A day at Industry City, Brooklyn’s new design district


Whimsical artwork and ample public space encourage visitors want to explore Industry City. photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

Until quite recently, Brooklyn didn’t have a design district. Portland, Oregon has had the Pearl District and Los Angeles the Pacific Design Center for decades, but a centralized area for design in Brooklyn has been years in the making. Which is weird, because the Brooklyn aesthetic is so recognizable (and increasingly, passé). People all over the world call the “cool” neighborhood of a city “The Brooklyn of (fill in the blank).” 

But as Brooklyn matures out of its Edison bulb and Mason jar days, Industry City is pointing the way toward a more forward-looking sensibility, attracting homegrown, modern design companies and national retailers, fashion brands and foodies to work and play in Sunset Park. Today this sleek collection of shipping warehouses, stretching from 32nd to 37th Streets, is equal parts design district, start-up campus, indoor marketplace, food hall, and gallery space. You may come for the high-end decor, but you’ll find plenty of events, top-tier food choices, and numerous photo ops that make it easy to spend an entire day here. Here’s where to go when you visit.

The gigantic warehouse spaces at Industry City create perfect showrooms for modern furniture. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

Shop Modern Design

If you come looking for furniture, there is no shortage of great inspiration. With most stores opening at 10am, start your day here and beat the crowds. DWR Outlet has their normal goods (Eames, Eero Saarinen, Herman Miller) all at huge discounts. An ever-rotating selection of overstock, returned, and (in many cases) totally broken home goods mean steep discounts. A chandelier marked “Broken Does Not Work” could be had for $1276, on sale from $1595. For the right electrician, this could be a steal. (DWR Outlet, 219 36th Street, Building 3, Industry City.) Next door, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams’ 10,000 square foot warehouse store displays eco-friendly, US made inventory at 70% off retail price. At the time of my visit, a marble slab table lamp, was marked $262 from a retail price of $788. (Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, 34 35th Street, Building 3, Industry City.)

Brooklyn brands like Eskayel are highlighted at ABC Carpet. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

ABC Carpet’s IC location might be worth the trek on its own for its gorgeous housewares and tablescapes. This isn’t a discount warehouse, although I did spot sales on many brands, including a duvet by my favorite Brooklyn home line, Eskayel, that I almost snatched up. (ABC Carpet, 3906 2nd Avenue, Industry City.) After completing your furniture dream purchases, it’s time to discover wall treatments at this outpost of Flavor Paper, a showroom for their custom hand-screened wallpaper that is featured everywhere in Brooklyn, from the Wythe Hotel to Gran Electrica in Dumbo. (Flavor Paper, Building 5).

The IC Store by Wanted Design is also must stop on your day trip. Featuring smaller housewares and everyday items made right at Industry City (as well as from around the world), it’s a perfect introduction to the local talent. Brooklyn Candle Studio, Egg Collective, Juniper, and Micol Ceramics are among the brands featured. (The IC Store by Wanted Design, 220 36th St., Building 2 Food Hall.)

It wouldn’t be a best of the borough tour without Brooklyn Flea, which has set up a weekend residence in Building 1, 2nd floor through winter. The same great vintage, antique, and modern design is here with an enormous space and your favorite vendors.

International cuisine is served up, so you can literally eat your way around the world…or just stick with three different kinds of pork tacos from Taco Mix. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

Dining and Desserts

Like any great foods hall in Brooklyn, this one has an assortment of international cuisine that will make it hard for even the pickiest eater to settle on one. The set up feels very Chelsea Market, but without the tourists. In fact, with tons of seating to choose from, like communal tables, outdoor seating or a retro dining booth, you won’t end up copping a squat like at some other food hall destinations. There’s plenty to choose from, but of note is the first Brooklyn outpost of Burger Joint (the hidden burger spot in Le Parker Meridien), Kotti Berlin (spiced chicken in a pillowy bread sandwich), Taco Mix (choose between the pork stomach taco, the pork ear taco and the marinated pork taco!) or the IC branch of Yaso Tangbao  for top-notch soup dumplings.

