36 Hours in Brooklyn – Cultural (Art)

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36 Hours in Brooklyn, New York

Brooklyn is more than a pit stop to Manhattan. The cultural art forms are usually overlooked.

View from Empire Stores – Photo credit by Laura Ng

View from Empire Stores – Photo credit by Laura Ng

By Laura Ng

May 14, 2019

Abstract expressionism is considered the first artistic movement to make its way from Europe to New York, which sparked the visual art scene in the 1940s to the 1960s. This type of art form was seen as childish, but because of art criticism and political environments at the time, it allowed for conversation and expression during the Cold War. This became the American modern art movement, making New York one of the global centers for an international art market. Manhattan is known for their art galleries and museums in the Upper East Side and their Downtown area, unlike their neighboring borough Brooklyn. Brooklyn has art galleries and culturally artistic places that are overshadowed by tourist attractions that are well known in Manhattan. An area like DUMBO, where you can find Empire Stores is one of many locations that feature different art forms of modern and contemporary art from upcoming artists from Brooklyn.


1) 1:30 p.m. Get a Closer Look

Founded in 2010 by artists Elle Burchill and Andrea Monti, the Microscope Gallery is a contemporary art gallery that features works that involve moving image, sound, performance, and digital art. This gallery is located in Bushwick at 1329 Willoughby Avenue, #2B Brooklyn, NY 11237. Recent past works was Zach Nader’s psychic pictures from April 5 – May 12, 2019, where he addressed the persuasive powers of advertising and how people receive that information. An upcoming work will be featuring Peggy Ahwesh’s work, Cleave, from May 17-June 24, 2019 that features moving image installations.

2) 3:00 p.m. An Experimental Gallery

Located in the same location as the Microscopic Gallery is the Transmitter, a collaborative curatorial gallery founded in 2014 by a curatorial team of artists that focuses on experimental forms of art. There have been past exhibited artists as well as solo artist’s projects. From May 10 – June 16, 2019, the art exhibition Courtesy of is held, a sequel to the past exhibition Stop Making Sense. In this exhibition, members of Transmitter bring in their own art from their collections without telling others what they will bring. This exhibit hopes to bring out the freedom of artists and therefore inspire and influence others. In a way, this shows that art is a free form and art is how one perceives it.

3) 5:00 p.m. A Balancing Act

On the street of Jay Street-Metrotech, The Balanced Cylinder - Photo credit by Laura Ng

On the street of Jay Street-Metrotech, The Balanced Cylinder – Photo credit by Laura Ng

Head over to Jay Street-Metrotech station to take a look at an interesting work of art. You will find a red sculpture that sticks out like a sore thumb. Made of welded steel with a height of 28 feet tall and weighing two tons in front of Starbucks is The Balanced Cylinder by Paul Sisko. Paul Sisko is a contemporary sculptor who uses multimedia of wood, metal and stone and has worked on sculpting for over 30 years. He uses methods of bending, twisting, crushing and even tearing when creating his sculptures, and it is nowhere near easy. His other works are featured in PA and NJ.

4) 5:30 p.m. Fun Art Installations

The inside of one of the art installations at BKLYN Studios, A Primordial Place - Photo credit by Laura Ng

The inside of one of the art installations at BKLYN Studios, A Primordial Place – Photo credit by Laura Ng

Take a 10 minute walk over from Jay Street-Metrotech to 445 Albee Square West and you will find City Point, a mixed-use residential and commercial building. This was one of the winning developments that was proposed in 2004, an in 2016, City Point Tower II was opened. Here at City Point is an event space called BKLYN Studios. The most recent art-installation, A Primordial Place, was held on May 3 – May 4, 2019 from noon to 8 p.m. that featured Selah Marley’s arrangements of flowers, grassy padding, foliage, and a massive tree inside the room. You can sit and lay down on the floors, with the room filled with the fresh scent of nature. The best part is that it’s free to enter! An upcoming event is the New York City Brick by Brick from May 17 – May 19, 2019 from noon to 7 p.m. where you can meet the artist Jonathan Lopes and his LEGOS! rendition of iconic buildings and landmarks in New York City.

