Brooklyn Lyceum has come a long way in the 11 years since owner Eric Richmond purchased the long- abandoned remains of NYC Bathhouse #7 on the corner of Fourth Avenue and President Street in Brooklyn. In true Greek spirit, Richmond and staff have transformed the columned, beaux-arts behemoth into a diverse showcase for the arts, sticking to their mission of restoring artistic vigor to a giant awaking from a long, deep slumber.
That giant was part of a vibrant cultural scene in the early days of the 20th century, a time when Brooklyn was a hub of artistic and economic vitality. The depression put an end to that and began a prolonged period of decline for the Gowanus region. The neighborhood was pretty raw when Eric bought the place, Marc Rosenblatt, a Lyceum staff member recalled over the din of Fourth Avenue traffic at the entrance of the club last month, and this was just another derelict building. Indeed, Fourth Avenue was a place to avoid in 1996. Park Slope's transformation was already underway, but still years away from staking claim to the desolate swaths of land bordering the Gowanus Canal. It took five years to get the building up to code and open to the public.
Directions: R train to Union Street Station