Tag: Williamsburg

The Cons of Living in Williamsburg

The cons of living in Williamsburg by ari kellenWilliamsburg might not be the edgy artist haven that it was 10 years ago, but that’s not to say that it isn’t still a great neighborhood.  Indeed, its allure remains, and there are still plenty of bars, restaurants, specialty shops, movie theaters, and boutiques that make it well worth a visit.  For sure, wandering around the Bedford Ave L stop makes for a great afternoon, but living there?  It might have plenty of appeal, but the realities are often a bit different than you’d expect.  If you’re going to move to WilliWiasmburg, these are some

L Train: The L train has already got a bad reputation, especially on late nights and weekends, which is also the time that most people who know better than to live in Williamsburg visit to take advantage of its cool stuff.  Starting in April 2019, the train will be shut down for 15 months to repair damage from Hurricane Sandy.  This lack of service is going to be a real pain for anybody that lives off the L but works in Manhattan.  There are certain alternative choices, such as bus connections, increased service on different lines, and bike improvements, but navigating the “L-pocalypse” will still be a major inconvenience.

Hipsters: Among true hipsters, Williamsburg has lost its cred for being too gentrified and “mainstream”.  While they’ve moved onto Greenpoint, Bushwick, there are still hipsters in Williamsburg.  Even if you want hipsters, the ones living in Williamsburg are going to be the worst kind: flush with cash from their trust funds or tech jobs, and with heads full of self-importance and Bukowski.  However, some of the “real” hipsters will still hang out in Williamsburg, whether it’s to go out on a weekend or work as a bartenders or sales clerk.

Price: In a city whose cost of living has few rivals in the US, Williamsburg stands out as one of the most expensive.  The current median rent per month is $3,000, while the price per square foot is $957.  You can maybe get something that’s relatively cheaper, but it’s rare, and you’re going to need roommates, which is always a crap shoot.  And when it comes to shopping, eating, and drinking, you’ll have to put your wallet on ice afterwards.  That being said, however, you’ll still have a great time.  

Tourists: The vibe that originated with Williamsburg has caught on to a strong degree across the pond, to the extent that “Brooklyn” is an adjective in the French vernacular.  As tourists come to realize that Times Square is a horrible place, more and more of them are visiting “alternative” places in the city, such as Williamsburg.  This is particularly notable off the Bedford Avenue L stop.  

New York’s Harry Pasta

New York's Harry pasta by ari kellenWhat’s there not to love about Harry Potter?  A story about friendship, the triumph of good over evil, and of course a healthy dose of magic.  It’s one of the most influential book series of the past 20 years, with a fanbase as loyal as it is large.  And as the kids who grew up reading Harry Potter are now young adults with spending money living in major cities, a fast-casual Harry Potter-themed pasta restaurant has opened up in Williamsburg, called “Pasta Wiz”.  This conveniently comes 20 years since the first Harry Potter book was released.

The restaurant is decorated in a Harry Potter theme, with the “magic” coming from the pasta being made “so fast, and so good”.  The owner, Alex Dimitrov, has been trying to open a restaurant in the space for nearly six years.  Locals were scared that Dimitrov would build something similar to Mehanata, his Lower East Side club described as a “Balkan disco dive bar extravaganza”.  And yes, Mehanata is a great time, but nobody wants to live in a neighborhood where there’s a club like that.  Every time Dimitrov tried to get a liquor license, he faced opposition; when he said he was trying to open a pasta place, nobody believed him.  Yet he’s finally been able to bring both Spaghetti and Slytherins to the neighborhood.  

The restaurant is decked out with Hogwarts-esque chandeliers, a baby grand piano, candles and even a Sorting Hat.  And the speed is the best part: the restaurant promises that dishes will arrive between three and five minutes.  Like many other fast-casual restaurants where you order off the tablet and pick it up at the counter, there isn’t any table service.  In addition to tested and approved combos, there’s a mix-and-match DIY method, with various sauces and toppings you can add.  
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