Legal / Possible to rent empty commercial space in NYC for 1-2 nights?
March 17, 2013 10:05 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone know the legalities / possibilities of renting out empty storefronts / loft spaces / warehouses for only 1 or 2 nights in NYC? I want to rent the space, bring some simple food and drinks, throw a party, and sell some art. Is this legal or even possible?

Note: I'm not throwing a rave or having any sort of illegal activity occurring.
posted by NYC-BB to Law & Government (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This is no problem. I used to do it all the time in Lower Manhattan.

Find a space, make a deal.

Don't do anything fucked up like serve underaged drinkers or set a fire. I never even thought of these possibilities back in the day, everything was a handshake.

You should be fine. It depends on the landlord and how formal they want to get, but yeah, I did this a lot on just a handshake.

Mighta been different times tho', come to think of it.

Fuck it. It's NYC. Go for it!!!
posted by jbenben at 10:10 PM on March 17, 2013

Go through friends of friends if you don't know anyone directly.

This always worked out for me because I knew people with empty spaces to lend for a fee or for free if it promoted their business in that space (like art galleries that would let me come in and do a restaurant night, etc....)
posted by jbenben at 10:11 PM on March 17, 2013

The hipster term of art is pop-up [art] gallery. Ex. Vendor.
posted by dhartung at 10:32 PM on March 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

There are plenty of Airbnb clones for offices and workspaces. Here's a list of some from Quora, I poked around the first one linked and it seems like there are spaces that fit your needs and you can sort by hourly or daily rates. It looks like there are even plenty of gallery spaces like this one.
posted by gregoryg at 11:52 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Look up "Soho gallery for digital art" -- they rent out their space for all their events, I think. Don't know if it's a good deal or place, but they contacted me during my Kickstarter campaign and it seemed like an interesting concept (though not for me).
posted by edlundart at 12:26 AM on March 18, 2013

Yeah, totally doable. Find a vacant storefront/other appropriate site. There will usually be a phone number you can use to reach a responsible party posted somewhere. Call them and do the deal.
posted by valkyryn at 1:18 AM on March 18, 2013

The fly by-night things above are fine and dandy.....however, Since you asked about legality and the negative side, while this kind of thing falls under the "better to ask forgiveness than permission", some low probability stuff to consider:

i) you might want to check into event liability insurance......bummer if someone injures themselves at your event and decides to sue.

ii) .......also be prepared to deal with the whims of NY's finest. If it's well publicized or on the a street-facing-storefront, this can attract attention. If its in a more private space and less well advertised, then probably less hassle.
posted by lalochezia at 6:42 AM on March 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

There's an empty storefront on the ground floor of my building (in East Williamsburg) and the owner does rent it out for parties. Don't know about the legal issues, but it's definitely possible to throw the type of party you are trying to.
posted by coupdefoudre at 8:03 AM on March 18, 2013

Wow, these are some really great answers, and exactly what I was looking for.

Thanks everyone!
posted by NYC-BB at 12:34 PM on March 18, 2013

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