Opening Night at the Tin Shed on Broadway
- By Jeff DiNunzio
[The crowd gathers at opening night of the Tin Shed on Broadway. All photos: Anthony Garcia]
The crowd arrived Friday to join us in welcoming Jon Swift. He had been touring steadily, and this was his last performance before a much needed break. He had flown east to help celebrate the opening of Patagonia’s Tin Shed on Broadway—one of two interim stores we opened in New York for the holiday season. Two-hundred people had come, some by accident, to join Swift in the party. The experiment was underway.
The Broadway Tin Shed sits smack between West 99th and 100th Streets, with Columbia University to the north, another Patagonia store 20 blocks south, Central Park to the east, the Hudson at its west, and a logjam of baby strollers right out front. “Tin Shed” is a reference to the days Yvon Chouinard first built rock climbing tools in his blacksmith shop in Ventura, CA. To see the structure in person is to recognize the connection immediately – a small corrugated shack, it looks like something a couple of the guys might throw together in an afternoon to keep the drizzle out of their beer while they tinkered around with their toys. A carcass of retail space on the Upper West Side was reincarnated in about a month. The Broadway store opened two weeks ago, followed by the Upper East Side this past Sunday.
[Taking in the films at the Tin Shed grand opening on Broadway.]
Since joining Patagonia in 2009, I’ve met a lot of customers with a strong familiarity with the brand. This turn into new neighborhoods will measure the depth of Patagonia’s recognition in New York. “I had no idea of the dynamic among the neighborhoods here,” Joe Tayag told me Friday night as the murmurs of the audience faded and Jon Swift’s notes filled the 4000 square-feet (Joe led a crew of staffers from Ventura to convert the empty rented buildings into functioning stores). What better way to find out than by throwing a party?
All week, as customers came and went, we bookended their visits by hyping the party. Food. Booze. Music. Free stuff! And an extra carrot: a preview of Solitaire and a Q&A with its director Nick Waggoner. The 52-minute backcountry ski and snowboard film views out-of-bounds riding through a unique lens. Filmed over two years, and hand-built from shots earned without the aid of motors (including aerial images shot from a paragliding harness), the crew canvassed South America from Peru’s Cordillera Blanca to Chilean Patagonia to capture the sense of discovery and commitment that can only be obtained through a truly committed style of riding.
It was a big homecoming for Nick, who was in his native city to screen Solitaire for the New York Snow Film Festival. He showed two clips Friday, explaining beforehand that they were—and his three business partners agreed—“some version of our dream.” Director and viewers: stoked. Nick and I talked in the back while eyes were glued to the projector. He said that he wanted the film to capture the unpredictability of the terrain and “the unknown adventure that begins when you remove the guarantees.” The clips earned no shortage of applause, and the audience, young and old, tossed questions to Nick for twenty minutes.
Success has blessed both New York stores. Toward that end, the Tin Sheds, are making their own strides by hosting in-store events each week: adventure movie nights on Broadway every other Monday as of November 28; and local enviro groups will post up at the Upper East Side every Friday starting November 25. As for the first opening party, so far, so good.
You can find Jeff at our Tin Shed store on Broadway and you can check the tour schedule for the next showing of Solitaire near you. Find it on the Sweetgrass Productions website. If you're kicking around the Upper East Side tonight, swing by our Tin Shed store there (1491 Third at E. 84th) for live music by the Wood Brothers, along with refreshments and giveaways.
[Above left - Jon Swift provides the dulcet tones for Tin Shed opening night on Broadway. Above right - Solitaire director, Nick Waggoner, introduces his film to the crowd.]