Editor’s note — Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be highlighting the fight to save Park Church Co-op from being torn down by real estate developers. Park Church Co-op has served as more than just a religious institution in our neighborhood — it was a space where the community could come together and dance, volunteer, listen to music and enjoy each other’s company. You can read a community member’s recent op-ed here, and get caught up on the long-standing fight to save the church here and here.
Locals have shared some of their favorite Park Church Co-op memories with us. First, a former Greenpoint resident reflects on the fun times had at the recurring event, No Lights, No Lycra.
No Lights No Lycra is a weekly hour-long dance jam in the dark that was started in Melbourne, Australia by my best friend Alice Glenn. I ran it in Brooklyn for eight years before moving to Los Angeles, and then when I left my friend/NLNL attendee Jerry took it over and ran it every week until the pandemic hit.
I lived in Greenpoint for 10 years. In the early years of Van Leeuwen Ice Cream we used to use the kitchen at the church to bake cookies to sell off our ice cream trucks and in our scoop shops. I got to know the pastor at the time, Griffin Thomas, and after trying NLNL while visiting my hometown of Melbourne I decided that I had to start one in Brooklyn. I asked if we could use the hall and he said yes. There were a bunch of community events happening in the hall, and the upstairs was also being used by bands to rehearse and record.
NLNL was always the highlight of my week, even when I would be rushing to finish my playlist or dragging out the heavy speakers to set up, that hour in the dark always made me feel so good. It was also amazing to see the people who showed up, and learn how they heard about it and what it meant to them. I miss it a lot.
In addition to NLNL I also have great memories of seeing live music in the church like Big Thief. Greg and I also put on a fundraiser for Common Ground (now Breaking Ground) an organization who supports the unhoused community in NYC. It was a blizzard that night but we had over 200 people come out and support. Greg and I played a set and a bunch of other musicians.
The threat of losing the church has been lingering for a long time, I’m sad it’s happening. I really would have loved to see the church carry on hosting community and music events forever.
Laura O’Neill lives in Los Angeles with her boyfriend Greg and their daughter who is almost 2. She runs Van Leeuwen Ice Cream and still comes back to NYC pretty often.
We did great things together! Thanks for your support of my vision and work.
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