MADE IN AMERICA: The 500-capacity Brooklyn Made, which opened in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn in fall 2021, is expanding with two new, larger venues across the street. (Gothamist / Scott Heins)
In a city as cutthroat as New York, it’s hard to find ways to stand out.
The options for a night out are endless, given there are dozens of shows on any given day. Promoter Anthony Makes, owner of the recently opened Brooklyn Made, located in the hip Bushwick neighborhood, was determined for his venues to stand out.
After working at both AEG and Live Nation, where he served as president of its New York City outpost, he wanted to set off on his own, so he built a pool on top of his venue, providing panoramic views of Brooklyn.
From the roof, a person can see all the way across to Manhattan, Queens and even the Atlantic.
The venue opened in late 2021. Still coming out of COVID, shows weren’t as frequent as they had been pre-pandemic.
New York City was still getting back on its feet.
Despite a market hindered by the Omicron COVID-19 variant, New York prevailed as an entertainment hotspot, and Brooklyn Made still managed to have a successful year.
“First quarter of ‘22 was pretty much a wash for the most part from COVID,” Makes said. “January, February was pretty much wiped out still. Most of it was just a lot of cancellations. Postponements were still going on in March.
“It started getting back and going again, then throughout the year it got stronger and stronger.”
By the time 2022 ended, Brooklyn Made Presents hosted 150 shows, matching their projections.
Last year’s success has Makes feeling confident about his next project. Across the street, Brooklyn Made is building two bigger venues connected with an underground bar.
The plan is to keep growing acts similar to performers at Brooklyn Made across the musical spectrum.
“If we want, we can do bigger capacities of 3,500 combined,” Makes said. “So, if we have big dance club events and we’re using all the stages, we can have a DJ downstairs. We can throw it all together and do big events.”
With Brooklyn Made across the street, the opportunities are plentiful.
To date, Makes has invested $50 million in the project.
Much like Brooklyn Made’s state-of-the-art equipment, utilities (“you name it, we got it”) and swimming pool, the new venue will provide high-end experiences for fans and artists alike.
Brooklyn Made spared no expense on the project, enlisting some of the same contractors, designers and architects who worked on Carnegie Hall, the redesign of the New York Times building and Madison Square Garden’s rebuild.
The project may be taking more time than initially anticipated — Makes is hoping to open both venues in the spring of 2024, but concedes there’s a possibility it may take until fall.
Outside of Brooklyn, the promoter is going strong. Brooklyn Made Presents continues to book Constellation Brands Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center (CMAC) upstate and recently signed a multiyear deal to promote shows at the venue.
They just announced shows with Duran Duran and Kane Brown, with more acts to be announced.
Carving out your own niche in New York City is no small feat, especially for an independent promoter.
Live Nation tours take up much of the arena nights, and AEG Presents programs many of the top clubs and theaters through Bowery Presents.
Still, Brooklyn Made stands on its own.
In a city as old as New York, shiny new venues are not always easy to come by.
Those with million-dollar sound and light systems that can compete with the best and amenities that make the venue feel more like a luxury hotel for artists passing through encourages people to come visit, Makes said.