Documenting the beautiful and the bizarre, the intricate and the slapdash, the upcycled, hacked, and remade, Brooklyn Spaces: 50 Hubs of Culture & Creativity is a dazzling compendium of outrageously creative spaces in one of the most creatively outrageous cities in the world.
Brooklyn has a proud manufacturing history, but when much of the industry departed, a vast number of huge, unusual buildings were left scattered throughout the dense urban area. These disused factories and warehouse were ripe for reuse by the massive influx of creative people who have flooded the borough over the past few decades. The spaces now serve as community and cultural hubs for artists, performers, makers, and creators of all stripes.
In this book you’ll find an illegal graffiti art mecca in an abandoned subway station, a multimedia exhibition space in a former cannonball factory, a yoga collective in a onetime chicken slaughterhouse, and an experimental distillery in manufacturing complex that dates back to the Industrial Revolution. Brooklyn Spaces illuminates the ways these spaces are being reimagined and celebrated, told through interviews with the creators, as well as hundreds of pictures by prominent Brooklyn photographers, including Maximus Comissar, Alix Piorun, Walter Wlodarczyk, Tod Seelie, Michael Blase, and Erica Camille.
You can read some teaser posts here on the site, but the book includes tons of new spaces, new photos, new interviews, and new research into the history of these eclectic and wonderful places. It presents a chronicle of a thriving and ever-renewing cultural scene, a creative renaissance in all its strange sprawling glory.
Vulture: “The Last of the Great Brooklyn Art Spaces: A User’s Guide”
“Oriana Leckert documents [Brooklyn’s] endangered artistic landscape before it’s too late.”
Publishers Weekly review!
“Visually compelling [and] totally unexpected, even non–New Yorkers will appreciate the eccentricity of Leckert’s tour.”
Flavorwire staff pick!
“Full of beautiful photographs and interviews with the founders, owners, or guardians of these spaces, this book is the perfect road map for exploring Brooklyn this summer: just open it anywhere and go!”
Hyperallergic: “A Documentarian of Brooklyn’s Underground Creative Culture”
“The book reads like a field guide to the underground creative culture of the borough—and like a love letter to it, from one of its biggest appreciators.”
Untapped Cities: “5 Quintessential Creative Venues in Brooklyn from New Book Brooklyn Spaces”
“Brooklyn Spaces is a love letter to a type of creative culture that has been thriving in Brooklyn, but is not necessarily distinct to it.”
The L Magazine: “50 Books You’ll Want to Read This Spring & Summer”
“A paean to the borough’s current cultural climate as well as a testament to the fact that, no matter how much rents have spiraled and no matter how far out onto the fringes Brooklyn’s creative class has needed to go, art finds a way.”
Brooklyn Based: “All Tomorrow’s Parties, and Some of Yesterday’s, in One Book”
“Leckert has become the unofficial record keeper of Brooklyn’s creative, and often fleeting, spaces that house parties, art shows, aerialists, collectives and concerts.”
Brokelyn: “Oriana Leckert shows us BK’s coolest spots that are still standing”
“Oriana documents the eccentricity that keeps this place so darn cool.”
Brooklyn Daily Eagle: “‘Brooklyn Spaces’ compendium reveals diverse array of cultural hot spots”
“[Brooklyn Spaces] presents a vivid slice of life in the borough that has come to be accepted and celebrated as both the incubator and the arbiter of taste.”
Bushwick Daily: “New Book Captures Fleeting Spaces of Brooklyn DIY Culture”
“Oriana truthfully and honestly captured the spirit of these often ephemeral spaces creating a time capsule of Brooklyn DIY culture.”
Greenpointers: “‘Brooklyn Spaces’ Will Show You Where the Fun Is”
“Cultural hipstorian and author Oriana Leckert’s book dips into boat clubs, biology labs, supply stores, art galleries, raves, and collectives of all kinds across the borough.”
Arts in Bushwick: “Oriana Leckert’s Places of the Heart”
“The book takes us inside fascinating post-industrial structures in various states of decay, but its true subject is how these spaces inspire art—a search for the soul that makes each setting sacred.”
Sweet words from wonderful folks at Blazenfluff, Manhattan Users Guide, Abandoned NYC (“The [50!] places profiled in the book show the authentic, human side of the global phenomenon that is ‘Brooklyn cool’”), and Nonsense NYC (“The book is a surprisingly rare thing, an inventory of a moment in time featuring several beloved Brooklyn venues and DIY spaces that have already disappeared”)
At Monacelli Press →
At Random House →
At Thought Catalog (ebook) →
* I was invited to be a radio show guest on Gimme Tinnitus on 1/17. Listen here.
* I will be appearing on a podcast, “In Which We Reveal Our Ignorance,” to discuss the “patriots” in Oregon and DIY in Brooklyn, on Jan 9th. All the fun is archived here.
* I will be giving a lecture as part of New York Obscura Society’s Obscura Talks, on 12/02 at Unnameable Books.
* I will be a featured writer in the discussion series The Hustle at Word Books on 11/15.
* I will be speaking on the Brooklyn Book Festival panel “Brooklyn Spaces & Places” with Fodor’s Editor in Chief Arabella Bowen and Carlo Scissura, CEO and President of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, on 9/20!
* I will be a guest judge at Open Source Gallery’s 8th Annual Soap Box Derby on 8/29!
* I will be moderating a TEDxBushwick panel discussion about “collaborative creation” on 8/12 at Lot 45.
* The latest episode of WFUV’s Cityscape with George Bodarky is all about Brooklyn Spaces! The episode is available online here.
* I’ll be speaking on a Kickstarter panel about DIY music venues on 7/25. The conversation will address the role of venues in revitalizing music scenes, how to establish new spaces for live music, and the ways emerging spaces are transforming the landscape for musicians and fans alike.
* Sarah Miller of 1010WINS interviewed me about the book on her show!
* 5/30: Launch party
The launch party was a marvelous, smashing, flaming success! The folks at Brokelyn were kind enough to give me a platform to write it up—please check out the post, which includes marvelous pix from Bk Spaces photogs Walter and Michael.There was also great press both before and after the party: Brokelyn said “you should definitely show face if you want to call yourself a true Brooklynite,” Brooklyn Paper praised its eclectic performers, and Brooklyn Based called it “the mother of all book launches.”
5/18: GoodReads giveaway
Want to win a signed copy? There are 10 on offer. Head here to enter!