Williamsburg really is a scene. There is no getting away from the coolness of the place. It has the gritty warehouses inhabited by artists and musicians, it has the new restaurant scene with locavores aswarming, and it has so many entrepreneurial start-ups that Alan Sugar and Donald trump combined would be hard pressed to keep up. Gentrification is also insidiously creeping into the area to the extent that within 10 years it could resemble a caricature of itself.
But there is no need to fret about that right now I just wanted to point out some of its many current plus points so that anyone deciding on visiting NY would not be crazy enough to say, “oh we never made it to Brooklyn”.
Firstly it is a stones throw from Manhattan, simply jump on an L train from 14th Street (look out for all the amusing artwork in the subway) and get out at Bedford and you will be in the heart of Williamsburg. All along Bedford Avenue there are shops, restaurants, galleries and best of all barely a chain store in sight. Head west off of Bedford and it will take you towards The East River Park where these shots are taken from. All along the streets in-between there are interesting shops, cafes and art installations. I stumbled across a great coffee place I had never heard of, called Blue Bottle Coffee. They have a cafe and roastery on site, all totally open so you can see the whole process from bean to cup; that’s a new one for me.
I didn’t even want a coffee but having spent 5 minutes in the place I could not help myself. This turned out to be a bad idea, what with the chocolate tasting I had just come from at Mast Brothers Chocolate and a lack of any lunch I was completely wired until a glass of wine several hours later finally took the edge off. It was, however, still a very good cup of coffee and it only fuelled my desire to explore more.
I walked past some music venues that host both well established artists and the more up and coming, there was Brooklyn Bowl one of the new wave of bowling alleys serving proper food, and artisan beers from the many micro-breweries in NY. There was also The Brooklyn Brewery who offer tours and tasting sessions.
Beyond all these places there are many more of interest, all you need is a little time and you can discover the joys of an energetic, gritty and exciting place delightfully lacking in the sterile monotony of GAP, BODY SHOP,
AMERICAN APPAREL, TESCO F**KING EXPRESS and any other endlessly dull chain stores that are killing every city across the globe.
Ok, rant over and breath……enjoy the pictures.
Monday 13th December
It has just been pointed out to me that on the same day I posted this, Paul Harris of the UK Observer Newspaper published a very similarly themed article, here is the link. OBSERVER WILLIAMSBURG ARTICLE. I promise no collusion, I only read the article the day after it was published.