The Top Ten DIY Venues In New York City
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 obsoleteyet 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.
Benjamin Lozovsky Grimes plays Shea Stadium during CMJ 2011.
1. Death By Audio
OJ San Felipe/Flickr Total Slacker at Death By Audio in 2010.
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.
3. Glasslands Gallery
Jonah Flicker Hospitality at Glasslands in February 2012.
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
20 Meadow St., Brooklyn, NY
289 Kent Ave., Brooklyn, NY
285 Kent Ave., New York, NY
389 Melrose St., New York, NY
89 Varet St., New York, NY
156 Rivington St., New York, NY