Friday, February 17, 2017

30 Days in NYC (Day 11) - Williamsburg, Greenpoint, & Bushwick

   One of the most challenging facets of life in New York is the way the sand shifts under your feet constantly. Just as the desert dunes change place with the wind, neighborhoods in New York are constantly in flux. Where once was factories is now galleries and what was once the sights and smells of Italy are now Chinese. The character or appearance of a community can flip in a generation and it can be hard to keep up with the changes. And the places in New York City where the changes are fastest paced are in the northern neighborhoods of Brooklyn. Greenpoint, Bushwick, Williamsburg, and Ridgewood Queens have come to epitomize edgy cool. They have attracted artists, musicians, and other creative residents for the past 25 years. Hip residents first began by moving into the abandoned industrial spaces of the Williamsburg waterfront because of the rising rents in Manhattan. But the high rents have been spreading through North Brooklyn and so have the bars, galleries, street art, and cafes. But don't think that it's all bearded artists in these neighborhoods. Much of these neighborhoods are still defined by immigrants old and new. Williamsburg still counts old Italians and a growing Hasidic Jewish community among its residents. Greenpoint is still known as the center for Polish immigrants. And Bushwick is one of the most heavily Latino neighborhood in NYC with older Puerto Rican and Dominican immigrants being replaced by Mexican and Ecuadoran arrivals. Many of the old cultural landmarks from these groups remain and their food and culture is a link to a past that seems to slip away faster all the time. So now is the time to explore the old and the new in North Brooklyn.