Why East Williamsburg Is a Great Place to Live
Walking around East Williamsburg feels like traversing the light side of the moon… but with more kombucha. This neighborhood has “industrial chic” down to a T and, with a commute into Manhattan of less than 30 minutes, it’s easy to see why it’s at the top of many Brooklynites’ lists of desired places to live and why our East Williamsburg House is one of our most popular houses.
Historically an industrial area, immigrants from Italy, Puerto Rico and other Latin-American countries settled in East Williamsburg from the late 19th century and the melting pot of cultures is still tangible. The Italian community thrives along the north end of Graham Avenue, known as “Via Vespucci,” while the south end of Graham Avenue (also known as “Avenue of Puerto Rico”) has been the center of Latin-American immigrant life since the 1950s.
In the 1990s, the area saw an influx of young artists, professionals and students, making the atmosphere a unique fusion of its two neighbors, Williamsburg and Bushwick. The area still maintains its historical industrial life, giving it a real personality of its own. Read on to find out why so many people want to live in East Williamsburg.
The sense of discovery
Most of East Williamsburg looks like factories—until you get closer—and this is all part of the fun. This neighborhood is filled with artistic and cultural gems, hidden away by the industrial aesthetic, which makes discovering them all the more rewarding.
Hipster grocery stores and murals sit next to working factories producing everything from glass to beer. You’d be forgiven for thinking the sound of metal work and scraping steel meant Google Maps had taken you to the wrong location, but in East Williamsburg the industrial and the cultural co-exist.
You’ll find hidden-away DIY spaces, tech start-ups and trendy new shops in the most unexpected places, with that artistic vibe you dreamed of when you first decided to move to Brooklyn. For instance, a continuous mural on Vandervoort Place stretches almost the entire block between Thames Street and Flushing Avenue.
At 56 Bogart, find a converted factory filled with artists’ studios and galleries, or explore The Loom, a tucked away mini-mall filled with galleries, shops, a cafe, a tattoo parlor and a yoga studio. We love tropical beauty bar Wild Oleander, a neon and flamingo-filled oasis in a basement with a side entrance down to the action, as well as vintage stores like Urban Jungle, Beacon’s Closet, and the touring Mobile Vintage Shop, and used book store Human Relations. Perhaps the most unexpected of all is Brooklyn Zoo, an indoor training facility with recreated street scenes, complete with graffiti by local artists, which holds adult parkour classes, Ninja Warrior training, breakdancing classes and more.
East Williamsburg is arguably one of the best located neighborhoods in the whole of Brooklyn. The area is on the border of Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Bed-Stuy, Bushwick and Ridgewood — pretty much everywhere you’ll ever need to go on nights or days out. This means that if you like walking, you can actually walk your way around Brooklyn, which is a pretty rare thing to be able to do. These neighboring areas all have their own unique personality, so you can head west into Williamsburg if you want to browse hipster coffee shops (or go to the Apple Store), north into Greenpoint for McCarren Park or perogies, east into Ridgewood for a leafy stroll or Bushwick for endless murals and the famous House of Yes.
Our East Williamsburg House is a 14-minute walk to McCarren Park, an 11-minute walk to Graham Avenue and a 28-minute walk to Broadway. East Williamsburg is also incredibly accessible to Manhattan, being on the west side of Brooklyn. From our East Williamsburg House, you can be in the East Village in just 25 minutes, making it the perfect base if you want a shorter commute into the city. Hop on the L train at Grand Street, Montrose Avenue or Morgan Avenue, the J or the M at Flushing Avenue or even the G (at the other Flushing) to go in and out of Manhattan, up and down Brooklyn and into Queens.
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The sheer number of bars and restaurants
East Williamsburg has access to the most bars and restaurants of any Brooklyn neighborhood and it seems like another joint pops up every week. According to Medium, within a mile’s walk from anywhere in the neighborhood, you can find 316 restaurants and 196 bars, with everything from cocktails to Moroccan food to juice bars. Famous Roberta’s pizza was the original foothold of the neighborhood and is still one of the most popular spots for students and young professionals. This pizza place has an outdoor terrace with a relaxed and sociable vibe and its own Tiki Bar during the summer months.
For laid back glamour and a good old-fashioned grilled cheese and beer combo, try One Stop, just around the corner from our East Williamsburg House, or take a short walk to Grimm Artisanal Ales, the local brewery. Our favorite brunch spot is Guadalupe Inn, which serves one of the best value bottomless brunches in Brooklyn, with delicious food and moorish mimosas. Norwind’s also has an unmissable happy hour, while The Well hosts regular live music events with a patio that’s just perfect for summer.
...and coffee shops
Walking around, you’ll be struck by the number of inviting signs for “coffee” hanging subtly in windows or doorways. What’s great is that the vibe of most of these cafes is completely relaxed and, unlike many of their Manhattan equivalents, the servers don’t mind you buying one coffee and staying there all day on your laptop. Our favorite is Ange Noir Cafe, a sweet spot with comfy armchairs, a relaxed vibe and fast WiFi. The place is frequented weekly by the Bushwick Writer’s Group, who hold regular workshops and “shut up and write” sessions here. This coffee shop also hosts regular concerts and stand-up comedy events in the back room.
Right around the corner, Swallow Cafe is another welcoming place to work on your screenplay, and City of Saint Coffee Roasters has some of the best quality coffee in the city. The friendly staff at these spots stay open late, so you don’t need to worry about having to cut your day early at 5 p.m., making East Williamsburg the perfect place to get creative.