Restaurants like Burger Joint have outposts here, so there’s no need to travel to midtown any longer. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

For dessert, sample One Girl Cookies’ mini whoopie pies, a Blue Marble strawberry ice cream cone or a Li-lac Chocolate confection. Maybe you’re more of a coffee-after-lunch sort of person, and you can certainly indulge with an $18 cup of coffee from Extraction Lab. (Located in Building 5)

Unlike other Brooklyn food halls, the one at Industry City has lots of seating. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

If you’re in the mood to be served, rather than forage, you can always make a reservation at the beautiful, light-filled Filament at the Landing, a sit-down gastropub that serves Chicken Under A Brick or Charred Octopus to a happy hour crowd. (Except Saturday afternoons, when the space is filled with children for Rock and Roll Playhouse’s Free Family Dance Parties.)

All Food Hall restaurants can be found in Building 2.

The Hygge Haus tent is literally the best place to chill out this winter. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

Hygge Vibes and Winter Spirits

Summer at Industry City might look like hitting some minigolf, competitive games of ping-pong and straight chillin’ at The Frying Pan Wheelhouse outdoor bar. But winter at IC is still cool.

Catch the winter vibes in the Hygge Haus, where you can cozy up with a cocktail and a sheepskin blanket. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

The Hygge Haus has to be one of the best winter Instagram settings in Brooklyn. The website calls it “a Scandi-inspired indoor/ outdoor experience designed by David Stark,” but it looks like a large teepee filled with winter cheer. There are evergreen trees, wood stoves, sheepskin-covered chairs, wool blankets, and hanging sleds. Cozy up in a nook and under the twinkling lights with drink in hand, and you’ll understand what hygge is all about. (Food and drink service here is courtesy of the sailing-themed Helm Bar.)

Bar options abound, like The Helm, even without the outdoor Frying Pan summer bar and dance parties. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

For the same vacation feeling with more of a tropical vibe, Bangkok Bar serves up soju in actual whole coconuts. (Bangkok BAR, Food Hall, Building 2.) Or visit The Industry City Distillery tasting room, which is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 4pm-10pm and has the only vodka made in NYC and unbeatable views from their second floor. Feeling extra curious? They even offer behind the scenes tours every Saturday at 3pm. (The Industry City Distillery, 33 35th Street, Industry City.)

If you’d rather take your drink to go, Moore Brothers is an artisanal wine store with an incredible selection of bottles bought directly from sustainable vineyards that has many tasting events to please your palate. (Moore Brothers, 51 35th Street, Industry City.)

And if the day is still young, and you are still relatively sober, take the bus or walk the ten blocks down to Five Boroughs Brewing Co, a friendly hang out with a large selection of beer and board games, plus a very pro-dog policy. (On the day we went, we met an enormous Irish Wolfhound, as well as a handsome pup wearing a bandanna.) (Five Boroughs Brewing Co., 215 47th Street, Sunset Park).

It wouldn’t be Brooklyn without a “made-to-measure” hat store. And this storefront couldn’t be cuter. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

Services and Shops

Industry City isn’t just for imbibing, it also offers up lots of ways of learning, grooming and everyday services. Summer means outdoor yoga classes, dance parties and the Rooftop Film Series, while winter is more about the indoors. The Dedalus Foundation offers a range of arts education opportunities, while Open Studios offers a peek into the artist workshops, and a rotating roster of visual arts are sprinkled throughout the courtyards and buildings, encouraging wandering. Those familiar with The Brooklyn Kitchen in Williamsburg will be happy to see a second location here, offering cooking classes on everything from knife skills 101 to Small Animal Butchery. (The Brooklyn Kitchen, Food Hall, Building 2.)

In the mood for a makeover? Brooklyn’s favorite brand, Steven Alan, currently has a pop-up store of curated classic clothing. (Steven Alan, Building 5, Industry City.)

In terms of accessories, Teresa Foglia has an adorable custom hat shop for one of a kind toppers that are completely made to measure. (Teresa Foglia, 51 35th St, Building 5.)

If you’re feeling more in the mood for grooming, King-of-Kings Barber Shop, will spiff you up in no time with classic cuts, straight razor shaves, and (of course!) beard trims. (King-of-Kings Barber Shop, 4704 3rd Avenue, Industry City.)

A bike self service shop meets cafe is an ingenious idea of two great things that are better together. Photo: @industrycity

Ready to call it a day? You’ll never be caught in IC with a flat tire. Maglia Rosa, a cafe and self-service bike shop, is on hand for the stranded rider. (Maglia Rosa 920 3rd Avenue, Building 6, Industry City.)

Getting There: The Industry City site has a clever map of all the ways to get to the 35-acre site in Sunset Park, including travel times from around NYC.

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