5) 6:30 p.m.  Food Galore

The Dekalb Market Hall and one of their seating areas - Photo credit by Laura Ng

The Dekalb Market Hall and one of their seating areas – Photo credit by Laura Ng

Hungry after walking around the event space? No need to exit City Point! Head to the basement level and the Dekalb Market Hall will welcome you. Opened 7 days a week from 7am – 10pm, The Dekalb Market Hall is a lively area with pops of color and hip wall art. This is a great place for a hangout with plenty of seats and tables, and having a choice of over 40 culturally and ethnically diverse vendors. Some vendors you will find here are Katz’s and their famous pastrami hot sandwich ($22.45), Bunker Vietnamese’s Saigon bahn mi ($13), Hana Noodle’s fried hand pulled noodles ($11.75), or even Eight Turn Crepe’s sweet or savory crepes.


6) 10 a.m. Brooklyn Museum

Take the 2 or 3 subway lines to Eastern Parkway Brooklyn Museum and walk one minute from the station to the museum. You can’t miss it! At 560,000 square feet, the Brooklyn museum is one of the largest museums in New York City that contains over 1.5 million works of art. It was first founded in 1823 by Augustus Graham as a library, then became a subdivision of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences until 1970s when it became an independent museum. The Brooklyn Museum is known for their wide collections of various cultures around the world, especially their collections on Egyptian and African art. Tickets for adults are $16, while students with I.D, adults 65 and older, and visitors with disabilities pay $10. It is free for visitors 19 years and under.

7) 1 p.m. Indulge in Expensive Décor

The Dekalb Market Hall and one of their seating areas - Photo credit by Laura Ng

The Dekalb Market Hall and one of their seating areas – Photo credit by Laura Ng

Want to look for a unique artsy gift to give someone, or for yourself? Look no further, as Collier’s West is located at 377A Atlantic Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11217. Although prices are in the higher ranges, do not let that scare you off! Take a step inside and admire artworks and interesting designs throughout the store.  Opened in 2011, this compact store specializes in their handcrafted vintage and antique home furnishings, such as light fixtures, furniture, wall décor, jewelry and cards other small trinkets.

8) 4 p.m. A Chocolate Factory

The entrance of Li-Lac Chocolates - Photo credit by Laura Ng

The entrance of Li-Lac Chocolates – Photo credit by Laura Ng

If you’re feeling tired, recharge yourself with a little bit of sugar at Li-Lac Chocolates. Take the R or D train to 36st station and walk down the avenue towards Industry City. Located within Industry City of Building 4, this chocolate factory uses original recipes from the 1920s and features works of sculptures made out of chocolate. They have been making hand-crafted chocolates for almost 100 years! Before you walk in, there is a wide window for you to view how the chocolates are made, with workers decorating tiny pieces of chocolate. When you step into the store, you are greeted with the smell of sweetness in the air, and the factory and machines that are visible behind the cashier counter. Don’t forget to grab a free sample on your way out!

9) 4:30 p.m. Industry City Food Hall  

Within the Industry City Food Hall is a work of art featuring an artist - Photo credit by Laura Ng

Within the Industry City Food Hall is a work of art featuring an artist – Photo credit by Laura Ng

Industry City is a historic shipping and warehousing complex in the Sunset Park neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY. Originally named the Bush Terminal founded in the early 1900s, it was used as a navy base covering almost 200 acres of land, going through a decline after World War II. Around 2013, it was rebranded as Industry City. Today, this complex is only made up of 35 acres but is very successful due to diverse businesses surrounding artisans and garment manufacturing. Due to it being successful, Industry City has grown and further expanded businesses. A food court was created for workers within the area and soon incorporated artworks such as wall art, art installations, and large sculptures around the complex. At the Industry City Food Hall located in Building 2, there is a variety of mini eateries to choose from. Head to Ends Meat for their sweet and sour short ribs ($8), Avocaderia for their burrata sunshine salad bowl ($13.45), or grab an intense ginger mint julep at Barrow’s Intense Ginger.

