Forget about the factories turned lofts, the whimsical coffee shops and the stylish boutiques; in Williamsburg, street art is what all the rave is about.
Those who know me well are aware that graffiti and industrial design are not my style; cool artwork, however, is. And after having lived for over two years in the hip, trendy neighborhood of Williamsburg, industrial has grown fond on me. More specifically, its countless murals of artwork appearing faster than you can say “hipster!”
The North side of Williamsburg stands out in particular, as the uncontested winner. From eccentric wall murals, to boutique décor, to daring garage doors, Brooklyn soon reveals itself to anyone visiting the borough why so many Manhattanites are hoping on the L train for a touch of innovation and aplenty of industrial vibes.
Unlike Manhattan, these fragments of unexpected creativity are discovered in time. The best way to do so is to give yourself an afternoon or two – make that a weekend or two – and walk around with an open mind. You never know what you might encounter!
Here are some of my favorites:
The exterior of American Apparel
Not only do I get a kick from buying colored leggings and funky dresses from American Apparel, but their bright colored exterior this past summer had me stopping for pictures every single time. As far as I’ve noticed, it’s one of the few, if not the only store that has such an artsy display in New York City. Thus, I was glad I was closest to it.
The painted brick wall outside Academy Records
A haven for priceless, vintage records can be found at the popular Academy Records, complete with some vibrant artwork just outside of it. Every time I pass by it, I am drawn by the peculiar portrait’s vibe, as well as the bright colored palette displayed on each individual brick stone.
Most people stop here for the records; I stop for the colors.
Mural outside Jane’s Closet boutique
The newly completed mural outside Jane’s Closet had me staring at it even before it was finished. I love its geometric shapes, pastel colors and overall whimsicality; definitely no grittiness to it as is usually characteristic to industrial Brooklyn – just smart, refined shapes.
Cool garage doors on N 6th Street
Anyone walking down N 6th Street cannot miss the cool garage doors, painted bright yellow. It makes for a good photo op, to say the least. Have I seen people stop for pictures? Plenty!
Speaking of photo ops … you can’t miss the painted quotes splattered all around the ‘Burg either.
Shelter’s industrial design
Shelter is not only my favorite new restaurant in the neighborhood – serving amazing pizza and empanadas in a hunting lodge type of atmosphere – but it has one of the coolest, industrial looks I’ve seen.
Part barnyard, part US Army inspired, the red in-your-face letters stand out, along with the washed-out American flag. The interior is equally fantastic with its stuffed goat and moose corn chandeliers on display.
Flea market art
For those infected with the flea market bug, the Brooklyn Flea Market is the place to go for scouring one-of-a-kind vintage art.
Recently moved indoors for the winter to a brand new space – 50,000 sq feet on the second floor at North 5th St. and Wythe Ave – you can now go hunt for treasures every Sunday through March 2014.
Thankfully, you can also head to Artists & Fleas across the street, where not only the exterior mural is über cool, but what you encounter inside too. You’ll need a firm grip to stop you from buying half the store!
Directions: For all of the above and so much more on the North side of Williamsburg, hop on the L Train to Bedford Avenue. You can also take the East River Ferry from Manhattan to North 6th Street.
What are you waiting for? Have you hopped on the L yet?