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Quilting class at Brooklyn Brainery
Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson Quilting class at Brooklyn Brainery

Brooklyn Brainery’s second location

This self-described "book club on steroids" expands to Prospect Heights and opens a coworking space.

By Tova Carlin
In 2010, founders Jen Messier and Jonathan Soma launched their first teach-in–meets–book-club endeavor in Carroll Gardens as a response to the expensive and time-consuming evening courses they had encountered at other facilities. In late January, a second Brainery outpost opened in Prospect Heights; in addition to offering a full schedule of tutorials, the location functions as a weekday coworking space. Membership starts at $25 for one day per month (additional days are $20 apiece), and drop-ins are welcome ($25 per day). The new spot, which can accommodate about 20 people, is equipped with Wi-Fi, a printer, free coffee, a lounge area and a kitchen. While the Brainery’s educational offerings now take the form of structured classes, as opposed to the more conversational forums they once were, there is still an open-source aspect to the programming: Anyone can suggest a topic they’d like to learn about, and anyone can offer to teach a workshop. (The more unlikely that your chosen subject is available elsewhere, the more interested the Brainery will be.) Most sessions take place over one evening per week for one to three weeks, and are relatively affordable: Classes start at $10, and a $225 Javascript lesson is the most expensive to date. Upcoming sessions include a history of the Gowanus Canal (Tue 12 6:30–8pm; $11), computer hacking basics (Mar 20 8:30–10pm; $11) and intermediate chess strategy (Wed 6:15–8:15pm, Mar 20–Apr 10; $60). You never know—enrolling in one of them might just lead you toward the same Ouroboros-like adventure that Messier and Soma embarked on three years ago. 515 Court St between Huntington and W 9th Sts, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn • 190 Underhill Ave between St Johns and Sterling Pls, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn •

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