The Mirage, summer 2015. Photo by Amanda McHugh
At the outermost edges of industrial Bushwick, amid hot garbage and heavily used warehouses, The Brooklyn Mirage appears as the oasis it's meant to be. After passing through one of the giant entrance ways, lush greenery and high, clean walls provide welcome refuge from the dirty heat outside.New York's latest outdoor event space is still in under construction; sawdust flies, jack hammers bang, and sparks fall from ceilings. But it's easy to see past the finishing touches being given to the Mirage ahead of its grand opening this Saturday (May 21) to imagine what will be standing there in less than a week's time. It's already a giant jungle gym for adults; an experiential fort with dozens of suspended hallways, staircases, and viewing decks. Just before my tour guide appeared, I picked a young coconut from one of the many palm trees, and a helpful employee cut it open. As we walked around the dusty, raw beginnings of the new Cityfox Experience, I got to drink my very first fresh coconut water.
International party planners and promoters Cityfox do not take their job lightly. Known for seeking out derelict warehouses to repurpose as venues, and filling them with elite European tech-house, the crew behind The Brooklyn Mirage have in recent years turned their hands towards summer-specific party ventures. Last year Cityfox debuted its first foray into the pop-up outdoor club space in New York, opening the original incarnation of The Brooklyn Mirage a few blocks away from where this year's venue will live. While outdoor summer parties abound in New York, Cityfox aims to bring their own idea of a world class, international-level festival to the heart of Brooklyn.
The new iteration of the Mirage will feature 180 bathrooms with individual stalls; 28 entry stations, (the Mirage's creators said that wait times shouldn't exceed 20 minutes); and new security, specifically chosen to keep things pleasant and efficient. There'll also be five food stands, including a vegan option, and plentiful drinks from any of the 11 bars scattered throughout the massive complex. A general store will even offer essentials, including sunscreen and insect repellant. And if it rains? Don't worry, The Great Hall, the Mirage's indoor stage, is bigger than the outdoor space and is equipped with same sound soundsystem.Simar Singh, Director of Marketing for Cityfox, told THUMP all of these new features are the result of Cityfox listening to the extensive feedback from their community, with the goal of offering everything you could think to want and more, so you'll never have to leave. "Every last element is going to be perfect," Singh said. His dedication to creating the ultimate experience was vividly apparent as we walked around the site. Sam Tapper, Director of Operations also accompanied us. "The last Mirage was designed and constructed in seven weeks," he said. "We've been working on this one for several months already."
There will be three main stages once the space is totally finished, including the main outdoor dance floor, and the indoor King's and Grand Halls–not to mention the innumerable nooks, crannies, secret spaces, and gardens. The vibe was a happy marriage between giant festival experience, and intimate nightspot for partying with close friends.
The walls are covered in 15,000 plants and high density foam panels to absorb echos and clean the air. There's a hydroponic water system hidden in the corners to keep all that foliage healthy. (In case you were wondering, the plants from the last project were all donated to the likes of the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, House Of Yes, and local Bushwick community members.) The overall look, one inspired by an amalgamation of ancient cultures, pretty closely resembles the original Mirage, just bigger, better, and stronger. It was designed by Cityfox Sheriff and Guru (AKA creative director) Billy Bildstein, alongside designer Marc Dizon.Once again they're using a variety of sound systems, including the new KV2 Audio VHD series, which is made from a single, high powered speaker as its point source. By avoiding the traditional vertical stacked arrays—where dozens of speakers all hit you with sound at subtly different times, distorting what you ultimately hear—you're meant to get a more direct, cleaner sound. Last year they used the VHD 2.0 system, but this time around, they'll be premiering the 5.0 version for the first time in the US, matched, of course, by barracks of subwoofers at ground level.
As for visuals, the team will see the return of Zurich's Projektil, who will map out the space with visual graphics via 15 massive HD projectors.The first 15-hour party begins this Saturday, May 21, featuring a house lover's dream line up including Adriatique, a Atish, Bilaliwood, Frank & Tony, Henrik Schwarz, and Matthias Meyer. The events will continue on deep into September with a dozen Cityfox parties slated, as well as independent parties utilizing the space. Although the outdoor portion will then be shuttered until the sun comes back next year, the indoor space will remain open for a couple years for winter parties as well.The Mirage, however, isn't just a party spot for sun-worshipping ravers. It's also a multi-purpose event space; its organizers said they have plans to host charity galas, corporate events, movie nights, weddings, fashion shows, and workshops for children in the venue.If the space was this much fun as a construction zone with nothing but headphones for music and construction workers and gardeners as companions, just imagine when it actually opens.The Brooklyn Mirage opens Saturday May 21, in New York. Tickets and more information available here.