Live from New York, it’s Friday Night!

CryptoNewYorker minting experience and Art Blocks collector meetup

A few months ago, I wrote this article exploring different approaches to the minting experience. I mentioned my excitement to see the in-person minting experience at Bright Moments Gallery, and I finally got the chance! In November, Ponyo and I made our way to New York City to mint our very own CryptoNewYorker, and I’m here to report that the experience was truly amazing.

While we were in town, we also hosted a lowkey collector meetup, and the Art Blocks community had a show of force on that night in November.

Live Minting

To mint a CryptoNewYorker, you needed to have a Golden Ticket. There are a few ways to get a ticket — the Bright Moments team raffles some off, gives tickets to existing CryptoCitizen holders, and reserves tickets for the local IRL community. Once you have a Golden Ticket, you’re able to schedule your minting day. After checking their availability, I picked Friday, November 12th.

I hadn’t been to New York in a few years, and this was the perfect opportunity for a quick trip. With a 5 pm mint time, I landed in LaGuardia at 2 pm before making my way to the swanky SoHo. Tucked into this funky neighborhood, an unassuming sign was sticking out along the sidewalk. To the untrained eye, the gallery must look strange. There is a logo outside, a TV with pixelated King Kong, and a large empty space with a few more TVs on the walls.

After having Kulvir check your vaccination record at the door (safety first), you’re greeted by a team with smiles across the board. Check out this video of Kulvir getting his very own CNY.

The Bright Moments team is so excited to see everyone arrive. It’s infectious. They ask for your name and ticket number at the table, then verify you’re holding the Golden Ticket in the registered wallet. After, you’re walked through the process of trading the Golden Ticket for a minting token. And you better have MetaMask set up on your phone and enough battery to scroll through the lengthy terms of service on the Art Blocks site. This process is slightly intimidating, but again, those friendly smiles are there to walk you through the entire process.

This next part isn’t for the faint of heart. After you leave the intake table, you’ve started the process of minting your CNY, but you need to exercise self-control and not check your wallet. Public blockchains aren’t the best technology for keeping secrets, and if you want to ruin the minting experience, it’s only a few clicks away. But alas, I found the strength to keep my phone in my pocket and patiently wait like a kid on Christmas that knows a Playstation is waiting in one of those boxes.

Once everyone has checked in, the show begins. It starts with a few words from the Bright Moments team before playing a short video voiced by Greg Cipes and Jaime Foxx. I won’t lie; I didn’t see the Jaime Foxx cameo coming. I didn’t immediately recognize who Greg was, but I recognized the voice. It wasn’t until after the event I realized Greg has a long voice acting career in some incredible animated series from my childhood — a real blast from the past. Greg and his dog (pictured below) were at the event and had such great vibes.

After the video explaining the CryptoCitizen universe, minters are brought to a back room for a quick pre-game hype session. Behind the veil were two big bright smiles encouraging you to prepare yourself to meet your CrypoNewYorker. Then it happens. Your number is called, and you’re greeted by a room full of music and people cheering as you meet your CryptoCitizen for the first time.

Collector Meetup

After such a great minting experience, it wouldn’t feel right to just go about your day, so we threw a small collector meetup in the Bright Moments gallery that Friday night. We only mentioned it a few times in Discord but didn’t make any big announcements. It was a ‘right-place-right-time’ kinda thing. Even trying to keep it under wraps, we had around 80 people RSVP.

Some were around for the minting experience, but the majority showed up after to mingle with artists and other collectors.

Bright Moments was even cool enough to display pieces from attendees’ collections throughout the gallery. It was a great experience seeing a piece of art you own displayed in a proper gallery. We even had some artists join the fun and see their work on the walls.

After the great food, delicious beer, amazing conversations, and one hell of a laser light show from Generative Artworks, we all decided to grab a nightcap at a local bar. By chance, we ended up at a college bar near NYU, so we opted to get a table outside instead of standing shoulder to shoulder in a crowded bar screaming to get a bartender’s attention that was already stretched far too thin.

After a few cocktails, we had one last stop — an authentic New York slice from Sbarros.

Just kidding, some local collectors knew of a pizza spot a short walk from the bar, so we made our way there to finish off the night. And you know it’s going to be great pizza when it’s cash only, and the guy behind the counter looks annoyed you even showed up. I’m convinced the disrespect of a pizza man directly correlates to the pizza’s quality. I was right.

Thank you and Goodnight!

If you can’t tell, my 24-hour trip to New York was one to remember. I was excited to experience the in-person minting at Bright Moments, and their team did not disappoint. I was blown away. Bridging the gap between physical and digital is a hurdle for the entire NFT space, and they’re taking it head-on with a CryptoCitzen world tour. Keep fighting the good fight.

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