A recent transplant (she used to be in Williamsburg proper) and owner of a handbag company, Shira gives us the skinny on East Williamsburg.
How long have you lived here?
I’ve lived in East Williamsburg since last October, so a little bit less than a year, but I’ve lived in the Williamsburg area for about 5 years.
Can you describe this neighborhood for folks that have never been here before?
It’s slightly gritty, but it’s developing. There’s a mix of people who have lived here their whole lives, and there’s a spillover from the Bedford Avenue area.
How would you describe the types of people that live here?
Old and young, ethnic and diverse. Lots of post-college graduates. There are Puerto Ricans, some Asians, and there’s a nice Italian contingency.
Is this your ideal neighborhood? Why or why not?
No, I would like a place that feels a little less urban, and a little greener. This is a very industrial, citified area, and you get all the characteristics of that. That means noise, pollution, bad smells, and lots of traffic.
Are there any myths or stereotypes about your nabe you’d like to dispel?
It’s not as dangerous as some people think. I don’t feel unsafe walking home from the Subway at 11pm, and that’s how I judge the dangerousness of an area.
Were you surprised by anything when you moved here?
Well, they have great bike lanes all along Grand St. There are a lot more cute artisanal shops and restaurants than I expected, and they keep popping up everywhere.
What’s your favorite part about this neighborhood?
It’s close to the Subway, near the G and the L trains. There are great bodegas, supermarkets, and restaurants. It keeps me young!
What’s the best part of your neighborhood to live in?
I like the area near the Lorimer L train stop, not necessarily Grand Street, on which I live, because it can be a bit busy and not as peaceful. Some of the streets off of Lorimer Street between Union Street and Graham Avenue have cute parts.
Are there any bad areas in your neighborhood? If not, which street/block would you not want to live on?
Yeah, there are some shiesty areas. I don’t know the specifics, but it’s a bit shadier south of Grand Street. I wouldn’t live on Maujer Street, and I wouldn’t live on Grand Street again if I had the choice.
What’s the housing like here?
Since it’s up-and-coming, you’d think it would be less expensive, but it’s not Bushwick. It’s still Williamsburg. The property is still valuable. There are a lot of properties that look rough from the outside, but on the inside have a lot of charm and a lot of really nice details with the newer renovations that are happening. You wouldn’t necessarily know it looking from the outside.
What’s an average two bedroom rent monthly?
Probably around $2,200 or $2,300 a month.
If you were forced to leave this neighborhood, what neighborhood would you move to?
Prospect Heights. It’s greener, quieter, and less stress.
Are there neighborhoods in this city that you would never live in? What are they?
Maybe Bushwick. I’m just not interested. There’s a time and a place for a great loft space or a huge art studio, but I’m just not into that anymore. Now I’m more interested in creature comforts.
How is this neighborhood different from other neighborhoods that are similar to it?
It’s not as unified or trendy as maybe Greenpoint or Williamsburg proper, respectively. It’s a bit scattered. Greenpoint is somewhat unified in that there’s a huge Polish community and it’s very “neighborhoodie”. Williamsburg is trendy and filled with hipsters, other young people and it’s very expensive. East Williamsburg is a weird amalgamation of both kinds, so it doesn’t have as well defined an identity.
Do you have any advice, recommendations or suggestions for folks thinking about moving to your neighborhood?
Don’t pay too much! There are a ton of great apartments here, so don’t give up too quickly. You can find a good price, but you have to be patient. You have to be willing to look at a lot of places.