According to the urban activists at Made in the Lower East Side, or miLES, there are currently more than 200 unused storefronts and vacant lots throughout the LES and East Village. So rather than let the space sit idle while we wait for another bank, Subway, or weirdly-named fro-yo shop to move in, why not let an artist's collective, or community organization, or a team of enterprising young men and women turn the place into something surprising, useful, welcoming, and/or fun?

Case in point: Featherbed Lane, a stripped-down, tricked-out bodega that's taking over a spot on East 1st Street for this weekend only, cooking up free lunches, throwing dance parties, and generally bringing a big hit of love and energy to the block.

Created and run by Ghetto Gastro—a kind of catering crew that also delivers a distinctly urban flavor to its entire surroundings—this hastily, often amusingly refurbished deli will be the site of, among other things:

  • Free Lunch on Thursday and Friday, featuring "re-imagined deli classics" and live (and loud!) DJs

  • a Friday night Twerk 'n' Jerk Caribbean dance-and-food party

  • a photo exhibition on Saturday night, and a brunch-all-day affair on Sunday
  • Judging by the good-looking crowd and thumping music at the opening party last night, Featherbed Lane—named, by the way, after the street in the Bronx on which Ghetto Gastro Creative Director Jon Gray's mother lived—is definitely worth dropping by at some point this weekend if you're in the neighborhood.

    Featherbed Lane is located at 37 East First Street, between Second and First Avenues. Times vary, depending on the event; the full schedule is here.