It’s sad to say ‘bye to the neighbourhood that in my two months stay here—since I was introduced to a community so vibrant—I fell in love with. My first impressions were that of the creativity, the culture and “the hipsters.” That non-fat (what I mean by non-touristed) New York has been one of its best features for me; although I’ve learned that the tourists that do venture beyond First Ave on the L train are just disguised better than those who swarm Times Square. Not to say that there are many of them either; just a few. I expressed a similar vibe to London’s East End but stated there were subtle differences; I now know better.
I considered myself lucky that my commute was Brooklyn to Manhattan meaning I didn’t have to wait for four trains to pass before boarding and most importantly (to me, anyway) have an armpit in my face the entire journey. Walking out of Bedford Ave station and along the park and around the corner to Dobbin St, and WG headquarters became my daily ritual. I would almost always find or see something of note along my walk; interesting fashion choices, musical stylings, defaced posters in witty yet lyrical ways. I was not wrong when I said I would breathe in as much culture as possible; the fumes of Williamsburg and Greenpoint are full of it. I visited galleries, saw plays, ate great food and drank real coffee, read local literature, heard live music, and met some very interesting characters. All of it exuding an ambiance that I wish I felt more in London.
At first I localised the area around Bedford. I was drawn to the hipster-matic groove of things, but there is so much more. I wander down the quaint Berry St, drink on Manhattan Ave and laze about in McCarren Park. There is so much to do and see in this neighbourhood and I just wish I had more time.
The way in which I have learned better is that at first glance I found this neighbourhood to be beautiful and bountiful of non-pretentious types. I am not saying it’s not beautiful, because it is, but not in a normal picture-esque way. The aesthetics of the surroundings here are industrial yet tranquil, dated, yet contemporary, and ugly-yet interestingly poetic. The neighbourhood was, back in the day, a cheap place for artistic souls to live and work when downtown New York became too capitalised and expensive. It’s a shame that the same is now happening here. However I feel that the vibe although altered slightly, adjusting to the new assets of the area, has managed to stay chilled. And it is for this reason that I find beauty in the area. It is the people here, the utterly mixed cultures, backgrounds and creative outlooks that yes, one can find in Manhattan but it is here that they seem to live alongside each other in a less frantic fashion, which makes it truly beautiful.
Maybe because I’m a Londoner, I have always related and compared to my home town, and more specifically London’s East End, home to Brick Lane, the new up and coming neighbourhood (a phrase I have heard uttered about Williamsburg). I do not think I am wrong in doing so as they both evoke feelings of inspiration in me. Williamsburg and Greenpoint will always remind me to stay creative, to keep exploring, and to be myself.