10) 7:00p.m. Take a Stroll through Art

By the late 20th century, there was a new wave of immigrants and Bushwick became predominately Hispanic. In the mid-2000s, New York City and State started a program called the ‘Bushwick Initiative’ to help improve the lives of residents. Since 2000, many artists moved into these renovated buildings and thus flourished an artist community. Bushwick has many art studios and galleries throughout the neighborhood and that can be seen in the Bushwick Street Art Collective with over 100 blocks of graffiti art by local and non-local artists. Take the L train to Jefferson Avenue and walk about 8 minutes from the station. You can take a stroll on your own or take an outdoor tour that starts at Jefferson Street and ends at Saint Nicholas Avenue with a pay-what-you-like price.

11) 12 a.m. Drinks and Board Games

Swing by The Exley Bar located by the Brooklyn-Queens Highway in Williamsburg at 1 Jackson St, Brooklyn, NY 11211 for their chic and relaxed vibe. Although this bar aimed to be a place for artists and writers, do not hesitate to go even if you are not one. When you enter the bar, you will be greeted with a large mural, a yellow and blue oil painting. With only a couple of tables and seating, this small spot has its own comfort with decorative walls and board games placed neatly on the shelves. You can play with the board games, but be sure to put them back! At this bar, they have interesting cocktail names such as Penicillin (scotch, ginger honey, lemon, laphroaig for $12), or All Choked Up (white rum, cynar, choke berry, lemon for $10).


12) 11 a.m. Cheap Deals

If you are looking for vintage clothing, handmade arts or crafty items for a cheap price, the Artists and Fleas Market is the place to go. Located in Williamsburg at 70 N 7th street, Brooklyn, NY 11249, it is only opened on the weekends. You can take the G train to Metropolitan Avenue and transfer to the L train and get off at Bedford Avenue station. From there it is a 5 minute walk. This indoor market has over 75 sellers that creates a hip vibe that attracts trendy individuals as well as creative entrepreneurs. If you are lucky, you might find something you like and can take it home as souvenirs.



The NU Hotel (queens bed/room start at $175, king bed is $193) is a boutique hotel located at 85 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 and is accessible to many train stations (2, 3, 4, 5, A, B, C, D, F, G, M, N, and R). Out of 93 rooms, some of them feature an artist’s work, where these rooms are called NU perspectives rooms that have a painted mural on one wall. Each standard room has a work desk, mini-bar and a flat-screen HDTV. This hotel provides a continental breakfast, premium Wi-Fi, lobby with all-day coffee, tea and carbonated water, bar and lounge, gift shop, dry cleaning and laundry services and a 24-hour fitness center.


Reference List

Florencio, J. (2016, Sept 23). Abstract Expressionism: how New York overtook Europe to become the epicentre of Western art. the conversation. Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/abstract-expressionism-how-new-york-overtook-europe-to-become-the-epicentre-of-western-art-65820

Microscope Gallery. Microscope Gallery. Retrieved from https://microscopegallery.com/about/

Transmitter. Transmitter. Retrieved from http://www.transmitter.nyc/

Sisko, P. Retrieved from http://www.paulsisko.com/html/letter.htm

City Point (2019). City Point. Retrieved from https://citypointbrooklyn.com/events/

Dekalb Market Hall. Retrieved from https://www.dekalbmarkethall.com/vendors/

Retrieved from https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/about

Collier’s West. Collier’s West. Retrieved from https://collierwest.com/

Retrieved from https://www.li-lacchocolates.com/

Retrieved from https://industrycity.com/food-drink/

Satow, J. (2014, Jan 17). Industry City, the Soho of Sunset Park. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/19/nyregion/industry-city-the-soho-of-sunset-park.html

Church, I. Retrieved from https://freetoursbyfoot.com/bushwick-graffiti-bushwick-collective/

Retrieved from https://www.theexley.com/

Retrieved from https://www.artistsandfleas.com/williamsburg/

Retrieved from https://www.nuhotelbrooklyn.com/

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