And away we go

The best place to start a story is the obviously the beginning. So here is the first post,  some pictures of Fred moving into the space on 38th St. These photos and memories by people who were around Giant  ell the story of this crazy and wonderful place called Giant. So without further adieu here we go!

 

 

Giant really started out of my desire to live in a loft. I was sitting in my apartment on 6 & B in 1979, talking to my sister Ann on the phone about how I could pay for such a luxury. She was in the health food business and wanted to sell in NYC. Why not become partners in the business, get a loft space as a product warehouse and live there as well? With that idea in mind I set out to find a space. I rented 242 W 38 6th Floor from John Iraqi early the next year. It was an old garment district sweat shop. The place was completely open but had rows and rows of heavily built tables 6 ft wide by 40 ft long. First I recycled all the 2X12 wood which became the framing material for the 5 small rooms and the big room in the back. Most of the rest of the construction materials came out of dumpsters on the Upper East Side. I started selling health food to stores. I couldn’t stand that business or any of the people connected with it – they are so unhealthy! – so I dumped that and looked for another way to pay the rent. I built a common bathroom and kitchen and rented the small rooms out as SROs. Now I had 5 tenants but the space was carrying itself.


I was playing jazz at the time and it didn’t take long before the groups I was in heard about my loft space. One by one they started rehearsing there. The first note of the first band caused a noise complaint from someone on another floor. Little did I know that this would be the bain of my existence for the next 12 years. The real change came when the city started cracking down on loft squatters – living illegally in commercially zoned loft space. I found a loop hole which gave the owner of a business the right to set up small living quarters for himself only. Now all I needed was a business. Well the bands were already practicing here so why not create a DBA and charge money? I had to move all the tenants out which was no fun and convert to rehearsal rooms. After more trips to the dumpsters and help from my neighbor on 6th Street, John Kuhlman and his friend Howie Clifton, the work was moving along. While I was getting the little rooms ready I put an ad in the Village Voice to rent the big room; “One giant rehearsal room for rent for music. Call Fred etc…” The first call I got was, “Is this Giant?” “No” I said, “You must have the wrong number.” I went down stairs for my coffee and picked up the Voice. They had made a headline in the ad, GIANT, then put in the rest of the copy the way I had called it in. The next phone call, “Is this Giant?”, YES may I help you? That’s how I got the name.

  • Fred P.

 

 

Construction 1981

1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction
Taking down all the florescent lights
1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction
Lumber recovered after demo of the sweatshop fabric cutting tables; This was my home/office, notice the desk, bed, and dinner table.
1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction
Many 8′ true 2×12 planks came from the table tops. There were 3 cutting tables 50′ long and 6′ wide when I moved into the loft.

1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction

1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction
2x4s collected from an upper east side construction site dumpster
1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction
The Giant gas meter. I installed small gas heaters in each room and rented the rooms for living. Later when I converted to rehearsal rooms ConEd did an inspection and put in a gas meter so I took out all the heaters. The rooms still stayed warm because I put walls over all the windows for soundproofing.
1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction
Standing by the elevator with a view of studio D and E. Notice on the right; We had a working mail shoot next to the elevator.
1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction
Kitchen in the common area was shared by tenants from each of the 5 small rooms. This space later became the front desk and waiting room for bands.
1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction
Common kitchen area looking toward the bathroom and door to stairway.
1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction
Common kitchen area looking toward the bathroom and door to stairway.
1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction
Common kitchen area looking toward the bathroom and door to stairway.
1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction
The bathroom, and the most asked question at Giant, “Is anyone in there?”
Giant toilet
Giant toilet
1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction
The common shower room. This eventually became the ‘pink’ room where extra equipment for rehearsal rooms was stored.
1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction
Looking down hallway toward future front desk area into Studio A with the freight elevator on the right.
1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction
Sheetrock shipment; This represents about half the ‘rock it took to build all the rooms. Notice the suit bag hanging from the ceiling. I was selling food supplements to health stores during the day thru a business partnership with my sister Ann called Creative Arts Marketing.

1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction

1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction

1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction
Looking into Studio A from future front desk area
1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction
Inside studio B
1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction
Original doorway in studio B led into studio A.
1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction
Same door from studio A
1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction
Same door from studio A; another view

1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction

1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction

1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction
A particularly hard sheetrock cut with lots of pipe cutaways in an unsquare corner
1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction
Door to hallway from studio A next to door to studio B as seen from over my bed; I mean home/office

1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction

1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction
Building shower in second bathroom – part of studio A

1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction

1981 Giant Rehearsal Studios construction