Tonight I went out with my friend Megan for her birthday in Bushwick. We walked into a restaurant with a faint sign and a small window. The window was blocked so you could not see inside. When we walked in, a whole world opened up. This quiet industrial street, seemingly dead was alive inside. All the tables were full with, most likely, artists. All talking and eating the most deliciously creative and inexpensive foods. The feeling was the same as Williamsburg when I fist moved there in 2003.
I first started coming to Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 2002. I came to visit my friend Ryan and Josh, who lived there. When I got off the Bedford L for the fist time, I realized how few people were there. It was not bustling with crowds like Manhattan where I lived at the time. The air was quiet but I could feel there was another kind of life brewing. At the time, I did not know what “hipster” was, I don’t think that word came to me until few years later. When I first moved to Williamsburg, there were no hipsters, there were artists.
Musicians, painters, designers, writers all hanging out by day at coffee shops, keeping wrong hours and dressing in crazy clothes. I smelled the freedom in the air. It was contagious. It was painful to walk to my Wall St. job through Williamsburg at 8 am every morning, when my little artist town was sound asleep. It was not the sleep that I was after, it was the art.
Williamsburg has changed since then. It changed fast. The restaurants went from a handful eatable ones when I first moved to 100s. There is not one open store front on Bedford ave. that is not occupied by a coffee shop, restaurant or a trendy boutique. It did not take long for the Williamsburg invasion. I am not an old lady recollecting the past, this took place in less than 10 years. It was building before that, but in the last five years it boomed. I still love Williasburg there are still good vibes but it is not the same.
Today, when I went to Bushwick, I felt it again. I got out of my car, and I could smell it in the air. Only a few people on otherwise desolate streets but I felt it. I saw something in their faces. It was the look of people who have found a haven away from it all. Yes, Bushwick is just few more stops on the L train but for the rest of the world, it is lifetimes away. The artists have found their new Williamsburg and it is nice to see it emerging from the dust.