Founded in 1861, BAM originally presented shows at 176-194 Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights. That building burned down in 1903 and they have been in Fort Greence since 1906. Brooklyn Academy of Music, aka BAM, has three buildings; the Peter Jay Sharp Building (30 Lafayette Avenue), Fisher Building (321 Ashland Place), and the Harvey Theater (651 Fulton Street).
BAM must be one of the most accessible venues in the whole of New York, given that Atlantic Avenue alone has the 2,3,4,5,B,D,N,Q & R lines as well as the LIRR. Lafayette Avenue (A, C) and Fulton Street (G) are also within a couple of minutes walk.
The Peter Jay Sharp Building (featured image) is home to the Howard Gilman Opera House, which has a capacity of 2,090 as well as the Lepercq Space (which includes BAM Cafe) and Rose Cinemas (which is 4 cinemas in total). Shows in the opera house can be general admission seated (as in the case for Neutral Milk Hotel), which always causes a bit of a mad rush when the doors eventually open!
The Opera House is as grand as you would expect, with a striking Beaux Arts style and 3 seating levels.
The sound is pretty good as well for a largeish room, and managed to cope with Neutral Milk Hotel’s crescendos.
BAM’s box office can be found at the Peter Jay Sharp Building, tickets can also be purchased by phone (718.636.4100) and their website. BAM also has various membership schemes where you can get early access to tickets, invitations to shows, cinema discounts, etc, etc.
I’ve been to the BAM Cafe once, to see the Joy Formidable. The sound was not great and turned into a bit of a muddy mess, but you can tell it’s not particularly setup for loud rock bands. It has a capacity of 350 and is more of a flexible room to cater for different events (the cafe is open for dinner when there is a show at the opera house).
I’ve been to the Harvey Theater once, to see a Richard Dawkins talk, science is the new rock and roll, afterall! The Harvey Theater has a capacity of 874 and appears to be in drastic need of restoration, but by all accounts this is a deliberate “modern ruin” approach. I’m all for being rustic and musty, so as long as the place isn’t actually falling apart then that’s fine by me!
The BAM Fisher building is very much the baby brother, opening in 2012, featuring a 250-seater theater.
BAM, as you would expect, offers a little of something for everyone, perhaps more consistently for some more than others, but no matter what your tastes I suspect you’ll find yourself at one of BAM’s facilities sooner rather than later if you haven’t managed it yet.
Keep up to date with our dedicated BAM listings page.