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JOEL Joel's Blog

A Visit to the New MakerSpace NYC at the Brooklyn Army Terminal


The courtyard of building 'B' is colossal. MakerSpace NYC is off to the right.
The courtyard of building 'B' is colossal. MakerSpace NYC is off to the right.

Last week I visited my friend Annie Raso at the new MakerSpace NYC at the Brooklyn Army Terminal. Annie, who used to work for TFWW and has taught classes here, is now their new shop director.

The Brooklyn Army Terminal is a huge, multi-building complex built by the US Army after World War I as a warehouse depot. After a brief heyday in WWII, it was largely abandoned for years, until the City of New York bought it and rehabilitated the buildings for modern light manufacture.

About two years ago the City decided to use some of the space for a maker space to educate a new generation of makers; train craftspeople; and provide a venue for budding makers. The first public/private partnership that operated the space fell over two weeks after it opened, and the maker space was closed as the City looked for management. Recently MakerSpace NYC, which runs a large maker space in Staten Island, was given the nod and the keys to make the Army Terminal a success.

The space is very large (20,000 sq feet), and probably the best equipped makerspace of any kind on the East Coast. The equipment is new, organized, and spread out over a comfortable amount of room.

Currently MakerSpace NYC is busy getting all the equipment sorted and starting classes up. A lot of their classes so far have been apprentice training, mostly metalwork, for entry level craftspeople. As you can see from the photos below, their equipment covers a wide range of crafts and materials. Probably their best coverage is in the metal shop -- with two welding setups, two CNC milling machines, multiple traditional lathes and mills, and a waterjet machine. To use these machines you need to become a member or get a day pass and pass qualifying tests on the machines.

The woodshop is very well set up for modern work, with two CNC routers along with the traditional machines. Although bench space is limited, there is plenty of room to work in the main space right outside the wood shop.

On the modern side, they have multiple laser cutters (not metal cutting) and both resin and filamant 3D printers. This is a real area of strength for them.

They have an area for fabric arts, which has a bunch of high-end sewing machines and a CNC 10 color embroidery machine.

The address is 58th and 1st Avenue in Brooklyn. There is a fair amount of parking around. The R and N trains are about 3 blocks away. And there is a ferry that stops their too.

Click here for details on MakerSpace NYC‘s classes, how to join, and how to schedule a tour.

We wish MakerSpace NYC great success in this venture. Having the right tools and space in which to make things is a major challenge - especially for apartment dwellers in our space-challenged city. It's also nice to have a community to share ideas and company. Maker Spaces offer real opportunities to creative people who want to create.


Just a few of the traditional manual metalworking machines.
Just a few of the traditional manual metalworking machines.

Metal lathes and one of their two CNC mills
Metal lathes and one of their two CNC mills

The back of the woodshop
The back of the woodshop

A better view of the woodshop
A better view of the woodshop

More woodshop
More woodshop

Even more woodshop
Even more woodshop

About half of the 3D printer setup
About half of the 3D printer setup

Lasers - lots of them
Lasers - lots of them

The CNC embroidery machine
The CNC embroidery machine

A view of Building 'A'
A view of Building 'A'

Join the conversation
09/04/2019 Tony Sade
That does it! I'm moving to Brooklyn, or anywhere in the vicinity. Thanks for the write up, Joel.

Tony Sade
10/23/2019 kelly van den broek
Dear Joel,
Thank you for shearing this with us. I think it is great what they have done. I never heard from it before. But it sounds really interesting. We don’t have something like this in The Netherlands I think. I am learning for woodworker. I love to make things out of wood. I think you can make amazing things out of wood. Things that are unique. Because if you want to make two of the same thing out of wood, it always looks different. Every pace of wood is different. Nothing is the same. I hope they make amazing thing there.
10/24/2019 Alias
wow, this is an amazing space. I always dreamed of something like this. I love company and specially with people with the same interest. I liked how they organized is for the people with less space at home. Now those people can still do what they like to do. At our school in the Netherlands we have a school lab that is a room where we can make things with modern equipments. We use a laserprinter and a 3D printer all for nothing. This is very nice form the school it makes it easier to try new tools.
Thanks for sharing this information with us.
10/24/2019 josephine
Dear Joel,

