First rule of Lunch Beat: You don’t talk about Lunch Beat.
Just kidding. The first rule of Lunch Beat is if it’s your first time attending, you have to dance.
On Wednesday, amid the drab lumber companies and vacant lots of Jackson Avenue, a thumping bass spilled out of a nondescript performance space/studio turned impromptu workday disco. The music announced the launch of Lunch Beat, an idea originally conjured up in Sweden and brought to Queens by organizer Sarah Reynolds, who lives in the borough.
Last week, there were Lunch Beat parties in 18 different cities across Europe. Today marked the first event in New York City.
Reynolds stood outside Uncanny Valley—the performance space for the noontime party—wearing neon pink tights, a shimmery silver skirt and a cropped yellow ‘I <3 Queens’ t-shirt. Her club attire, complete with glow stick glasses, stuck out next to the business apparel of attendees waiting in line.
Why start a Lunch Beat? “I feel like we spend half of our lives either at work or commuting. We spend a lot of our time making a living and not really living,” Reynolds said. “This is for everybody. Everybody likes to dance.”
Once Lunch Beat patrons pay the $12 fee, they’re handed a glow stick and enter through a dark sheet used as a curtain. Inside, DJ Shakey spins a mix of everything from Michael Jackson to Pit Bull. Outside, patrons eat at The Cinnamon Snail, a vegan food truck that puts the ‘lunch’ in Lunch Beat.
Craig Flanagin, director of the Uncanny Valley felt excited by the concept from the get-go. “Once Sarah said the idea to me, I interrupted her to say ‘yes,’ she didn’t even make it through her pitch I just thought it was such a cool idea,” Flanagin said.
Though the area may not seem like the go-to spot for a pop-up dance party, dozens of people were waiting outside just twenty minutes into the inaugural event. The neighborhood is “never going to be Chelsea where it’s all art galleries,” Flanagin said. “But there’s no reason it has to be like Wall Street either. This is the kind of thing that can happen here and be really exciting.”
The Lunch Beat will occur monthly from noon to 1 p.m. at Uncanny Valley in Long Island City.
Photos by Aviva Woolf/Queens Beat