City Living: East Williamsburg has a multi-layered history
East Williamsburg, often written off as nothing more than a hipster ’hood, is an up-and-coming Brooklyn nabe with a friendly community feel, a multi-layered history, and a thriving artistic scene.
The answer to the question, “Where is East Williamsburg?” is often vastly different, ranging from “anywhere near the Grand L stop” to “it doesn’t exist.”
Though hotly debated, the nabe is transforming too quickly to have one unanimous definition of boundaries.
“Real estate in the area has changed quite a bit, in part because there is more infrastructure than several years ago, especially around Meserole, Montrose, and Johnson streets,” said Rolan Sereny, the principal broker at and founder of Brick and Mortar, a Williamsburg real estate company. Lofts are the norm here in terms of new real estate.
The McKibbin lofts, infamous for more than a decade for raucous parties, bed bug scares and its rep as an art school dorm, may have started the trend, but other properties, especially around Siegel and Grand streets, are continuing it.
“There are a lot of loft spaces there that are still available to convert with better prices per square foot than Williamsburg proper,” Sereny said. “There are more opportunities than Williamsburg because it is less over-developed.”
According to a report by MNS Real Estate from July, the Williamsburg market saw losses in the second quarter of 2013, with price-per-square-foot decreasing 19% and median sales dropping 22%.
However, the report highlights East Williamsburg as an increasingly popular place to live, stating a “majority of the new development sales occurred within ‘East’ and ‘South’ Williamsburg.”
Reports from the Department of City Planning show the population of Brooklyn Community District 1, which includes East Williamsburg, increased nearly 8% from 2000 to 2010, one of the highest rates in the borough.
--By KATHARINE ULRICH
Need To Know
One of the most common definitions of the nabe has the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway to the north, Maspeth Creek to the east, Flushing Avenue to the southeast and Graham Avenue to the west. More »
It’s hard to catch the sights of East Williamsburg without walking or biking, but trains and buses do serve the neighborhood. And although the Flushing Avenue station is in Bed-Stuy, it’s just blocks away and has J and M service if the L is down. More »
Brooklyn Public Library, 340 Bushwick Ave. More »
47 Debevoise St. More »
Vegan or not, Dun-Well’s doughnuts are more than worthy of the calories. Baked fresh twice daily, these succulent rounds of fried dough come in a variety of flavors.
Located right near the L Grand stop, Mahzen Grill offers Turkish culinary classics. With its reasonable prices, a nice mezze (a selection of small dishes) is recommended.
Momo Sushi Shack
This much-hyped neighborhood favorite lies right on the edge of Bushwick and consistently dishes out beautiful plates of Japanese cuisine. Heads up: cash only.
This casual bar keeps the cheap drinks flowing quickly and good tunes spinning late.
Pine Box Rock Shop
This spot has a low-key, neighborhood vibe, fun themed nights (Wednesday is trivia; free karaoke Thursdays), large flat-screens and tasty vegan snacks.
Post No Bills
Friendly bartenders and $6 beer and shot specials make this bar, located on a busy stretch of Bushwick Avenue, one of the more casual haunts in the area.
Dolly G’s Vintage
Dolly G’s has an excellent selection of vintage clothing at very affordable prices. It specializes in revamping threads.
Three ways to describe Mary Meyer’s clothing: eclectic, cool and well-crafted. Great for funky accessories, beautiful prints and interesting silhouettes.
Shops at the Loom
A collection of 21 shops, offering goods ranging from craft supplies to jewelry and services such as tattoos and haircuts, Shops at the Loom continues to evolve into something of a modern mini-mall. A Chabad house is located here as well.
A short walk from the Graham stop on the L, Cooper Park is a great place to spend an afternoon. Take the kids to the playground or the dog to the dog run, or play a game of pickup basketball at one of the courts.
House of Yes
A combination performing-arts center and exhibition space, House of Yes serves the neighborhood as a creative workshop with reasonable prices and a nonjudgmental approach.
Loom Yoga Studio
Also located in the Loom, this yoga studio has convenient hours, friendly instructors and a variety of other workshops, including meditation and specialty classes.