Brooklyn’s indie heart still beats in these amazing creative spaces

It's the weekend. Release the balloons!  Photo via Oriana Leckert

It’s the weekend. Release the balloons! Photo via Oriana Leckert

Back in the day Brooklyn had a pretty mean manufacturing scene, but all that’s dwindled and left behind lots of warehouses without blacksmiths and welders and whoever else works in warehouses. Today a lot of those spaces have been taken over by the borough’s most creative residents and are used for music performances, dance classes, art exhibits, and plenty of urban farming. Oriana Leckert explores these spots in her new book Brooklyn Spaces: 50 Hubs of Culture and Creativity, where she documents the eccentricity that keeps this place so darn cool. The book comes out on May 19, and there’s a huge launch party at Gowanus Ballroom on May 30, featuring food trucks, acrobatic performances, and music from Hungry March Band and Batala NYC.

Oriana gave us a preview of Brooklyn Spaces and told us about some of her favorite places around the borough:

Bushwick City Farm

Bushwick City Farm. Photo by Alix Piorun

 

Bushwick City Farm: A beautiful 10,000-square-foot community garden right off busy Broadway, the Bushwick City Farm boasts 55 raised beds (the soil is completely toxic) growing more than 100 different vegetables, fruit, and herbs, as well as a coop with 35 chickens. All the produce and eggs are given out to the community for free each Sunday.

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City Reliquary

City Reliquary. Photo by Maximus Comissar

City Reliquary: One of the sweetest, quirkiest places in NYC, the Reliquary is a nonprofit micro-museum dedicated to the preservation and appreciation of the city’s past through the celebration of its mundane objects.

Cloud City

Cloud City. Photo by Ventiko

Cloud City: Founded by several of the members of Wburg living-room venue Dead Herring (RIP), Cloud City hosts art installations, immersive plays, offbeat comedy performances, and whatever strange and wonderful shows come through.

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Genspace

Genspace. Photo by Kit Crenshaw

Genspace: The first-ever nonprofit community biolab, and the only DIY lab in the country that’s up to the CDC’s biosafety standards. Genspace is filled with salvaged, reclaimed, and donated science tools.

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Gowanus Ballroom

Gowanus Ballroom. Photo by Alix Piorun

Gowanus Ballroom

Gowanus Ballroom. Photo by Alix Piorun

Gowanus Ballroom: The Ballroom, a former cannonball factory, now houses Serrett Metalworks, which fabricates for the likes of Woody Allen, Calvin Klein, and the NYC Parks Department. It also hosts enormous multimedia art and music shows—like the Brooklyn Spaces launch party on May 30th!

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Industry City Distillery

Industry City Distillery. Photo by Kit Crenshaw

Industry City Distillery: Housed in one of the oldest manufacturing complexes in the country, experimental distillery ICD weds extreme science nerdery to an aggressively DIY mentality, building all new systems and machines for distilling their signature vodka.

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Rubulad

Rubulad

Rubulad

Rubulad

Rubulad: Helmed by the same folks since 1993, Rubulad is definitely Brooklyn’s longest-running art party. They’ve moved from Williamsburg to Bed-Stuy to their current nomadic form; despite the incredible difficulty of finding an affordable space in Brooklyn today, Rubulad fêtes have popped up everywhere from a derelict Bushwick church to a soundstage deep in Queens.

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Silent Barn

Silent Barn. Photo by Walter Wlodarczyk

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Silent Barn. Photo by Walter Wlodarczyk

Silent Barn: Now in its second incarnation, the Silent Barn is a massive sprawling art and music collective pioneering a new way to do DIY in Brooklyn. The space is home to 13 artists and includes 12 art studios, three stages, two galleries, a cafe, a shop for secondhand art materials, and a lot more.

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The Swamp

The Swamp. Photo by Walter Wlodarczyk

The Swamp: The Swamp is a tiny DIY apartment venue in an industrial warehouse that hosts punk, hardcore, and ska shows. Aggressively underground—show flyers say “Need the address? Ask a punk.”—the Swamp has been going strong for six year, which is an awfully long time in DIY venue years.