Normal people obsess over music, TV shows, royal babies, so on and so forth. New Yorkers, on the other hand, obsess over neighborhoods.There’s always one neighborhood somewhere in the five boroughs that everyone says is “super hip,” or “up and coming,” and always with “great restaurants.” Currently, that neighborhood is Williamsburg, a Brooklyn neighborhood just across the East River from Manhattan. My roommate and I decided to buy into the neighborhood trend and spend a weekend afternoon in Brooklyn, just to see what all the hype was about.
We decided to take the East River Ferry instead of the subway over to Brooklyn. The ferry offered an awesome view of the eastern skyline of the city as well as the Brooklyn Bridge, and got us to Williamsburg in twenty minutes. From there, we walked to Smorgasburg, a famous outdoor food fair right on the banks of the East River that is open every Saturday.Each vendor was selling something totally unique.There was a grilled cheese stand, a Cambodian food vendor, and, my personal favorite, a stand that sold only pigs in a blanket (but really, how awesome is that?).
While we had a great time drooling over all the food (and I got a delicious iced coffee), we made the mistake of going to Smorgasburg on what I think was the hottest Saturday of the year thus far.We decided that there was no way we could east hot food while standing outside in the hot sun, and walked inland towards downtown Williamsburg to find an indoor place to eat. All the restaurants were quaint and crowded with brunch-goers; we ultimately found a café on Bedford Avenue and got paninis. From there, we walked around and explored the neighborhood.
For me, Williamsburg was almost exactly what I expected Brooklyn to be like; cute boutique stores, hip restaurants punctuated by Italian delis, and lots of people dressed in various levels of hipster-ness. But that does not mean Brooklyn disappointed—it’s got many of the great things about New York, like great food and great shopping—along with a local town flavor that you won’t find in downtown New York City. It’s easy to see why people might choose to leave behind Manhattan in favor of a slightly quieter and smaller-scale neighborhood.
As for me, I’m a Manhattan loyalist.But, I’ll be back, Brooklyn. Just on a day when it’s not one hundred degrees out. There are pigs in a blanket calling my name.
Photos By Jillian Timko/Gavel Media