Oct 23, 2012
It’s been 7 weeks since I packed my satchel, grabbed my walking stick and set out for that Hipster hinterland known as Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Like Darwin crawling over the rocks of the Galapagos, I’ve sat in cafes, perused antique shops, and explored artist’s colonies in my attempt to understand what Williamsburg is all about.
It may be 1 stop away from Manhattan, but Williamsburg is an entirely different world. Williamsburg looks like the West Village, but the people are of a more mature East Village variety. The trees lining the streets keep it quiet, but they also hide countless cafes, restaurants and oddball shops that dot every corner of the neighborhood.
If you have a penchant for sampling WiFi hotspots, then Williamsburg’s cornucopia of cafes will send you into stratospheric levels of
802.11x bliss. But don’t expect to find a Starbucks on these streets, don’t you dare even whisper it! Save for a few Duane Reades, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything corporate in Williamsburg, and you definitely won’t see any Romney/Ryan stickers either. Williamsburg might be to Democracts what Orange County is to Republicans. Walk down Berry Street and you’ll even see a mural of Bradley Manning with ‘Hero’ written on it. On a debate night, Williamsburg-ians pack local bars and restaurants like it was Monday Night Football. Even if I wasn’t listening to the debate, I always knew when Obama scored a point by the crowds that would erupt with cheers and applause. (Needless to say, the streets were eerily silent the night of the first debate.)
It’s a strange place this Williamsburg. It’s a place that fosters individual expression, but rather ironically is filled with people who look pretty much the same. From the creepy mustaches, to the tapered denim pants, Williamsburg is an incredibly homogenous place. For all its progressive virtue, you’d find more ethnic diversity at a Bon Jovi concert than on the streets of Williamsburg.
Nevertheless, I’ve really taken a liking to Williamsburg. It’s an interesting place, and unlike anything I find in Manhattan. So if you are a Manhattanite and are feeling adventurous, then pull on your tightest pair of jeans, grab your MetroCard, and ride that L train right to Bedford St Station, it’s like a whole other borough out here!