Williamsburg has settled comfortably into its uber hip identity. Once an affordable outpost packed with artists and musicians, it has morphed into a well-kept industrial-chic amalgam of unique shops, bars, and restaurants that cater to the young creative professionals and families who can still afford to live there.
Shop, Sip and Savor
The vibe in Billyburg encourages individual expression in both work and play. Small shops sell goods about which their owners are passionate: from hand-crafted, beautifully wrapped chocolates at Mast Brothers, to a carefully chosen selection of whiskey at The Whiskey Shop. The world’s largest collection of sketchbooks is available to peruse and even to contribute to at The Sketchbook Project. Williamsburg Flea is an extremely popular, tightly curated outdoor market of furniture, jewelry, art, and crafts made by local artisans. It runs from April–October every Sunday at the East River State Park on the waterfront, with beautiful views of Manhattan. On Saturdays at the same location, Smorgasburg peddles lobster rolls, amazing BBQ, ramen burgers, and much more from top vendors. Foodies are inundated with delicious possibilities at the many acclaimed restaurants spread out over the entire neighborhood. Wood and brick set the scene for the carefree attitude at the bars in Williamsburg, which are filled until dawn. A pop-up party might take over a parking lot, a rooftop, or a park. There’s always a hot new band playing at Brooklyn Bowl, Music Hall of Williamsburg, or one of the neighborhood’s many smaller venues. A vibrant club and bar scene on weekend nights around Bedford Ave. attracts revelers from far outside the neighborhood.
On Saturday and Sunday mornings, coffee shops and sidewalks are dotted with strollers and the parents who stayed here after getting married. They may head toward the 35-acre McCarren Park, which borders Greenpoint at the north end of Williamsburg and includes an outdoor pool and recreation area. During the summer, the park hosts films and concerts as well as a Saturday greenmarket.
A Residential Potpourri
There are luxury high-rises with sweeping views of Manhattan and converted industrial buildings closer to the waterfront, but much of Williamsburg consists of walk-ups and row houses. The southernmost section and the section east of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway approaching Bushwick are still a bit gritty, and a bit less expensive. Prices in Williamsburg are some of the highest in Brooklyn, along with Brooklyn Heights and Dumbo.
The East River Ferry has 2 slips in Williamsburg.