There are spaces like Oakland’s “Ghost Ship” all across New York City. There’s Bushwick’s Silent Barn, a collective that hosts performances, readings and community gatherings. Just last year, a fire broke out destroying one of the rooms in the Silent Barn, but fortunately nobody was hurt.
Nearby, there’s the Market Hotel, which is working toward becoming a more legitimate venue – despite being temporarily shut down over a liquor license snafu – and plenty of other spaces of a similar ilk.
Cities leave the grassroots arts behind when money comes in. For every Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, there needs to be a spot like the Silent Barn.
New York City’s do-it-yourself music scene began to wane a few years ago, but it was spaces like the Silent Barn and Market Hotel and others that supported it, and now they need help of their own.
The city needs to reach out to help these venues make sure everything is up to code, while reducing the costs associated with that process by providing grants for renovations or easing application fees.
The city should be making these spaces safe, while ensuring that gentrification doesn't push them out once they become more mainstream.
We need to find a way to preserve New York City’s smaller arts scene instead of ignoring it, or the tragedy in Oakland will be one that hits very close to home.