Williamsburg is a neighborhood in Brooklyn, just one subway stop away from Manhattan, and is bordered to the North by Greenpoint, to the East by Bushwick and to the South by Bedford-Stuyvesant.
In recent years, Williamsburg has transitioned from a traditionally working-class Jewish, Italian and Polish neighborhood into one of America's poster childs for urban renewal and gentrification. North Williamsburg and Greenpoint have become some of New York's hottest areas, with new bars and restaurants popping up every month. South Williamsburg still has a very traditional feel with a large Hasidic Jewish population. The economic downturn after 2008 seems to have slowed down the gentrification process somewhat, especially in Bushwick, where a young, mostly white artist population lives close to a more black and latino population.
These neighborhoods together will give you everything you look for in New York: views, food, people, and plenty to explore. There is something here for every visitor.
- Williamsburg- Take L train from Manhattan to Bedford or Lorimer. The closest water taxi stop is "North Williamsburg" via the East River Ferry. Many restaurants, several popular music clubs and a burgeoning art gallery district. This is now what Greenwich Village used to be - including the artsy scene complete with eclectic galleries and off-beat bars. Have dinner at Sea (N6th & Bedford) and go to the Royal Oak for a drink (N11th & Union).
- East Williamsburg- Centered around the Morgan Ave stop on the L train. Seemingly a desolate industrial area, this neighborhood has surprises around every corner. Try out Roberta's Pizza, which gets its ingredients for its fabulous pizza's from its own rooftop farm, and from befriended urban farms in the area. For a drink, head to The Narrows or King's County. Many of New York's underground warehouse parties are thrown in this area as well. Scour the internet to find where they are exactly.
- Greenpoint- At the northwestern tip of Brooklyn, Greenpoint is the second largest Polish enclave in the United States (after Chicago), but is also home to a sizable Latino population (north of Huron St.) and a growing number of hipsters (see Franklin St.). L Magazine recently called Greenpoint the best neighborhood in all of Brooklyn.
The part that quickly is getting gentrified centers around the Nassau stop on the G train. The traditional Polish part is further up Manhattan Ave and its side streets.
Get Polish food at Karczma (136 Greenpoint Av.), coffee at Ashbox (Manhattan Av. between Ash & Box), brunch at Brooklyn Label (Franklin & Java), Mexican at Acapulco's (Manhattan & Clay). 5 Leaves, on the north-west corner of McCarren park, is one of the best restaurants of the entire city, build up with the estate that Heath Ledger left behind after he passed away.
There are lots of good Polish meat markets along Manhattan and Nassau Avs, too. For some industrial chic, walk down Java Street to its dead end at the East River for great views of Midtown. Nearest subway: G train to Nassau Av. and Greenpoint Av. stations.
- Bushwick- Rich in its own history, Bushwick is home to many brownstones, mansions, and projects alike. As a low-income neighborhood, shopping can be done on Knickerbocker Avenue, whether for clothes, appliances, or food. The newly restored Maria Hernandez Park on Knickerbocker Ave. and Suydam St. is a nice spot to bring the kids and relax in the shade of the trees. While it's not like neighboring "East Williamsburg", Williamsburg, or Bedford-Stuyvesant, Bushwick has its own sense of community, not to be confused with anything else. However violent crime is a still a concern along with the other social problems in the community associated with the high poverty rate.
You can take the J/M/Z trains to Marcy Avenue for south Williamsburg or the L to Bedford Avenue for north Williamsburg. The East River Ferry makes stops in both north and south Williamsburg. The G train also runs through the neighborhood. This general area is served by the Bedford Avenue through Bushwick-Aberdeen stations on the L train and the Marcy Avenue through Chauncy Street stations on the J/Z trains. The M stations from Marcy Avenue through Wycoff Avenue also serve this area. There is a bus station at the Marcy Avenue station and at the Myrtle-Wycoff station in Bushwick.The B39 bus goes over the Williamsburg Bridge along with the J/M/Z trains and goes to the Lower East Side.
- The City Reliquary, 370 Metropolitan Ave (at Havemeyer; Subway: G train to Metropolitan Ave or L train to Lorimer St), ☎ +1 718 782-4842 ([email protected]), . Th 7PM-10PM, Sa-Su Noon-6PM. Small storefront museum with random artifacts from the city's history.
- The Hogar Collection, 362 Grand St (between Havemeyer and Marcy Ave; Subway: L train to Bedford Ave or Lorimer St, G train to Metropolitan Ave, or J/M/Z trains to Marcy Ave), ☎ +1 718 388-5022, . Th-M Noon-7PM and by appointment. The gallery was founded by two artists: Todd Rosenbaum and Cecilia Biagini. According to its website: "The Hogar Collection is a gallery in the flourishing art community of Williamsburg, Brooklyn that represents local and international artists working in all contemporary art-making practices including painting, sculpture, photography, installation, video and sound. The gallery's aim is dedicated to the promotion of new art, dialogues, perspectives, and strives to be a venue that reflects the diversity of our ever changing world."
