In a move that has greater symbolic significance than mere real estate hopscotch, Galapagos Art Space, the pioneering bar and performing arts space that helped put Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on the cultural map, is moving a few neighborhoods down the East River, to Dumbo.
Galapagos, which has played host to a broad array of New York's musicians, dancers, theater artists, performance artists, fine artists and burlesque dancers during its 12-year existence, is scheduled to move into the space, a 102-year-old, 10,000-square-foot former horse stable at 16 Main Street, in the spring or summer of 2008.
Read the rest. DUMBO (that's Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, for you non-New Yorkers) was a haven for artists in the 1970's, until rising rents forced them out. With the same pattern now repeating itself in Williamsburg, it's more than a bit ironic that the real estate giant most associated with DUMBO's gentrification is now poaching arts venues from Williamsburg.
That said, with spaces for creative music and arts in NYC rapidly going extinct, it's reassuring to learn that Galapagos will adapt, not die.
UPDATE: It's worth mentioning that the people behind Galapagos are on the front lines of arts advocacy in New York. From their "Galapagos is moving to DUMBO" FAQ:
Last summer two developers walked into the North Brooklyn apartment of our friend and told him he had nothing to worry about - they weren't going to tear down the building he was living in for at least another year. Our friend, a filmmaker, thinks he can't possibly afford to stay in New York, and he's not alone.
The canaries in New York City's real estate gold mine -- its emerging and mid career artists -- are no longer talking about the next show they hope to land, they're talking about an affordable city they can land in once their current lease runs out.
If artists and the best young cultural thinkers think they can't possibly afford to live here then we'd better find ways to make them think they can't possibly afford to live anywhere else.
The only message that can effectively cut through cost is opportunity.
New York's development and cultural policies must become linked. Someone needs to find ways to make partners out of the people building the buildings, and the cultural uses the City needs in them. If we don't incentivize the replacement of the emerging and mid career arts infrastructure that's evaporating in our white-hot real estate market, it won't be built.