I do not fully understand what it is. Is it an education? Or is it a company? In the Netherlands we have a makerspace but that is different. You can rent a little place so you can have an affordable workshop. The fun of it is that you have a lot of different professionals in one warehouse. Together you can get more machines and more amazing solutions for problems. They are very progressive in the creative filed. They give workshops too. Thanks for sharing your blog about this place. It would be nice to see some things they made. Can I find it somewhere?
10/29/2019 melvin flach
Thank you for sharing this story with us. It is good to read that old buildings are being revived from the state they were. We does not have something like that in the Netherlands. but I think that they must make something like that here, because some of the people does not know how to work with some of those machines and can then learn how to work with them. At the school I attend, they have too some laser cutters and some 3D printers and it is very easy to work with. We also have a cnc machine and those machines are the future of making things.
10/31/2019 Floris Plazier
Hello Joel,
Nice to see how a building that was once completely bare and empty can be build up into a big workplace. It is also good to offer the opportunity to work here for several people. And not to mention the workload that you have, really great. What I still like to see is the things you actually make with those beautiful machines.
Thank you for sharing.
10/31/2019 Naomi den Hoedt
It is amazing that an old historic building has been given such a funtional new purpose. I would love to have a space like this close by. Here in the Netherlands we do have MakerSpaces, but most of them are focused on either wood or metal and not both. It would be amazing to have an area to weld and to learn more metal working techniques without a whole fulltime education attached to it. At the moment I am studying to become a woodworker and at my school we do have a space with 3D printers and laser cutters. It is great to learn to work with these machines of the future and to combine the techniques in wooden furniture. Thank you for sharing the story of this amazing MakerSpace and I am sure that beautiful thing will be made in the MakerSpace.
10/31/2019 Monica Heijnsdijk
First of all, it is wonderful that a place like this exists! It’s a place you have the freedom to craft whatever you want. My only question how much does a membership or day pass cost. I love the idea of an old building being bought by the state and then made into a public place for everyone. If we do this enough we no longer have all those awful empty buildings. In addition, look at all the machines they inhabit, 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC’s, worktables, metal machines and a CNC embroidery machine. I love it!!!
11/01/2019 Chris
Thanks for sharing this nice project.

It is amazing that they made a wonderful workplace from a empty historic building. In The Netherlands we dont have a space like this. It would be nice if we get one. On our school we have a lab. That a space where we have a lasercutter and some 3d printers. If we get something like that in an building whats currently empty then it would be great.

Thanks for sharing this amazing blog and keep up the good work!
11/04/2019 Youri Zoetmulder
Looks like you can really do everything there! I have some knowledge of both metalwork and woodwork so I could really find my place there. Also great to see how they refurbished an old building and made something usefull out of it. I also think I saw this building in a movie a watched a couple of weeks ago.
11/04/2019 Joas Hoogendijk
Dear Joel,

It looks really nice the MakerSpace NYC. I think you had a great time over there. I recognize the building from some movies. Last week I have seen the film Joker and the building also appeared there, so that’s than funny that the MakerSpace NYC sits in there.

In the Netherlands I sit on a school that looks similar with that. It only had no metal department, because it is only a wood and interior consultant school. But I like the fact that the city made a vocational school of it. These days, especially in here, it is important to have good qualified people for the work. So I fully support it.
11/04/2019 Colin SDW
Dear Joel,

Wow they've got a nice workspace there.
MakerSpace NYC really overdid themselves here, brand new machinery for metalworking and woodworking!
It's really nice that the city and MakerSpace NYC worked together to provide such a great working space to educate new makers and to train craftspeople. Here in the netherlands we've got dedicated schools for that with all the extra classes like english and maths, So it's nice to see MakerSpace NYC giving people the opportunity to learn woodworking and metalworking first-hand!
11/06/2019 Dionne
Thanks for sharing your blog. It is a beautiful creation that you can be proud of.

