East Williamsburg is a mixed industrial neighborhood in Brooklyn, with many working factories that make everything from beer and wontons to clothing and concrete. You are likely to hear screeching, pounding and the deep thump of industrial machinery throughout the day. East Williamsburg has become a haven for artists and musicians of every description, who are attracted to the large open loft spaces of the converted industrial buildings. The area has attracted a younger crowd of 20- and 30-somethings that are drawn by affordable rents and a generally lower cost of living.
There is a rich history of immigrants from Puerto Rico and Italy, and oddly enough, they chose to settle on opposite ends of Graham Avenue, with the Italians on the north and the Puerto Ricans on the south.
Housing in the area consists of mid-rise apartment buildings, row houses, and public housing complexes. There are also smaller multi-family apartment buildings available. Lofts are becoming more prevalent as the older, abandoned factory buildings come up for sale and are converted into residential properties.
East Williamsburgfairly pulses with a creative vibe. There are unique shopping venues, numerous tiny coffee shops, interesting restaurants, and cafes, along with food trucks that frequent the area. The grocery stores are affordable and carry a wide variety of goods that appeal to the eclectic tastes of the neighborhood residents.
There is a vibrant bar scene, where you will find mostly local residents imbibing, so it is easy to make friends among your neighbors if you stop in frequently at your favorite watering hole. There are many interesting shops, bars and restaurants tucked in amongst the warehouses and factories. Many do not invest in elaborate signage, so it can be difficult to find some of the best spots. Keep an eye out for hand-painted signs on the sides of buildings with arrows pointing to nondescript, nearly invisible entrances.
Roberta’s Pizza. Roberta’s has been an anchor for the East Williamsburg neighborhood since 2008, serving up what are arguably the best wood-fired pies in NYC. The pizzas bear inventive names and there is a tiki torch patio with picnic tables in the back. Located at 261 Moore Street.
Pine Box Rock Shop. Want to take your pooch for a walk and stop for a brew? Pine Box Rock Shop has you covered! Wondering about the unusual name? You guessed it, this trendy bar and music venue is housed in a former casket factory! They offer a wide selection of craft beers, unique cocktails and vegan eats. There are various music nights, karaoke and even comedy shows. Best of all, your dog is just as welcome as your other friends. Located at 12 Grattan Street.
Cooper Park. This park has basketball, tennis, and handball courts, a skate park, playgrounds for the kids and a dog run for your four-legged friends. Movie screenings are held on the large lawn during the summer. Located between Maspeth Avenue and Sharon Street, from Olive Street to Morgan Avenue.
What You Might See
If you are fortunate enough to be out strolling in the Moore Street area on a fine sunny afternoon, you might come across a street artist in the midst of creating their latest work of inspiring art or social commentary. These displays are always changing, so make it a point to stop by often. To see a comprehensive display, begin your walking tour on White Street at Seigel Street, follow White Street south, until you get to Moore Street. Then take Moore Street east to Bogart Street. Follow Bogart Street north to Grattan Street, and head east on Grattan Street. Another impressive example is the huge mural on Vandervoort Place. It stretches, nearly continuously, between Flushing Avenue and Thames Street.
What’s In The Future
East Williamsburg is just beginning to be impacted by gentrification. Rezoning is allowing the conversion of industrial buildings into residential properties. More and more young professionals will move here as these abandoned warehouses and factories are repurposed into luxurious living spaces.
What You Might Not Know
There is a secret, pink-themed brunch spot hidden away in an East Williamsburg warehouse. Located at 222 Bogart Street, you’ll find Carthage Must Be Destroyed, one of the area’s most unique eateries. To find it, you will need to be brave enough to walk up the long driveway, which looks quite abandoned. Then you will need to search for the numbers “222” painted on a pipe. When you can see pink, you will know you have arrived. The interior is flooded with light and bathed in pink - everywhere. The brunch and breakfast offerings are fresh and organic.
What We Love
The industrial vibe makes East Williamsburg an interesting place to live. Residents tend to be on the younger side, so there is a dynamic energy present. The commute into Manhattan is relatively quick.
The neighborhood is an oasis of creativity and there are many interesting exhibits on display, some impromptu on the streets, while others are set in local warehouses. Navigating the industrial neighborhood is half the fun of living here. You will find little pockets of art and culture embedded in the industrial facades. Until you open the nondescript or partially hidden door, you have no idea what might await you on the other side. Culture and industry peacefully coexist here.
East Williamsburg is an ideal walking neighborhood. Situated with most of the other Brooklyn neighborhoods surrounding or bordering it, you can walk throughout the whole of Brooklyn from a homebase in East WIlliamsburg. While you are out walking, you will probably notice that East Williamsburg has an inordinate amount of restaurants (300+) and bars (nearly 200) for such a small neighborhood. The coffee shops are too numerous to count, and most are relaxed and welcoming. Many serve up music and comedy with the coffee.