You might have seen them on TikTok, Twitter, or just from walking past on Manhattan Avenue — two men sans shirts looking almost identical with their jeans, baseball caps, sunglasses, and brewskis, perched above the legendary Xi’an Famous Foods. The tableau projects a certain summer insouciance, so it’s no wonder why it quickly went viral. To quote Vine, what’s better than this? Guys being dudes!
Greenpointers tracked down one of the masterminds behind #TheLedge, Daniel Rieger, to get the scoop on how this all unfolded.
What’s going on in this photo? How did you feel when you saw how viral it went?
My Australian ‘mate’ Luke and I were having a very typical sunny weather weekend hangout. Whenever the temps go above 60, there’s an almost 100% chance myself and some friends will make our way on the Ledge to sip on beers, play music on the boombox, and hang out. It just so happens the Ledge gets lots of direct sunlight in the afternoon, and with so few sunny days so far, we felt compelled to get a tan going and take our shirts off. We’ve done this dozens of times already (even bundling up to be out during the winter months) and passers by frequently take photos of us hanging out, so it wasn’t too surprising when I woke up the following morning from texts from friends saying they saw me on TikTok and other social media. Not only that, my buddy Luke is a math teacher and even had old students reach out to him saying they thought they saw him on social media as well!
I was pretty stoked it got the reach it did to be honest! I had created The Ledge instagram account back in October to document all the fun times and parties, with the small following it had almost exclusively being friends. Sure, we had a few shoutouts by NYC personalities over the months (NewYorkNico had us on a story during the NYC marathon), but the TikTok video and subsequent screen shot took us way further than expected. The TikTok has close to a quarter million views, Twitter screen shot has made the rounds, and Barstool Sport’s Old Row account posted us garnering 38.5K likes.
People who see us up on the Ledge typically smile and wave, and it was nice to see that warm-hearted sentiment shared by (most) of the commentators on social media. While it feels oddly ‘performative’ to just sit up on The Ledge (the joy of drinking and fresh air is seldom experienced within a private dwelling in NY) I’m happy it brings a smile to lots of people’s faces. While the The Ledge IG page still has a small following, we imagine that the next nice day where we end up outside, we’ll have quite a few more eyes on us than normal.
How long have you been in that particular apartment?
Less than a year, I moved in August 1st, 2022. I’ve been living in NYC nearly eight years (this is my third in Greenpoint) and have lived in seven different apartments so far. I was really hoping this would be my final move, a place to call home for the next three to five years, but will sadly have to move out on July 31. I can’t imagine living anywhere other than Greenpoint right now, so fingers crossed I’ll be able to find a spot nearby.
How many people can safely fit on the Ledge? Any big plans for a Ledge party to celebrate your newfound fame?
We’ve fit a good fifteen to twenty people at one time, but I make an effort not to let it get past that. Seeing as we don’t have a guard rail, I have some strict rules in place for my friends. No sitting on the edge, no facing with your back to the street, and you can’t go out if you look like you’ve had too many drinks. I have a rickety table, four discount store plastic chairs, and a hilariously large hand chair, but aim not to clutter up the space with anything more than that.
We’ve already had some terrific parties so far! I hosted a friend’s birthday party up on the ledge (which turned into an ABBA karaoke and twister night) and a NYC Marathon viewing party where we even brought a TV out to watch race progress before they made it in front of The Ledge. I’ve transformed the room connecting to the Ledge into a fully stocked home bar called “Thank You, Chef” with neon lighting, bar stools, and a full cocktail menu to make our own hidden gem. I frequently prepare pitchers of cocktails before our parties and an Adios Motherf****r variant I call ‘Blue’ has gained quite the following amongst my friends. With my move out date rapidly approaching, we’re looking to have a plethora of themed and non-themed parties to make the most of it.
One thing I want to use this new following to do is have fun contests and events out on The Ledge. A recent addition has been two giant white boards we’ve used to both promote the account, and create polls and tally votes for my fellow Greenpointers to participate in when they walk by. One idea in the works is to have people donate $5 to the Prostate Cancer Foundation to give them a vote on what my next haircut will be. I promise to have a friend cut my hair in public up on The Ledge with whatever style wins. Other ideas include a hot dog eating contest and dance contest.
What’s your go-to order from Xi’an?
The spicy cumin lamb noodles and the cucumber salad. I also loooove the spicy cumin lamb burgers if I need something quick on the go. Living above such an amazing restaurant has made life incredibly easy, but I have to limit myself otherwise I’ll never walk around my neighborhood.
Anything else you’d like to add?
We’ve had some awesome interactions and seen some wild things up on The Ledge! There was a literal dumpster fire out in front, we’ve had people throw a bag of donuts up to us, we’ve seen famous designers and personalities, and randos have asked to come up. All in all, I’m extremely sad to have to leave, but happy others could live vicariously through us.