Williamsburg, Brooklyn, that 11211, has never been in more demand. Whole Foods is coming to Bedford Avenue. The New York Times keeps writing about us. The first TEDxWilliamsburg event happened last weekend. That one lot on the corner of Bedford and North 11th that for years was literally a giant hole in the ground is now some fancy-ass apartment building. You can barely get around on the weekend, let alone get a table at brunch. And every time I walk down the street I see a bunch of dudes in fancy suits and I’m like, “Wait, what are ya’ll doing here? New Jersey is on the other side”
We have boutiques and galleries and galleries that have parties. We got rooftop bars. There’s a couple movie theaters. Music venues. Obviously there are great restaurants. Parks. A waterfront. The only thing missing, though, was a serious nightclub. That all changed earlier this year with Club Output, a new nightclub that opened on Wythe Avenue, right across the street from the Brooklyn Bowl and next door to the Wythe Hotel.
Williamsburg’s night scene will change drastically when a massive new nightclub opens on the North 11th waterfront. Verboten, a popular dance party company known for their anti-bottle service parties around the city, recently applied for a liquor license for a 700-person venue. The space wants to stay open until 4 in the morning on weeknights and 6 in the morning on weekends!!! How very European. No details about the venue have been released, but according to the company’s website, “Verboten’s fictional world, as it appears in our club visuals and flyers, is a dystopian surveillance state set in a decayed urban landscape. “Verboten,” German for “forbidden,” evokes this concept and our techno programming perfectly.” Sounds AMAZING.
It’s hard to talk about Williamsburg without talking about gentrification. I know gentrification is kind of a bad word, but the thing is if you’re a young person moving to New York for the first time, you’re going to live where you can afford to live. Which automatically makes you a gentrifier. Unless you have family money you can’t afford to live in Chelsea or Soho or the Upper West Side, neighborhoods that aren’t really changing all that much. So you’re going to live where the rents are the cheapest, and those are almost always the areas going through gentrification.
The Williamsburg gentrification, though, has been pretty specific. You all know the “H” word I’m talking about that I refuse to say. Not because I hate those people or that culture — I don’t — but because I wish everybody would stop being so negative about them. As the self-referential centerpiece of NYC bohemian, cool-kid culture, Williamsburg is synonymous with the culture of cool. Take a walk down Bedford Avenue on any day, at any time, and you’ll see a parade of different looks. Just today I saw that girl I always see with the platinum white hair, and she was wearing an ORBITAL HEADPIECE.
That’s the thing I love about Williamsburg and North Brooklyn in general. Even as the gentrification iron strikes hot, pricing out all the creative folks and people who made the neighborhood awesome in the first place, Williamsburg has perfected the idea of the “cool” neighborhood. Walk around and you’ll see that the neighborhood is a quotation of itself, and I’m fine with that. Even with the onslaught of stupid expensive apartments and the guys in suits who live in them though they really belong someplace lame like the Financial District, Williamsburg will be still be cool. For a little while longer, at least.