- Williamsburg Art & Historical Center, 135 Broadway (at S 6th St between Bedford and Driggs; Subway: J/M/Z trains to Marcy Ave), ☎ +1 718 486-7372 (, [email protected]), . Sa-Su noon-6PM. Housed in the former Kings County Savings Bank Building, constructed in 1867. Features art exhibitions and displays of historical art and artifacts.
- The Brick, 575 Metropolitan Ave (at Lorimer; Subway: G train to Metropolitan Ave or L train to Lorimer St), ☎ +1 718 907-6189, . A former garage, The Brick is home to cutting-edge independent theater, The New York Clown Theater Festival, and an annual themed festival each year (past themes included the Moral Values Festival and the $ellout Festival). Tickets are an affordable $15.
- Knitting Factory, 361 Metropolitan Ave (at the corner of Havemeyer and Metropolitan; Subway: L train to Bedford Ave, J/M/Z trains to Marcy Ave), ☎ "+1, . Door times usually at 7PM or 8PM. Bar open Mon-Fri 5PM to late, Sat + Sun 12PM to late. The legendary New York concert club moved from Manhattan to Williamsburg in 2009. Check a diverse blend of live music, comedy, and special events. Main room events are all ages, bar events 21+.
- Death by Audio, 49 S 2nd St (between Kent and Wythe; Subway: L train to Bedford Ave, J/M/Z trains to Marcy Ave, or G train to Broadway), . door times usually at 8PM. All-ages underground music venue. Cheap beers available for the 21+ crowd.
- Glasslands Gallery, 289 Kent Ave (corner of Kent and S 1st St; Subway: L train to Bedford Ave), . One of Williamsburg's many DIY event spaces. In the last couple of years it has become a direct competitor to the Mercury Lounge in Manhattan. All events 21+.
- Music Hall of Williamsburg, 66 N 6th St (between Kent and Wythe; Subway: L train to Bedford Ave), ☎ +1 718 486-5400, . Door times usually at 8PM.. Hosts larger indie rock concerts for the 18+ crowd. 600-person capacity.
- Academy Records Annex, 96 N 6th St (between Berry and Wythe; Subway: L train to Bedford Ave), ☎ +1 718 218-8200, . Su-Th noon-8PM, F-Sa noon-10PM. (40.718615,-73.960671)
- Brooklynski, 351 Graham Ave (between Metropolitan and Conselyea; Subway: L train to Graham Ave), ☎ +1 718 389-0924, . Tu-Sa noon-8PM, Su noon-6PM. Named for the Polish phrase for of Brooklyn this is a cool gift shop featuring jewelry, home decor, candles, paper goods and gifts for kids, mostly made by local artists. Pick up a Williamsburg tote bag or Brooklyski-branded t-shirt as a souvenir of Brooklyn.
- Earwax Records, 218 Bedford Ave (at N 5th St; Subway: L train to Bedford Ave), ☎ +1 718 486-3771, . Su-F 11AM-9PM, Sa 11AM-9:30PM.
- Permanent Records, 181 Franklin St (at Huron; Subway: G train to Greenpoint Ave), ☎ +1 718 383-4083, . M-Sa 11AM-9PM, Su 11AM-8PM.
- Fornino, 187 Bedford Ave (at N 7th St; Subway: L train to Bedford Ave), ☎ +1 718 384-6004, . Su-Th noon-11PM, F-Sa noon-midnight. Great wood fired pizza with an inside and an outside seating area near the Bedford Ave L train. They also have pitchers of Sangria,3 types of beers, and wine by the glass and by the bottle. Service is a little inattentive, but the large portions of great food make up for it. Between $8 for a small up to $22 for a large.
- Peter Luger Steak House, 178 Broadway (at Driggs; Subway: J/M/Z trains to Marcy Ave), ☎ +1 718 387-7400, . M-Th 11:30AM–9:45PM, F-Sa 11:30AM–10:45PM, Su 1PM–9:45PM. Rated New York's No. 1 Steak House for 23 years in a row by Zagat! Located near the entrance to the Brooklyn side of the Williamsburg Bridge, this over 100-year-old establishment offers what many connoisseurs consider the best steak in America and it is priced as such. Reservations recommended.
- SEA, 114 N 6th St (at Berry; Subway: L train to Bedford Ave), ☎ +1 718 384-8850. 9AM-6PM daily. In a spacious and lively setting, complete with a reflecting pool and Buddha statues, you'll find what some consider among the best Thai fusion food, especially for the money, though sticklers for authenticity complain the food is too sweet. All of the curries are highly recommended, as are the emerald vegetable dumplings with black plum sauce and the green salad with mesclun, bean sprouts, taro chips and peanut dressing. DJ's join the fray in the evenings.
