Afterburn Report: NYC Decom 2018

Introduction and Thanks

NYC Decom 2018 was a success! The first NYC Decom in nine years. The first NYC Decom to take place in Manhattan in over a decade, we went vertical, spreading the event over 4 floors and a rooftop. We would like to thank everyone for their participation. We are honored the theme camps involved shot the moon, and the leads and volunteers were exceptional.


This theme was Moonshot. Making the seemingly impossible, possible. Also, a play on Burning Man’s retro-futuristic I, Robot theme.

LEO, Sound Complaints, Reported Injuries

We are proud to report that we had no issues with law enforcement, no sound complaints, and no reported injuries! There was one misplaced piece of art that thankfully made it back to the artist within 1 week of the events completion. We left no trace.

Venue, Capacity & Limitations

New York City is a large community, and past Decoms had several thousand participants. Your regional team has spent years looking for the perfect venue within the 5 boroughs. A venue that would accommodate thousands, be all ages inclusive, allow fire art, provide multiple days for set up and breakdown, a mix of indoor and outdoor spaces. Collectively, we have logged hundreds of hours trying to find such a site. We have had a lot of dead ends.

Early September 2018, a venue at 55 Chrystie was made available to us for the evening of September 29th. Costume Jim and David Porzio from Kostume Kult for finding the venue, rallying multiple theme camps and working with NYC Regionals to make it all happen.

This venue was not ‘perfect’. It could only fit 1,250 people and would be adult only. However, the venue had a tremendous amount of potential, character and a management team that understood the “Burner” ethos. So, we didn’t let perfect get in the way of really good. Thankfully, the Burning Man Organization felt similarly and gave us their blessing to use the Decompression name on September 18th.


We instituted a tiered ticketing system for the initial ticket release. We also offered the community the opportunity to make art grant donations. Unfortunately, both of these efforts had issues. Using EventBrite, we tiered the ticket price from $20 to $40. The limited capacity and short notice had the lower tiered tickets sell out very quickly. This lead to a handful of complaints from community members questioning our system. In retrospect, we should not have had any tiers. We will take all this into account should there be any future Decoms.

The art grant tickets, which were higher priced to give people an opportunity to pay more, were perceived as a VIP ticket tier. We quickly removed them and created a donation option, but that was perceived as a pay what you can ticket. In the future we will rethink the ticketing and donation process.

After these speed bumps, ticket sales went smoothly. The 2nd release sold out very quickly and Donations varied from $2 to $12.

For ticket redemption, we implemented a separate area to issue bracelets that was disconnected from the front door. This prevented bottle necks and allowed check-in to go smoothly.

Art Grants

Decom awarded over $5,000 in art grants. Our art grants were directed to theme camps to fund their spaces and programing. Additionally we were also able to partially fund some of the cost for ten individual artist who gifted their stunning art to the event.


New York’s 2018 Decompression has profited $10,432. 10% will be donated to the Burning Man Project to further support their mission. The remaining 90% will be used to set up a 501c3 Charitable Organization for the New York Burning Man Community. The officers of this entity will use the remaining profit to finance another Decompression or to fund New York Based art and/or outreach that is in keeping with the 10 principles and directly benefits the New York City Burning Man community. The 2018 Decom was funded and fiscally sponsored by Participatory Safety Inc., the not for profit entity that runs New York City’s Santacon. We are very thankful for their zero interest loan to make this event happen. In the future we hope to be independent of any organization to fund our endeavors.

Daniel Zen, Decom Producer & NYC Regional Contact

Stefan Pildes, Decom Producer & NYC Regional Contact


The moment you have all been waiting for. Where did my ticket money go!?

NYC 2018 DECOM event qualifies as an Official Burning Man Regional Event and has been sanctioned by Burning Man LLC. as a result:

All accounting related to the event are transparent (the financials related to the event are reported to the community publicly within 30 days of the conclusion of the event). As the producers, we agree not to use the event to generate revenues or profits to be distributed to ourselves, any entity associated with us, or any other individual, and no revenues or profits from the event may be so distributed. We will use all net revenues from the event to produce another Official Burning Man Regional Event, if such an event is authorized in writing by Burning Man, or to otherwise uphold and manifest the values described in Burning Man’s Ten Principles through art and culture, education, civic engagement, and human services.