Best Brooklyn art bayou (2008)

Issue Project Room

The Issue Project Room is a converted oil tank on the banks of the Gowanus Canal. A round space about 35 feet in diameter, it hosts experimental music and other performances. The vibe on the site is magical. Pass through the wrought-iron gate and find yourself in a thicket of black-eyed Susans, weeds, and ailanthus trees that could be in Alabama or Berkeley but for the downtown Brooklyn skyline visible to the west. Operating as an art space since the spring of 2003, the concrete tank (there are two, actually; the taller one houses artists' studios) includes a bar, bathroom, "green room," and kitchen on the ground floor. Up an external flight of metal stairs is a bare circular chamber containing composer Stephan Moore's 16-channel hemispherical speaker system and some pretty lively acoustics. The view from the second-floor space is very 1941: a speedboat parked on the property, a houseboat floating on the canal, great old warehouses in the middle distance, and a tin-roofed shed separating the lot from the street. Get on the mailing list, rent the place for a party, discover your new favorite theremin player. If it's been raining, bring insect repellent.


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