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NxNYC: Programming the Counterculture

With the majority of the New York Tech and Social community journeyed south to Austin, Texas for SXSWi, the interactive portion of the South By Southwest music and film festival that occurs annually.  Unfortunately, not everyone can make it to Texas for one reason or another and so those of us left behind in New York had counter with our own networking event, aptly named NxNYC.

The origins of North by New York City started simply enough in March of 2009.  As all of our friends were preparing to leave for their jaunt to Texas, my friend Karen and I lamented the imminent departure of our friends, we wondered what to do while they were gone.  We began discussing what to on Twitter and thought about running a party up here for those left behind, and our friend Christina saw our discussion.  As a budding independent event planner, Christina jumped in and found Art Bar for the party.  The three of us planned the entire thing together by discussing it online, which was the best way, since the three of us had never met before.  We had been online friends with mutual in person friends, but soon became close friends after organizing this party together, which drew about 50 people, most of whom we had never met before and many of whom we have become good friends with.

A year later, Karen had moved to Boston (and went to SXSW this year), leaving Christina and I to hold down the fort as our friends prepared to leave for Texas once again.  With more preparation time and a precedent set the prior year, that left us to organize another event here in Manhattan.  So this past Monday, we took over the Loft at Professor Thom’s, where we doubled what we did last year.  By promoting it through the social media channels, the event brought a great mix of our existing friends and people who we had never met before who heard about our event online.  NxNYC 2010 was even marked as a popular event by Gary’s Guide in their weekly newsletter of NYC events.

We had universally positive response to our event two years in a row, and we couldn’t be happier.  We were glad that we could create an event as an alternative to the more popular event that everyone who attended enjoyed.  Even the Sundance Film Festival has the Slamdance Festival to counter program against it.  Sometimes people want an alternative to larger events and the smaller, alternative events create a counterculture that allow people to have a choice that they wouldn’t have otherwise.

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