Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Brooklyn Spaces: 50 Hubs of Culture and Creativity by Oriana Leckert

  • ISBN-10: 1580934285 -  Paperback $29.95
  • Publisher: The Monacelli Press (May 19, 2015), 224 pages.
  • Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

The blurb:
As an incubator of culture and creativity, Brooklyn is celebrated and imitated across the world. The settings for much of its dynamic underground scene are the numerous industrial spaces that were vacated as manufacturing dwindled across the huge borough. Adapted, hacked, and reused, these spaces host an eclectic range of activities by and for Brooklyn’s unique creative class, from DIY music venues to skillsharing centers. These are spaces to make art together, throw parties and concerts, host classes and performances, grow vegetables, build innovative products, and, most importantly, to support and inspire one another while welcoming more and more collaborators into the fold.
In Brooklyn Spaces: 50 Hubs of Culture and Creativity, Oriana Leckert introduces us to the creators driving Brooklyn’s cultural renaissance, and in their company takes us on a tour of these unique alternative spaces. Whether a graffiti art show in an abandoned power station, a circus school in a former ice house, or a shuffleboard club in a disused die-cutting factory, these spaces present a vibrant cross-section of life in the borough where trends in music, fashion, food, and lifestyle are set. A chronicle of a thriving and ever-renewing scene, this book will appeal to everyone who’s interested in the unique energy that makes Brooklyn Brooklyn.

I've lived in Brooklyn since 2008 but Leckert's Brooklyn Spaces revealed so many aspects of Brooklyn culture as well as places that I didn't know existed.  I'd walked by the Superhero Supply Co., and thought it had such a catchy name but didn't know the tutorial and writing services it provides to kids and teens in the community.  

The Morbid Anatomy Museum is near Four and Twenty Blackbirds, but I'd never gone further than peering into the windows. I've seen two different homes Brooklyn Brainery, but haven't taken a class yet.  

I'm not interested in guidebooks for New York City - have read so many and they often have the same suggestions.  But Brooklyn Spaces worked as a guide for me,  Leckert gives a concise but full picture of  50 spots scattered throughout Brooklyn (albeit heavily weighted towards Williamsburg) and offers us readers an introduction to worlds and areas that we might otherwise have missed.  I've my own short list of places that I'd like to visit and perhaps become well acquainted with, thanks to Leckert.  I feel rather guilty linking to Amazon - so I've signed up for Indiebound to link to independent booksellers as well. 

About the Author:
Oriana Leckert is a writer, editor, and cultural "hipstorian" whose love for Brooklyn borders on obsession.  She is the creatrix of the website Brooklyn Spaces (, a compendium of the borough's creative and underground culture; a writer for Atlas Obscura, the definitive guide to the world's wondrous and curious places; a matchmaker for ghosts at Gotham Ghostwriters.  Her writing has also appeared on Slate, Matador, Hyperallergenic, Untapped Cities, and Brooklyn Based.  She is relentlessly happy and will probably correct your grammar.

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