05/27/16 2:13pm
Powerhouse Arena, home to stadium-style book readings with plenty of room for browsing, is closing in June. Via Facebook

Powerhouse Arena, home to stadium-style book readings with plenty of room for browsing, is closing in June. Via Facebook

You know this script too well by now: beloved New York City neighborhood staple announces it’s closing, there’s much hand wringing about “there goes the neighborhood” and everyone gets sad. This one feels a little bit different though: Dumbo bookstore staple powerHouse seemed as ingrained in the neighborhood as the cobblestone streets themselves. Watching readings from its huge concrete seating steps made cozy book readings feel like the high artistic combat of a Roman coliseum, and we were all better for it. The 10 years it’s been open have seen dramatic change (and increasingly expensive rents) in the booming neighborhood. Today the huge bookstore and event space announced via email that it’s shutting its doors at the end of next month after landlord Two Trees wanted to increase the rent to more than twice the $20,000 per month they were already paying.

But it’s not gone for good: Owner Daniel Power told us they’ll move to a smaller pop-up location a few blocks away this summer and open it as a full bookstore soon after, but gone will be the 10,000-square-foot “arena” space. Nothing is planned to move into the space after they leave, Power said.

“We’re not paying that,” Power said of the rent. “I can understand if it was someone coming in but personally would rather stay there until they had someone.”

Get yourself some cheaper artist space, like this Art F City space in Dumbo. Via Two Trees website.

Get yourself some cheaper artist space, like this Art F City space in Dumbo. Via Two Trees website.

Whether you think all real estate companies are reshaping our city in nefarious ways or you’re likely to cut them some slack every now and then, occasionally some of them do throw a bone to the artists who have such a tough time finding places to just exist in the city. Two Trees — the company that essentially made Dumbo into Dumbo — has got one of those bones up for grabs right now. They’re offering artists, nonprofits and community service groups the chance to apply for cheap office and studio space in typically super pricy Dumbo. If you’re chosen, you get a three-year lease for $12/square foot in a building that usually rents for $40/square foot. Some of the tenants taking advantage of that program now include Radio Diaries, Art in General, United Photo Industries and a handful of individual artists. The commercial and studio space ranges from 700 to 2,500 square feet, with Dumbo’s signature natural light and high ceilings. (more…)

07/31/15 10:10am
red hook trolley cars

Maybe time to pull these off the scrap heap. via The Brooklyn Historic Railway Association

Time was, in the old Brooklyn, the really old Brooklyn, pedestrians didn’t just live in fear of being run down by horses or those newfangled electric horses that traitorous Hitler-lover and anti-Semite Henry Ford popularized. They also tried not getting run over by streetcar trolleys (this “trolley dodging” is where the beloved Brooklyn Dodgers got their name) that existed to move people around the borough.

As you know, we’ve got horses back on the street, so it makes plenty of sense to us that a coalition of transit advocates and developers now want to bring back our old-timey streetcars in order to bring more transportation options to the Brooklyn waterfront. After that? Maybe adding some pre-movie newsreels about our boys overseas and their brave fight against the hated Kaiser Wilhelm! (more…)

06/08/15 10:08am
If this was your studio, your art would be home by now. via Two Trees

If this was your studio, your art would be home by now. via Two Trees

You’re working your butt off on a cool creative endeavor but you just don’t have the space in your apartment to do it comfortably and you don’t have the money to do it in a studio where it would be more comfortable. It’s a story we all know, but you’ve got a chance to put a different ending on the story, because Two Trees is offering artists subsidized space that can wind up as low as $700/month. (more…)

01/29/15 10:11am
dumbo arts festival

Go find your art somewhere else, you damn kids. via the DUMBO Arts Festival

For years, the DUMBO Arts Festival was the place to go see cool public art take over a neighborhood for a weekend, as well as chat with Walt Whitman impersonators or get your old clothes fixed in the name of art. We have to put the emphasis on the “was” now, because after 18 years, the organizers of the festival are calling it quits, telling festival fans that the huge crowds it drew raised costs to the point where they’d have to recruit larger corporate sponsors that they didn’t want involved. Sorry, everyone practicing their best Whitman. (more…)

07/18/14 10:18am
dumbo public art map

See those dots? Those dots are art. Well, those dots REPRESENT art.

Do you have family or friends in town who are hectoring you about taking them out to see art in Brooklyn, but you don’t have the time because some of us have to work? Or are you just curious about the sights to see in DUMBO lately? Well hey good news, there’s a new map that was put together by Two Trees that pinpoints where DUMBO’s public art is, that you can use yourself or give to your family. The map even gives a little preview of the art, just in case you were thinking, “I don’t want to trek out and have this art be some bullshit.” (more…)

06/16/14 3:26pm
two trees cultural space subsidy

If this was your studio space, your art would be home by now. via Two Trees

If you know the name “Two Trees,” you probably know them as either the developer for the Domino Sugar Factory or as the real estate company that basically owns all of DUMBO. Rather than be Galactus-like world eaters all the time though, Two Treees does reach out and support the arts, and are now taking applications for well below market rate rents for artists in some of the DUMBO properties they own. (more…)

03/04/14 9:26am
domino development

Now with more room for poors

Last week, Mayor “Red” Bill de Blasio sent the city into a tizzy by declaring that he’d like to see some more room devoted to affordable housing at the Domino Sugar factory development. His request was going to “doom” the project according to the Daily News. Last night, according to a press release put out by the mayor’s office, it turned out the crazy idea of “negotiating” with developers actually worked, as Two Trees’ Jed Walentas agreed to add more apartments in exchange for the ability to build taller buildings. Hey, let’s send Mayor Tall to fix this thing in Crimea! (more…)