--king nuts. It's unbelievable," said owner Adam Reich, 31, "No one in a million years expected [this]. "I was hoping that maybe over a month we could do it. I can't believe it."

Shea Stadium shut their doors at 20 Meadow St. in mid-March after city officials hit them with five consecutive summonses for operating without a public assembly permit, liquor license or other required permission to operate.

Reich, who opened Shea Stadium seven years ago with the help of his two friends Luke Chiaruttini and Nora Dabdoub, admitted that he never got around to applying for the permits, saying "We never really knew how long we'd be doing this for."

The FDNY didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on why the venue was able to operate for so long without permits. Department of Buildings spokesman Andrew Rudansky said they hadn't inspected 20 Meadow St. since 2007 and there were no recent complaints or violations on file.

Reich said that when the venue opened its doors in 2009, it was used as a recording studio but organizers began hosting shows to defray rent costs.

The Kickstarter page which went live at 7:21 a.m. had surpassed its goal of $50,000 by 1:30 p.m. and continued to rake in donations, reaching $53,000 forty minutes later. 

They'd hoped to raise $50,000 by April 21, and estimated they'll need at least half of the cash to upgrade the space to bring it up to code, Reich said.

The money will go towards renovations so they can pass Department of Buildings, Fire Department and Health Department inspections. They will also have to pay architects, for fire safety training, for health, liquor and public assembly permits and other legal fees, the owner said.

With a successfully funded Kickstarter, Shea Stadium should be able to reopen later this year, Reich said.

Since 2011, there have been three noise complaints against the venue, according to archived 311 complaints.

Beyond live shows, Shea Stadium also maintains on online archive of recorded live performances that has around 10,000 songs from 1,000 different bands.

Reich said he thought the overwhelming show of support indicated the role Shea Stadium has played in North Brooklyn's underground music scene over the years.

"Shea is definitely one of the last DIY venues of its generation," Reich said, who grew up in Bay Ridge. "People would stand to lose a connection to a lot of the things in art and music that drew people to Brooklyn in the first place."