I’ve known Abby Ehmann since 2009. First time I met her next to a bonfire in the Black Rock Desert during meteorite showers. I remember her tattoos of feather and stars and specially her laugh and humorous character.
Over the years we’ve been meeting in the desert, where she has impressed me more and more – mainly as one of the most entertaining hosts and performers I know. And not only on stage – but naturally in any kind of situation – building a fence, making signs or managing the sweeping lines during Playa Restoration. And she knows how to dress up while doing all of that!
When I heard in the beginning of this year that Abby is opening a bar – a longtime dream of hers, in Manhattan, I knew I had to pass by New York City this time!
Serendipitously I arrived to NYC and to Lucky (Abby’s bar on Avenue B) at the same night when John Curley (Burning Man’s official photographer) was in town! So we could capture the evening both on photos and drawings!
Now about the place! I love the entrance of Lucky. I noticed it far before I knew it was my destination. The bright red doors, that for a second take the mind to London, are impossible to miss. Through the glass door opens a narrow dark green room with a long bar counter. Just a perfect place to shoot a bar scenery for a movie. A true bar. Charming with its simplicity. And surprising with its back yard! And last but not least – maintained super clean!
While observing the bar at night and also few times during the day, I noticed that the place unites everyone who enters it. And specially at daytime – who ever leaves, shakes hand and says bye to everybody in the room.
Also, there are no TV-s to distract us from the direct interaction between one another. So, very easily the bar can become a discussion table. Instead of being an anonymous commentator in the Internet, the place allows to share opinions or stories openly. Face to face, no book in between.
Behind the scenes – there are lot of paperwork and expenses that needs to be covered while creating a bar and it can get a bit frustrating time to time. But in Abby’s mind when seeing the place in action and full of beautiful people, all the hard work is so worth it. She has wanted to own a bar since the first time she worked in one!
As an artist Abby still finds ways to create and play even during the crazy schedule she has. At the moment she and Lucky’s bartender Pinky (Eeva) are experimenting with cocktails. And I mean truly – experimenting! To get to taste their inventions, one needs to follow Luckyonb instagram daily to see what’s on the surprise menu.
Abby adopted me for one night at her beautiful apartment in East Village. The place is full of character, stories and collections. Being there felt like during one night in Tokyo at my friend Tatsuya’s place (built and designed by his greatgreatgrandfather). In those places I similarly got the urge to draw and capture each detail of the house! Pure inspiration.
I am writing this story during my first cross country train trip. In the morning at the train’s cafe by fun luck I met Panda Rat – another talented being (with incredible singing voice!) I know from Burning Man. She has been creating signs with Abby for years and was on her way to start doing it again.
So I used the chance and asked how would she describe Abby.
She replied: “On playa she is called StAbby and she can be sharp and always on point. But I don’t think she is so stabby at all – for me she’s a sweetheart. But definitely Abby is an interesting character! And she is super fit! We used to have morning planking competitions at Burning Man’s sign-shop with her and our other companion Jedi. Abby would always win! She has perfectly managed to sustain her youthful physique.
It will be really strange not to have her on playa this year. She has been the only manager for 8 years I’ve worked for at sign shop!”.
Thank you Abby for inspiring and for introducing New York City through your being! Good luck with Lucky! The name is there for a reason, I can tell!
And any of you burners in NYC, I recommend to step by Lucky to get the feeling of the familiar sense of Black Rock Saloon in Gerlach!
Address // Lucky – 168 Avenue B, East Village, Manhattan
web // www.luckyonb.com