The Top Ten DIY Venues In New York City

Categories: Lists

Benjamin Lozovsky
Grimes plays Shea Stadium during CMJ 2011.
In New York's chaotic do-it-yourself music ecosystem, nothing is a given. A venue might combust as suddenly as easily a new one might spring up, making this list obsolete—yet that volatility is part of the venues' inherent uncivilized appeal. Who's to say where the next bunch of longhairs might lay stakes? Which nearest faraway subway stop will next be colonized for bands to play in their natural habitats without VIPs, bottle service, pre-sales, comically overpriced booze, or grown-ups? You might wake up hungover from cheap beer and smelling like cigarettes after a night at one of these venues, but you probably won't be wanting for loud music and warm feelings of New Yorkiness.

death by audio CREDIT- Po' Jay on Flickr.jpg
OJ San Felipe/Flickr
Total Slacker at Death By Audio in 2010.
1. Death By Audio
One-third of the underground triumvirate that remains sturdy on Williamsburg's rapidly gentrifying gold coast, this reliable, no-fuss spot for touring and local acts alike is replete with swirling murals and cryptic homemade video games. The space remains home to an effects pedal manufacturer, a label, any number of bands, and a lo-fi aesthetic keeping at least part of Williamsburg weird.
49 S. 2nd Street, Brooklyn, no phone.

2. Shea Stadium
On a quiet East Williamsburg sidestreet, the air scented by various chemical and spice warehouses, across the street from a furniture factory, and up narrow steep stairs is Shea Stadium. Opened by genuine Brooklynites (and Market Hotel founders) the So So Glos just around the time the wrecking ball hit the Mets' Flushing home, Shea Stadium trades the Brooklyn underground's psychedelic bent for dingy punk functionality that can't mask the place's homey vibes.
20 Meadow Street, Brooklyn, no phone.

Jonah Flicker
Hospitality at Glasslands in February 2012.
3. Glasslands Gallery
Those missing the intricately homemade hippie interior of the TriBeCa's departed Wetlands Preserve might do well to check out Glasslands, a hand-cut spiritual descendant of Larry Bloch's Deadhead/hardcore palace nestled on the Williamsburg waterfront. Once a bunking spot for artists (who slept in Japanese hotel-style bed-tubes), Glasslands has since gone slightly more legit, with a full bar (rare for a DIY space) and slightly more pro booking. But its inside looks no less like a massive trippy art installation.
289 Kent Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-599-1450

Location Info


Death by Audio - CLOSED

49 S. 2nd St., Brooklyn, NY

Category: Music

Shea Stadium BK

20 Meadow St., Brooklyn, NY

Category: Music

The Glasslands Gallery

289 Kent Ave., Brooklyn, NY

Category: General

285 Kent Ave

285 Kent Ave., New York, NY

Category: Music

Secret Project Robot

389 Melrose St., New York, NY

Category: Music

Big Snow Buffalo Lodge

89 Varet St., New York, NY

Category: Music

ABC No Rio

156 Rivington St., New York, NY

Category: General

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