I think it is a nice initiative that they have created a workplace for beginning makers. because of this they can learn so much. It is also very appealing to me that it is such an old and historic building! You don't just expect that. We also have these spaces at school. Here we can use the cnc, laser cutter, 3D printer and much more. I also use this a lot because you can learn a lot and it stimulates your creativity. So I'm all for it! And hope that many more of these spaces can be opened in the future!
11/06/2019 Jonathan
Hi Joel,

That's a very nice and well put together workspace. I like how they invested in the best machines they possibly good get. You are not always working with such nice machines when you are in class. On our school in the Netherlands we also have a lab were we can use a 3d printer or use a laser cutter. The rest of all the machines on our school ar woodworking machines and not metal working machines. But anyway, I like the setup a lot and I like how they use an old building to use is their home and school for new education. Keep up the good work, Jonathan.
11/06/2019 Rianne van Wijck
Dear Joel,

Thanks for sharing this. I really like the concept of this makerspace. A building turned in to a place for everyone to work with the machines. We do not have that kind of workspace in the Netherlands that I know. It is a little different here. You have to hire a small workspace and you can use the machines together, you have to buy them together. But it’s not like anyone can go in there and use the machine after a test. But it made me wonder, what if you fail this test? Is there someone in the building available to teach you how to use the machine? Not everyone knows how this works. Anyway, its really interesting to see all these different workshops together under one roof. Wood and metal and many other materials and technics. Must be a great environment for creators.
11/07/2019 Noah Dirksen
Well, this place is large. I never thought that people would use such a large place for something like this. To be fair though, with all the different machines you got there you can teach many things to new people. And then, these people can go on to have jobs, make money and most importantly of all. Make the world a better place. Sadly, I won’t be going there any time soon since I live very far away from Brooklyn. But for everybody who does decide to take one of these classes or memberships or whatever it is, always make sure to have fun in the things you do.
11/07/2019 Tim Wennekes
Hello Joel, how good to give an old building that had been abandoned for so long, new chances. Here in the Netherlands we also have to pass some kind of test to be able to work with such machines.

I had heard about makerspace once before, but never as extensive as in NYC. Through the photos I can see what a beautiful workshop has been made in the building and I certainly want to come by someday, when I come to the states again.

Thanks for sharing and good luck in the future.
11/07/2019 Metin
Wow what a place this is! I love it that you can do everything there. That wood an metal are combinated with eachother.
I do not know al lot over metal, but i like to learn more about it. The place looks beautiful an very big. I like to work there my self. Thank you for sharing this great story!

11/07/2019 dorus stoop

its so good to see that the building is in use again. it would be such a bummer if they never did something about it. i also think its good that they made it into a workplace, so people can really do their own things there. also because the building is so big there can be a lot of people in there and they can learn all sorts of things. there are a lot of nice machines in that building. i hope they get used a lot.
11/07/2019 swagtor69420
thanks for sharing it one of a kind place with the whole wide world. but there is one thing which is not clear to me and that is if its a place that hosts events or if it is just Always open and there are Always people there to talk to.

the place look really clean and really cool if there is any chance in this life i have before me to go to makerspace i will do all that i can to go to there but i am sad to say that i live in holland and this place is probebly out of reach for me
11/08/2019 Tymen SV
It is great to see how they have given such an old and abandoned place a new good look and new use. I can tell that it is mainly focused at metalwork and thats okay. It really is a nice place where u can get into woodworking and metalworking. Everything is nicely organized and well put to getter this place has definitely a bright future. The fact that this shop has two smaller CNC’s is amazing. I can see how people can get motivated by working here and are able to create a new passion. Thanks for sharing this and keep up the good work!
11/08/2019 nand bovendeaard
Hi Joel what a great idea to renovate an abandoned building like that.
I like how you invested in the best machines only, compared to my school where we only have 3D printers and laser cutters.
and woodworking machines we don't have any metal working machines like that.
But i like what you have done with the place, also the workshops are a great idea you have the space for it so why not.
I hope it will be a succes.
And maybe visit the building in the future.

Thank you for sharing this and good luck.
11/08/2019 Rick jongeneel
Hello Joel,
The Maker Space NYC looks really nice. I think you can have an amazing time there. I really hope something like this also pops up in the Netherlands. It is really nice to share the same hobby with other people.

It is amazing that they use an old building to create something nice like this project. It is a huge place, I think your very lucky with it. On the photo’s it look really nice, I have never heard of it before but I like to visit this place sometime.

Keep going with your blogs I like it!
11/15/2019 maitreya wit
Dear joel,
It looks like a very nice workspace to investigate and experiment with new technologies I would really like to visit someday and spend time working on a really cool project by using all kinds of techniques, I really like that you are using some of the best machines. I also think its very cool that you did al of this in a old and empty space, you guys basically gave the place a new purpose. Great job!
Maitreya wit
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The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the blog's author and guests and in no way reflect the views of Tools for Working Wood.