Not be be confused with City of Industry, the Harvey Keitel movie.
IC is the term used to describe a series of large warehouse type buildings on the south Brooklyn waterfront in between the Gowanus expressway and the harbor. Over the years some of those buildings have fallen into disuse while others contain thriving businesses. Over the past 5 years all of them have attracted new investment.
There is an effort underway to turn a major portion of it into a mini Williamsburg. Small artsy shops have sprung up. There is now a food hall selling artisinal tacos and avocado treats. There are galleries and artists in residence. You get the picture.
The entire development is very much a work in progress. You'll see breezy Internet articles that make it seem that there are exciting things to see and do there. The reality, today, is somewhat underwhelming. Let me give you some examples.
Back in the fall of 2015 I saw an article saying that Brooklyn Flea was going to relocate to Industry City for the winter. We love BF so we made a point of attending the market's opening weekend. It was embarrassing. The number of vendors was about 20% of what you'd see at the original BF. And while the space is vast, everything was so spread out that there was no synergy. Vendors were hundreds of feet away from each other. There were supposed to be galleries displaying artwork but they were in different buildings and their locations were poorly marked and many of them were not open. The whole thing shrieked Not Ready for Prime Time.
Move ahead 18 months. Last week I saw an article about a collaborative light sculpture artwork at a gallery in Industry City. We attempted to see it Saturday. It was impossible to find. We did see lots of signs of progress, however. The number of shops has tripled and a number of others are under construction. Things are happening here.
But the whole operation still reeks of disorganization. Navigating a sprawling series of buildings is difficult. It's hard to find things and there is an almost a perverse lack of information. There ought to be maps showing where the various shops and galleries can be located. Unfortunately there are only a handful and the print is ridiculously small. We saw that there was a kitchen supply place located 3 buildings away and decided to check it out. We wandered from building to building moving in the correct general direction.
Finally we saw another map. Here's where it gets good. The text was right side up but the map was upside down. Imagine a map of the United States - Florida appears in the bottom right hand corner. Now imagine that map flipped where Florida now sits in the upper left hand side. It was bizarre.
(We eventually found the kitchen supply place. It was aimed at actual restaurants, not consumers.)
In spite of their obvious teething pains this place is eventually going to come together and good things are going to come. There's too much money being poured into the complex for it to fail. And while the location might appear remote it's a 15 minute subway ride from Park Slope and a 10 minute walk from the 36th St. station on 4th Ave.
I'm going to check in on Industry City about every 4 months to see how things progress. In the meantime if you read another of those sunny articles telling you about how IC is the next "happening" place you may want to take it with a grain of salt.