Some are tucked away in seldom seen corners of the city, others are in plain view, a few are two-faced tricksters operating as, say, tortilla factories by day
, music clubs by night. Point is, we live in a concrete jungle of structures and spaces waiting to be turned into DIY venues by the wave of a promoter-godfairy's wand. Lest we forget, Issue Project Room was once
housed in a silo
; Damon Dash's office basement hosted
one of Sleigh Bells' first shows; Japanther has played in the back of a moving truck
, for crying out loud. Now that family-style Chinese restaurants
are officially fair game, we thought it'd be a good time to do a little digging of our own. Pooled together from editor recommendations, here are 11 Brooklyn spaces where we'd very much like to see some bands play — respectively, of course, to their histories and neighborhoods. Any takers?
Red Hook Grain Terminal
“Safe” may not be the appropriate word to describe the 12-story abandoned grain factory overlooking the East River — and actually getting inside, as some can attest, may present a few obstacles. So you might die going to see a show, but you’ll die inside a DIY fairyland bearing equal resemblance to the interior of Chicago’s Cheesecake Factory and a dilapidated warehouse. And danger is so very rock ‘n’ roll. (Actually, a better, safer option might be utilizing one of the several open platforms outside the building with views of the Manhattan skyline.)
Photo by Herman Yung
New York Dock Company
Once rumored to be turning into luxury condos, the monstrous six-story building at 160 Imlay Street in Red Hook was gutted, but now stands empty, just waiting for a bunch of Beach Fossils fans to give it a purpose again. Like The Giving Tree.
Photo by Alexis Robie
Navy Yard Dry Dock
The Navy Yard features a handful of dry docks (some of the oldest in the country, in fact) for ship-building and repairing, but only three are currently functioning. So now we have leftover space that gives the feel of a fabled Brooklyn warehouse party but with a bright, starry sky as the ceiling.
Running along Flushing Avenue is a set of once stately row homes, some of which date back to the Civil War, that housed naval officers and other government officials once upon a time. After decades of neglect by the federal government, the city has finally gained possession of the structures and, on Monday, began restoring the timber shed, once used to store ships’ masts, and “Building B,” the most intricate and well-maintained of the homes. The remaining buildings will be demolished to make way for a supermarket. So better get in there before they’re gone.
23rd Avenue Armory
Part of the building, which looks like it’s a set piece from King Arthur, is used as a men’s shelter, which is something a show promoter would need to be sensitive to. But there’s reportedly a huge hangar-like room in the back that’s going unused. We wish someone would build a moat, and that Sunset Rubdown would play one final show there, at last giving their Rapunzel references a proper backdrop.
Photo by Emilio Guerra
Loew's Kings Theater
The Parisian-inspired movie palace on Flatbush Avenue designed by Rapp & Rapp, “the foremost theater designers at the cusp of the Jazz Age," is undergoing a $70 million face-lift, which theoretically means it’s in a state shabby enough to make a DIY show feel at home, but that its grandeur is still visible enough to make it a step beyond your typical warehouse.
Photo by Matt Lambros
2nd Floor of the Park Slope Pavilion
The owners of the Park Slope movie theater have been promising a second-story cafe for some time now — a project that seems perpetually stalled, leading us to believe there’s a large vacant space up there overlooking Prospect Park. And easily accessible by subway(!), which isn't always the case with DIY haunts.
Photo courtesy Brooklyn Breeder
Brooklyn Tech's Auditorium
Your high school battle of the bands could’ve been different, a touch more glamorous, if they were held at a multilevel 3,100-seat auditorium, second only to Radio City for size. Does Radiohead do DIY?
Boys' High School Auditorium
Look how pretty that building is! Norman Mailer went there back when it was considered “one of the most important public schools in Brooklyn!” Now it’s home to the Street Academy High School, but there's got to be some sort of gymnasium or empty room in there somewhere. Look how big it is! And so pretty! Norman Mailer went there!
Photo by Emilio Guerra
Abandoned City Hall Subway Station
If you ride the 6 train to the end of the line, past the last stop at Brooklyn Bridge, it’ll pass through an abandoned 20th century subway station before looping around to make its way Uptown. Keep in mind, trains don't open their doors once reaching the platform, and the MTA allows only a few public visits a year as part of guided tours with the Transit Museum. But where there's a will, there's a way, right? Beg. If they grant one stop on one night, it'll be the Polar Express for every Brooklynite under 35, leading to a magical place where you can play those guitars (keyboards?) as loud as your heart desires.
Photo by Eric Kazmirek & John Paul Palescandolo
The Palm House at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens
Granted, the Gatsby soiree feel of the Botanic Gardens’ Palm House, host to who knows how many weddings and Bar Mitzvahs over the years, doesn’t scream "DIY" as much as the rats do in the aforementioned subway station, but considering that wedding bands play here nearly every weekend, someone should seriously consider putting together a show here. How awesome to see Beirut/The National/Sharon Van Etten/Bon Iver/not Odd Future in a house of glass? Someone make this happen please.
Photo by Cody Swanson
Follow Lauren Beck on Twitter @heylaurenbeck.