Williamsburg is an influential and hip area of the Brooklyn borough in New York City. With it's ethnically diverse population, thriving art and music scene, hip shops and trendy restaurants, it's one of Brooklyn's most vital spots. The combination of old warehouses and small homes gives it an eclectic vibe. Williamsburg, once an industrial area, is rapidly growing and developing. One subway stop from Manhattan, low rents drew artists and musicians to Williamsburg in the 1970s. It's still a mecca for young, creative people with bold spirits. Even though "hipster" is a bad word to many, there's no denying that the influx of trendsetters has made Williamsburg a fantastic place to eat, shop, see live music and experience works of art.
Transportation and Livability
Williamsburg stretches west from the East River to Newtown Creek, where it borders Queens. Bounded by Greenpoint to the north and Bedford-Stuyvesant to the south, Williamsburg has easy access to the G, J, M, Z and L subway lines. Though it has a reputation as place for young hipsters, it's an enclave for young families looking for Manhattan proximity at Brooklyn prices.
Highly walkable, most residents use public transportation in Williamsburg and don't own cars. You'll see plenty of parents pushing strollers, although they're outnumbered by young professionals and creatives making their way to the next hip party. Shopping and nightlife is varied and easy to get to.
About 64% of Williamsburg residents are childless, and more than half are unmarried. About 43% of the population is in their 20s, 30s and 40s, and the median age is young at 30 years old. Williamsburg is a melting pot of ethnicities, income levels and household configurations.
The average commute for a Williamsburg resident is 34 minutes. About 34% have a commute that is 30 minutes or less. Manhattan is about 9 miles away, and a 45 minute commute using the M and B subway lines.
Williamsburg is a mish-mash of cultures and scenery, making it a place that's never dull. Classics like Peter Luger Steakhouse aren't far from new haunts like Reynard in the Wythe Hotel and hipster must-visits like Momofuku Milk Bar. Bedford Avenue is a restaurant and retail hub that ensures you can always find whatever you're looking for. Culture aficionados can visit a variety of art galleries that manage a casual feel despite their rising profiles. Music lovers will love the many options for hearing good tunes, including the Williamsburg Music Hall and the Knitting Factory as well as smaller venues like Grasslands and Trash Bar.
In 1638, the Dutch West Indian Company purchased what is now Williamsburg from local Native Americans. The English took over this Dutch settlement in 1664. After a farming period that lasted until the early 1800s, the area started to urbanize and gain a population of German immigrants. As Hasidic Jews began to add to the areas diversity, Williamsburg started to become a larger more active area into the turn of the century. In 1903, the opening of the Williamsburg bridge opened the area to upwardly mobile immigrants and second-generation Americans looking to flee Manhattan's Lower East Side, turning Williamsburg into the most populate neighborhood in New York City. Fast forward to the 1970s, and emerging artists and musicians began to supplant the mostly immigrant residents. Today, Williamsburg is a balance between these two communities, with many wondering if the influx of trendy and artistic young people will shift the make up of this historic area.
Many celebrities, including Barbra Streisand, grew up in Williamsburg and fans of the HBO series Girls will recognize many of its spots from the show. Here are a few specific well-known Williamsburg addresses:
365 S. Third St. - This is the childhood home of comedy legend Mel Brooks.
662 Driggs Ave. - Author Henry Miller spent the first nine years of his life at this apartment building.
504 Kosciuszko St. - Comedian Buddy Hackett grew up here.34 North 7th St. - Ed Westwick, best known as Chuck Bass on Gossip Girl, lives here.