- Roberta's, 261 Moore St (at Bogart; Subway: L train to Morgan Ave), ☎ +1 718 417-1118, . 11AM-midnight daily. Some of the best pizza in the entire city. Great inside and outside. Ingredients taken from rooftop farms around Brooklyn and Queens. (40.704994,-73.933515)
- Five Leaves, 18 Bedford Ave (at Nassau/Lorimer; Subway: G train to Nassau Ave), ☎ +1 718 383-5345, . 8AM-1AM daily. One of Greenpoint's most popular new restaurants. Great, original food, place with vintage feel and a cocktail bar across the street. Coffee to go sold out the window. This place is very popular, so prepare to wait a little. (40.723553,-73.951622)
- Aka Potion, 248 McKibbin St (between Bushwick and White; Subway: L train to Montrose Ave or Morgan Ave), ☎ +1 718 628-5470, . M 8AM-3PM, Tu-F 8AM-9PM, Sa-Su 9:30AM-11PM. A small neighborhood cafe with gigantic windows which are a lifesaver for the many nearby dwellers of windowless rooms in converted A.I.R. lofts. They rearrange their furniture constantly, sometimes more than once a month. Sometimes brunch, sometimes music. It's unexpected but still comfortable. A traveler would probably feel welcome, but most of the people in here probably live in the gigantic McKibbin Dorms of which Potion occupies a ground-floor spot, or some similar building around the corner. If you've an Aussie accent, or speak French, this might be a good place to get invited to a party. Free wifi.
- Barcade, 388 Union Ave (between Ainslie and Powers; Subway: G train to Metropolitan Ave or L train to Lorimer St), ☎ +1 718 302-6464, . Features at least 30-40 classic 70s and 80s arcade games, all for 25 cents! Also has 20 microbrews on tap and specialty beer nights.
- Goodbye Blue Monday, 1087 Broadway (at Dodworth; Subway: J train to Kosciusko St or J/M/Z trains to Myrtle Ave), ☎ +1 718 453-6343, . M-Sa starting somewhere around 7PM-11PM. A somewhere between a club and cafe Bushwick indie rock and jazz venue for local music junkies, largely college-age, named after a Kurt Vonnegut story. All the various clutter and unorthodox aesthetic jumbles that make up the place are apparently for sale too, so you can take a piece of the experience home with you. They get a good deal of well-known indie rockers here (as well as really out there nonsense), and were awarded the "Best Place to Hear New Music in NYC" award from the Village Voice. Beer, wine, coffee, and WiFi.
- Greenpoint YMCA, 99 Meserole Ave (at Lorimer St; Subway: G train to Greenpoint Ave or Nassau Ave), ☎ +1 718 389-3700 (fax: +1 718 349-2146), . Economy and deluxe rooms daily, weekly and monthly rates; higher prices during peak period. $99 for a double room. $48-69.
- Red Carpet Inn, 980 Wyckoff Ave (at Halsey; Subway: L train to Halsey St), ☎ +1 718 417-4111. A 3 star inn.
- ZIP112, 112 N 6th St, #5F (at Berry; Subway: L train to Bedford Ave), ☎ +1 347 403-0577 ([email protected]), . checkin: 2PM; checkout: noon. This hostel is on the fifth floor and there are no elevators. The dorms are restricted to females while private rooms (contains two single beds) can be booked by either gender. Features a balcony with a great view of Manhattan. Dorms $45-$65, privates $55-$70.
- Brooklyn Public Library (Bushwick branch), 340 Bushwick Ave (at Seigel; Subway: J/M trains to Flushing Ave or L train to Montrose Ave), ☎ +1 718 602-1348, . M 1PM-8PM, Tu-W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
- Brooklyn Public Library (DeKalb branch), 790 Bushwick Ave (at DeKalb; Subway: J train to Kosciuszko St), ☎ +1 718 455-3898, . M-Tu 10AM-6PM, W 1PM-8PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
- Brooklyn Public Library (Greenpoint branch), 107 Norman Ave (between Eckford and Leonard; Subway: G train to Nassau Ave), ☎ +1 718 349-8504, . M-Tu 10AM-6PM, W-Th 1PM-8PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
- Brooklyn Public Library (Leonard branch), 81 Devoe St (at Leonard; Subway: L train to Lorimer St or G train to Metropolitan Ave), ☎ +1 718 486-3365, . M 1PM-8PM, Tu-W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
- Brooklyn Public Library (Washington Irving branch), 360 Irving Ave (at Woodbine; Subway: L train to Myrtle Ave or M train to Wyckoff Ave), ☎ +1 718 628-8378, . M-Tu 10AM-6PM, W 1PM-8PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
- Brooklyn Public Library (Williamsburgh branch), 240 Division Ave (at Marcy; Subway: J/M/Z trains to Marcy Ave), ☎ +1 718 302-3485, . M 10AM-6PM, Tu 1PM-8PM, W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
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