by: Willa Rudolph
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A couple months ago, I was looking to throw a mud-wrestling show with a lineup of four bands including my own. Who was going to let us make a mess? The search was difficult. One day, someone reached out to me from a venue called The Hancock saying they’d love to help host the show. I’d never heard of it, so I went to go check it out and see if we could make something work.
When I arrived, a gorgeous tall Georgian girl opened the door, and when I walked in, the house revealed itself to be an ornate and antique Victorian mansion with lovely little details everywhere I looked. As we walked through the basement floor to the backyard, I marveled at hundreds of colorful flower sculptures made with glow-in-the-dark plastic strips, made by one of the artists who lives there. The Hancock’s garden was magical, like a fairy world that I would have loved to play in as a kid. It was going to be perfect for mud-wrestling!
The event took place a few months later (June 2023) and was well received. We sold out and then some, and working with the people at The Hancock was a pleasure. I came to learn that pretty much all the people who live there are tall, gorgeous, and from Georgia (the country). I wondered how they all ended up living there, and I wanted to know more about the historically landmarked house. Let’s dive in!
The Bed-Stuy property, built in 1887, is considered a landmarked estate. It has ten bedrooms, and was purchased in 2017 by a mystery LLC for over 6 mil. The owner planned to house Georgian artists there. The New York Post published that the owner is a Georgian hotel mogul. I spoke with my new friends, Elene and Nini, who offered some joint answers to my questions regarding the home.
How did you find out about The Hancock, and how did you each end up living there?
The Hancock is a family owned house that was acquired in 2017. After years of looking, we came across this magical place called The Hancock, which became a home for our family and friends.
What is your favorite thing about living there?
The favorite thing about living here is to be part of something that has so much history– something that is so mysterious and has so many secrets. Learning about these secrets is another treasured thing!
What kind of events do you guys try to put on, and what inspires you the most about hosting music shows?
The Hancock tries to support and give a platform to young New York based artists. There is diversity when it comes to events. We host food pop ups, movie screenings, theatrical plays, storytelling shows etc.
Who is in charge of booking music? Does everyone in the house have a job of sorts?
Me and Nini are in charge of booking shows. We are mostly operating and organizing everything with the help of our friends that love The Hancock as much as we do, and that’s why the house shows are the performer’s favorite in many instances.
What sort of music acts / bands inspire you, and why?
All the bands that played at The Hancock inspire us, and I think these shows already shaped the music scene that exists at the house.
What do you guys do when you’re not running The Hancock? If you make art, what sort of art do you make?
The list of things we do on the side can be endless. I’m very much into agriculture and farming, acting ,modeling. Nini is an owner of a concept store and a skate shop in Georgia. She’s also acting and taking care of her two kids.
How many people live there? Where is everyone from that lives there? What are the different ways in which people end up living there?
The number of people living at The Hancock always varies. At the moment it’s 6 of us. There were times when it was 9 and times where there was only 1 person living in the house. It’s always friends of our friends, people we know that are in need of a temporary place.
Does it cost money to live there?
Friends and family we host don’t pay, no.
After the mud-wrestling show was such a success and so much fun, I went to see Bar Italia at The Hancock and it was amazing. That show happened inside the house, rather than outside. Imagine a rich grandma’s parlor room with all the furniture cleared out, a whole backline set up for the band, a big crowd of young New Yorkers muddying up the floor and the intricate glass chandelier emitting green, blue, and red lights.
Yellowed floral wallpaper, dark wood railings, intricately framed mirrors, little bits and bobs hiding in corners, 200 young Bar Italia fans creating a fabulous contrast between the old fashioned surroundings and all our modern clothes.
The New York Post reported, “As with anything that exists in NYC for long enough…the address has had many lives, and was not always as tony as it is in the present moment: Its previous owner, Jamaican-born marketing executive Claudia Moran, bought it for $140,000 in 1986, and it was once an SRO. In its 134-year life, it has also been the scene of a Sharon Stone film shoot and hosted former-President Grover Cleveland.” By the way, this NY Post piece from January 2022 is just about the only press I could find on The Hancock.
The venue is so special, and the energy there is intoxicating. Places like this in New York City are few and far between nowadays, and it’s so important to support artists in this grassroots way. Please do yourself a favor and go to a show at The Hancock!