This gallery and event space was founded in February 2009 by a group of seven artists who aim to transport visitors back in time. “[The space is] inspired by the 18th-century notion of ‘rational amusement,’” explains cofounder Joanna Ebenstein. It’s also part of a broader artistic renaissance that has transformed the area around the Gowanus Canal from a toxic wasteland to a budding home for urban pioneers: Observatory shares a home with other eclectic groups, including the Museum of Matches and Proteus Gowanus. But what’s most notable about Observatory is its lectures: If you have a hankering to learn about poisons or how to preserve plants, this is the place to be. The events occupy the intersection of history, science and art. The Observatory celebrates the eccentric and nurtures the curious; its oddities delight the eye as well as the mind.
543 Union St
|Cross street:||between Bond and Nevins Sts|
|Opening hours:||Thu, Fri 3–6pm; Sat, Sun noon–6pm|
|Transport:||Subway: F, G to Carroll St; R to Union St|