Lost Horizons Night Market (2011)

One day a few years ago in NYC a friend called me up and said, “Want to go to a secret interactive art party tonight?” I replied, “Do you know me?” I asked where to meet only to find that the location would be shared a few hours before the event. That evening, we took the subway to an industrial neighborhood in Queens and walked a few blocks from the subway towards an even more desolate area. We came across 15 parked box trucks on each side of the street with what looked like a costumed nighttime block party sandwiched between them. It was wild.

Upon entering this world a haze washed over us. Women swayed towards us in zombie attire; pirate men snuck behind the curtains at the back of their trucks. A buzz was humming as performers began to take their places.

Our first activity consisted of being blindfolded by a costumed guide who led us into a noisy crowded truck filled with strange sounds and things to feel. The guide walked us through a story complete with choral banging that let us know our 7-minute adventure was coming to an end.

The box truck with a maze of fog and strobe lights was a little too intense for us so we checked out Casino Fromage. Walk in and pull the slot machine handle to find your combination of bread, cheese, and topping that would then be made for you by a seasoned chef. This was a particularly popular truck, and I’m not just saying that because they’re friends of ours.

On to the Japanese tea room, with it’s very long and narrow entrance ramp and heavy red velvet curtains parting way to a long and narrow table though the middle of the truck, complete with votive candles, tea waitresses, a brew master, and lithographs of old NY hung about on the walls. The soft music, barely lit atmosphere, and hum of chatter made this truck one of our favorites.

Walking between the trucks I came across friends from near and far, old and new. It was surreal, like stepping into another dimension. My senses were heightened the entire evening and my adrenaline pumped with each new encounter. What a fabulous idea! Taking the mundane blank canvas of an empty truck and creating an interactive world, an experience, for free, for others. What a gift!  

Lost Horizon Night Market is now expanding to have a countrywide event, which features trucks simultaneously leaving NYC and San Francisco, participating in Night Markets across the country, and meeting in the middle for a huge Night Market. I hope they come to a city near you!