By John Carluccio

Last month, I was forced to make the difficult decision to pack up and leave the CINQUA office in Dumbo at 68 Jay Street, suite #711. What initially started in 2014 as an artist studio escape for my industrial design and painting projects, soon evolved into a full-fledged video production studio for documentaries, branded content and experimental video.

CINQUA, 2015

In the 5+ years, I was in the office space, my team of freelancers and interns and I took full advantage of Dumbo’s scenic locations, especially my rooftop which has appeared in a handful of CINQUA productions. It also made for a great hangout for my annual summer office party.

CINQUA summer office parties
CINQUA, interns 2015-17

I’m very proud that this office was a creative home for many great college interns who would surprise me with their talents and later go on to find careers in production. The CINQUA office’s proximity to Dumbo’s creative community allowed us to produce videos about local businesses and artists (Smack Mellon Gallery and Trunk).  The students had a full Dumbo experience, exploring the cobblestone street neighborhood, taking in the hipness of an archway afternoon, and savoring treats from our ground floor lobby bakery Burrow

In March, a COVID19 case was officially reported at 68 Jay Street and since my work wasn’t essential, I temporarily closed the office. The demand for video production was also very limited, and all of my top clients completely shut-down. I watched fellow filmmakers and photographers scale down or leave the building. 

Move-out day - July 2020

For months, I tried to stay and made requests to the landlord for a rent reduction, a late fee waiver and/or commitments to make the building safer. After little to no response, I simply had to leave. The struggling economy and an office building which lacked COVID-19 era improvements made it impossible to maintain the office. I’m grateful that a few days after I moved out, the landlord did finally agree to waive my late fees.

Community is very important to me. It is built into my brand. It is a rare commodity these days that takes real effort to maintain. This is why I bonded with Dumbo Direct. I am part of a disappearing breed that might be described as having “New York charisma.” As gentrification and social isolation (that predated COVID) emerged, my type of friendly, neighborly, and straightforwardness felt less welcomed. Dale Kaplan, the founder of Dumbo Direct, is a Brooklyn classic, and also part of this vanishing group of charismatic New Yorkers. She is not shy about striking up a conversation in an elevator and introducing you to a new colleague. I will miss these valuable “small-talk” elevator moments that feel larger in today’s context of social distancing, and I appreciate how Dale works to keep this energy alive with Dumbo Direct.

Daniel Bernard Roumain | 2016

CINQUA | Creative Documentary Agency will survive. We did a lot of great work from the Dumbo office, including tireless production meetings and edit sessions for the award-winning documentary film, Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back that my wife Tracy E. Hopkins and I produced. Now I am working from home in Cobble Hill and CINQUA will adapt and continue to produce soulful and stellar work! 

In May, I did my first “remote directing” gig (more about remote directing), a music video production in Nashville for Grammy-winning gospel artist BeBe Winans.

 

Thank you Dumbo. I’ll be sure to visit and look forward to coming back.

mood_bad
  • No comments yet.
  • chat
    Add a comment