The weird thing is, it wasn’t even a launch.
Ridesharing service Lyft still isn’t live in New York, but that didn’t stop the company from pulling off the biggest, wildest tech party we’ve yet seen in Brooklyn Friday night at The 1896, in Bushwick.
Lines around the door. Protestors from the Taxi unions. A custom haiku station. Q-Tip spinning tracks. Shaved ice — yes, we put shaved ice on par with a music legend from A Tribe Called Quest.
Before Q-Tip began, John Zimmer, cofounder and president of the ridesharing service, made a very brief statement, saying, “We got some pushback from the government today. We’re going to need your help. We’re going to email you and ask for your help, because we need to bring Lyft to New York City.”
As we previously reported, the company is going grassroots to rally support. That might help explain why it’s still worth throwing a big party for hundreds of people.
We spoke to several people around the party who weren’t entirely sure why they were there, other than looking for a good time. It was clearly branded Lyft in every corner, so if they left with a smile, they will know who to thank for it.
We spoke to Kat DaSilva, who’s here from Brown for the summer. A friend of hers is doing PR this summer for Lyft, and that’s what brought her to the party. She said, however, that she and her friends use the service “all the time” in Providence.
Out front, a group of maybe a dozen or so taxi workers protested the party. Nancy Soria of the New York Association of Independent Taxi Drivers said, “We feel Lyft is coming in her to take us out of business.”
Most of the protestors kept emphasizing the illegal nature of the service, but that wasn’t a message that seemed to resonate with the party-goers. We asked Soria what her specific message was to people at the event.
“If you’re caught in one of those you’re going to be stranded on the street,” she said, referencing the possibility of police intervening if the service launches without a legal framework.
We spoke to Danny Clark in the line outside waiting to get into the party. We asked him what he thought of the protestors concerns and he said, “I don’t know that it’s necessarily going to affect anything, but I’ll personally use anything available.”
Izzy Askanas and Maria Pestana had a friend working at Lyft who flagged the event for them. They were mainly there for the party, and to see Q-Tip DJ.
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