Monster Island’s artists forced to move as W’burg goes residential

Monster Island, a group of performance spaces and studios in a dilapidated commercial building on the Williamsburg waterfront, is closing its doors this month after the landlord decided to redevelop the property, the New York Times reported. The closure is just the latest in a stream of broader changes in the neighborhood, residents and local musicians bemoaned, where new condominiums are taking the place of warehouses, and upscale restaurants have popped up on streets that once housed only underground clubs.

“Scenes have life cycles,” said Sam Hillmer, a saxophonist with the trio ZS, at a block party to mark the end of an era last Saturday night. “It’s like passing a torch. You have a couple decades, a decade, half a decade, whatever. Then somebody else picks it up.”

The operators of art spaces such as Secret Project Robot say this isn’t the end of the road for them.

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SPR, for example, is relocating to Melrose Street in Bushwick, its operators said.

Monster Island isn’t the only artistic hideaway to be forced to close in recent months. In the last 18 months, the Market Hotel in Bushwick, Brooklyn and the Silent Barn in Ridgewood, Queens have also closed up shop.

In the last two weeks, it was also reported that Monster Island’s arts center is closing due to rising property prices. An unsubstantiated rumore was floating around that a Whole Foods was taking its place. [NYT]

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