Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Hipster central.
I resided for one week in this influential hub, a mere 3 subway stops away from Manhattan’s Union Square.
Vintage shops, indie theatres, phenomenal restaurants – you name it, it’s there. The area’s many industrial buildings have always been a magnet for artists, who’ve transformed them into studios or galleries. Characterized by diversity, it boasts a happening arts and music scene and various ethnic enclaves formed by long-established immigrants. Creativity of all sorts permeates the neighbourhood and its main thoroughfare, Bedford Avenue, buzzes day-in day-out with activity and twenty- and thirty-somethings.
But, like the usual story goes, the booming real estate market is transforming the mixed-use character of the neighbourhood. High-rise buildings are ‘mushrooming’ and long-abandoned factories are being converted to expensive condos and apartments. The locals that I talked to were not too thrilled about the rapid development, about the gentrification that has prompted an increase in rent prices, driving people out.
On a positive front, the city’s re-zoning has also called for revitalization of the waterfront, which had fallen into neglect. The East River State Park looks back upon the Manhattan skyline. On clear evenings, residents gather here by the water’s edge to watch the sunset. That’s a sweet view you can’t put a price on.