An 80,000 square foot entertainment paradise featuring three unique components has materialized just off the Morgan stop in East Williamsburg. Called Avant Gardner, it takes up a full city block, with a 6,000-person capacity, and it's filled with thousands of plants and palm trees. Part of the gigantic space officially opened over the July 4th weekend: a 40,000 square foot tropical (and summer-only) oasis within the compound called Brooklyn Mirage; later this year, the gates to the Great Hall and the Kings Hall will open, which will be well-suited for concerts.
As for Brooklyn Mirage, the space features "a two-story catwalk that encircles the courtyard, five full-service bars, a four-story observation tower will offer 360-degree views of the Manhattan skyline, and thousands of native plants, over two dozen palm trees and a lush garden lounge." Once summer is over, they will donate a majority of the flora to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
Brooklyn Mirage rendering
While the opening weekend featured some sort of rave event, the adult playground—on top of being "an oasis in the middle of industrial Brooklyn"—promises to host everything from music, to fashion shows, to film screenings, to Game of Thrones screenings, to food fairs, and "anything and everything cultural," as well as "community-minded events."
Billy Bildstein, co-founder of Avant Gardner, is trying to make good with the neighborhood after some false starts, and said they are “thankful for the support from our elected leaders, local organizations, neighbors and friends." In the past, according to DNAInfo, the venue was shut down multiple times for safety and fire-code violations. Earlier this year, Bildstein addressed Community Board 1, "urging members to support his application for a liquor license." He also apologized to the community for "many things we could have done better... I know we didn't make a very good impression last year, and we’re here to show you the improvements."
We dropped by opening weekend for a look at the ambitious venture, and our photographer Sai Mokhtari noted, "it felt very un-New York."
The good news: the event was pretty well-run and there were plenty of bars, so you won't have to wait on line for drinks for too long. The bad news: there are an insufficient number of bathrooms, so you will have to wait on line forever for that (or, as many attendees did during the opening night, find a dark corner).
Avant Gardner is located at 140 Stewart Ave in Brooklyn.