Recently, there was an Open Studios event down in Industry City, a complex of large warehouses that have been recently renovated and revitalized thanks to the numerous small businesses that have made their home there. I’ve visited once before for a crafts fair about two years ago but all I managed to see was the ground floor of one building and its courtyard. Many businesses took part in the Open Studio day so we were able to walk around most of the buildings in the complex.
Our first stop was to the visitor center which fortunately was in the same building as what I really wanted to see, the Food Hall. Wandering around the corridors and looking into the various shops (bakeries, cafes, etc.) reminded me a lot of Chelsea Market, before all the hype and tourists took over. There was one particular shop I wanted to visit but alas, it wasn’t open that day so no sweets for me.
So instead, we began with the main building, headed up the stairs and worked our way down from floor to floor. There were plenty of artists’ studios spaces and many of them invited visitors in to come chat and have a snack or drink (there was plenty of alcohol available). For me, some of the more interesting tenants were Knot and Bow and Soho Letterpress; I loved wandering among all the paper, ink and craft supplies.
We went from one building to the next, though there were less open studios in the other buildings; many of them were still under construction in the courtyard and on various floors. Sometimes, we had to take detours within buildings to get from one end to the other due to all demolitions and renovations going on.
Even the exteriors of the buildings were fascinating to look at. On the roofs were the remains of old water towers, with only the bases remaining since there are more modern ways to extinguish fires. The fire escapes around the courtyard may or may not be in use (I read an article recently about trying to rid the city of them) but they looked lovely with fresh coats of paint and add to the charm of these buildings.
And one should envy the large windows. Though the view is less than impressive from the west, where one sees the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, there are fabulous views of New York Harbor from the east.