DIY venues are a difficult subject in New York City
. They’re beloved, wanted, and an integral part of the culture, and yet many of them are closing down or being forced to relocate. The waterfront of Williamsburg, Brooklyn used to be filled with DIY venues, but now, with rising rents and changing neighborhoods, not so much. But the scene is still alive and thriving, so here’s a list of places that are still going strong.
Secret Project Robot
A prime example of what’s happening to many DIY venues – Secret Project Robot was first located on the Williamsburg waterfront, relocating to Bushwick, and now, after this summer, it will be moving again. It’s a notorious venue for its shows and parties, and the variety of shows hosted there is endless. Everything from ‘surrealist dinner parties’ to the first ‘NYC porn festival,’ Secret Project Robot is a place where anything goes.
Secret Project Robot, 389 Melrose Street, Brooklyn, NY, USA, +1 917 860 8282
Nightclub, Bar, Contemporary, none
In a world that’s struggling to hang on, Trans-Pecos is a newcomer to the scene. It was opened by Todd Patrick (the Godfather of DIY venues), and it’s meant to be a space open to everyone. Artists of all types plus locals from the neighborhood are more than welcome, and the space includes a coffee shop, work areas, yoga space, and, of course, performance areas.
Trans-Pecos, 915 Wyckoff Ave, Ridgewood, NY, USA
Founded in 2009 and still going strong, Shea Stadium in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn is a mainstay of the DIY scene. The space records all of their shows, and many are available for streaming on their website, but definitely make it out to the venue as the energy in the space is what makes this place special. But if you can’t, one of Shea Stadium’s goals is to bring the true and natural representation of a band performing to the masses, and you can find it on their website.
Shea Stadium, 20 Meadow St, Brooklyn, NY, USA
ABC No Rio
Library, Shop, Art Gallery
ABC No Rio
As these venues get pushed farther and farther out of the city, ABC No Rio remains one of the last DIY venues in Manhattan. Along with its epic punk shows, ABC No Rio has a zine library, a darkroom, and a print shop, and its goal is to maintain the avant-garde culture for which the Lower East Side was once known.
ABC No Rio, 156 Rivington Street, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 254 3697
Shows at 538 Johnson are only really publicized by word of mouth (there is a Facebook page where sometimes shows might be listed, but not often), so you’ll have to do some digging to find out what’s on. Once there, you’ll find yourself in a less formal venue than some others on this list. This is an actual loft (where people live) with a crowd of punk-lovers getting rowdy.
538 Johnson, 538 Johnson Ave, Brooklyn, NY, USA
The Silent Barn is a beloved independent art and music space, as it’s been around for over a decade. Like other venues of its kind, their goal is to support underground artists and provide shows for all ages. After a fire in 2015, Silent Barn struggled to rebuild, but they’ve come back and remain a pillar of the DIY scene.
Silent Barn, 603 Bushwick Ave, Brooklyn, NY, USA, +1 929 234 6060