Metropolitan Meat Market has been serving the community for years. Via @EmilyBlincoe on Instagram.
In the age of intense turnover in New York City, it feels like something is closing every week. Whole Foods, Apple, Equinox, Chipotle and the laundry list of chain stores that have opened in Williamsburg in the past year or so seems endless. It’s easy to feel discouraged when big corporations start taking over once small unassuming communities, but particularly when there are still longtime business owners in the area adapting to the changes and aiming to serve big and do it well.
The neighborhood is still home to a special class of family-owned businesses in North Williamsburg, where the Italian community’s roots stretch back more than 100 years. All are within a 10 minute walk of each other in Williamsburg. They know each other, and they often work together by selling each other’s products. Although they may get a whopping offer from a real estate agent every now and then, or even every day, the people involved in running these old-school establishments seem optimistic and sure of their method. They’re emblems of a not-going-anywhere attitude while remaining loyal to their customers, with low prices and high quality products.
Part of being a good New Yorker is embracing the things that were in a neighborhood long before you came along so the neighborhood can stave off transforming into another chain-filled anywhere, USA. Here are six old-school Williamsburg businesses still hanging on, and some good reasons to visit each one too. (more…)
Bar Velo, a vegan cyclist’s paradise. All photos by Sam Corbin/Brokelyn.
On the same unassuming Broadway corner under the subway tracks in South Williamsburg where the former Café Moto used to welcome patrons for new American fare and live jazz, now sits Bar Velo. On the outside, the trappings are the same: rusted metal front door with a kitchen-style keyhole window; neat chalkboard font promising live music inside; in place of a “BAR” sign, a cruiser bike, hanging about eight feet overhead and jutting out onto the sidewalk on the South side of Broadway.
On the inside, a flatiron layout pinches the space toward the entrance. Tour de France art and cycling paraphernalia lines the walls. Decorative taps sit next to real ones, and sprigs of fresh herbs poke out of glasses at the bar.
Does it get anymore Williamsburg than this? (Spoiler: It does.)
We got to chow down on an all-vegan snack menu, decidedly the standout feature of the bar (as per Brokelyn’s vegan-heavy editorial staff). $9 for lentil paté may seem steep — let’s be honest, it is — but with a dearth of cheap all-vegan bar menus in the borough, Bar Velo has pretty much “cornered” the market (get it? Because they’re on a corner).
Is your poultry even chill bro? Photo by Madelyn Owens.
Soon you’ll tell people that you used to hang out on Bedford Avenue and they’ll look at you as if you said you used to regularly get trashed up and down the stretch of Broadway in Soho. We’ve seen a lot of change on the once-iconic Williamsburg street, from the mundane (a Dunkin Donuts opening) to the gross (an Equinox replacing Spike Hill) to the environmentally minded. So change is inevitable blah blah but one of the key pieces of Bedford Avenue’s chainification is finally ready: The Whole Foods on Bedford and North 4th will open in a month. Commence the jokes about spending your “whole (parents’) paycheck!” (more…)
Now serving: Piping hot memes, trending playlists. Via @NoMe_Simpatizas
“Brunch” and “Williamsburg” are two New York City things lots of people who have nothing better to argue about get irrationally passionate over. There was a time [he said, scratching his long and tangled gray beard] when “Williamsburg” was used synonymously with “hipster,” then the neighborhood changed, became scary to Omar from The Wire,got less weird, got more condos, and now when you say the word Williamsburg, it conjures up images of the neighborhood’s transition into becoming the new Soho.
So I’m not sure what scene is even meant to be invoked by calling a Spotify playlist “Williamsburg Brunch” any more, but it’s definitely a hit: The playlist, made by an arm of Sony, has more than 8,400 followers, a huge number that even President Obama’s playlists can’t match. (more…)
The crowd has changed at Mulholland’s but the bar keeps kicking. Via Facebook.
Mulholland’s has always seemed like a bit of of an odd outlier in Williamsburg. It’s a straight-up sports bar, with a wall of TVs and a kitchen serving up chicken wings to big Sunday football crowds. It would feel slightly more at home in Midtown, not on Grand Street down the road from the Skee-Ball bar and around the corner from the pinball bar. When it first opened 10 years ago, Brooklyn Paper said it “felt more like a bar in a strip mall;” the Times called it “probably the first place to be so completely dedicated to sports” in the neighborhood. It opened near the tail end of peak artsy Williamsburg, when the neighborhood was still the butt of fedora and kickball jokes. Muholland’s seemed, for lack of better terms, an oasis for bros in the hipster desert.
Then a strange thing happened: the neighborhood changed. Trash Bar a few doors down closed; vegan fast food joint Foodswings across the street turned into a wine bar owned by James Murphy. The condos came in and so did the chain stores — and chain bars. Mulholland’s has always been embraced by a diverse clientele, but now it seems almost quaint amid the change, a stalwart of slightly older Williamsburg as the neighborhood becomes a mini Manhattan.
“We stuck in there kinda just being the originals,” owner Shawn Mulholland said. This weekend, the bar is celebrating its 10th anniversary with three hours of free beer and a night of music from Brooklyn-born artists. Mulholland has seen his customers change a lot over that time, though he doesn’t know if the bar has another 10 years left. (more…)
An art gallery in East Williamsburg is offering free studio space for three months to one lucky artist out there. The gallery, Interstate Projects, is offering applications for all you artists to a studio they have right next to their 66 Knickerbocker St. location. According to DNAinfo, you have until Feb. 15 to submit your application, with each applicant being judged by a panel consisting of artists, writers and curators. If you are too established, well you can’t apply, or you could, but you would be rejected immediately and also questioned as to why you need free studio space. (more…)
We can see it now, you on the treadmill or the elliptical, or whatever other machines they have at the gym, we don’t know we never go. You walk out after a hard 20 minutes and then you see it, that window. The one with those round treats covered in frosting. You’re easily tempted and why wouldn’t you be? We’re spoiled with great donut options here. You fight it, but it’s no use. Before you even realize it your standing in front of a cashier whose handing you a bag of donuts. You take a bite. It’s delicious and you savor the enormous amounts of calories and sugar put into this wonderful circle of joy.
If this is you, someone who has an addiction to good donuts, well we’re here to help you with your addiction. Not by making you stop, but by putting you near as many donuts as possible. The first ever NYC Donut Fest is happening and instead of spending $35 on fruits and vegetables, how about you put that money into something you really want. (more…)
Brooklyn is a place for many things, but most of all it’s been seen as a borough of authenticity and honesty being found in the hearts of its residents. Marty Markowitz might have made “Oh how sweet it is!” Brooklyn’s unofficial motto when he was borough president, but he could have also slapped “Brooklyn: To thine own self be true” on the welcome signs at the borough’s entrance. So it’s with great sadness we have to report that two famous Brooklyn residents appear to have been caught in a dreadful lie that strikes at the heart of who they told us they were. According to a bombshell new report circulating on the internet, the Mast Brothers didn’t always have hilariously huge beards. What’s next, ExxonMobil really did own Mellow Pages the entire time? (more…)
At least the Empire made the trains run on time. via reddit user peanutpickle10
As we all know, the subway is overcrowded all the time these days, especially during rush hour. And especially the L train, which gets so crowded that you might mistake it for New York’s hottest club as opposed to a vital public transportation lifeline. Also Star Wars is finally out TONIGHT, so in an attempt to either do some viral marketing or alert the MTA to the problem of the Sith hiding among us, some brave anonymous poster maker has warned the MTA that all of these overcrowding issues could lead to the New York being turned into the ancient Sith capital, Kaas City. If you want it fixed, call the governor, call the mayor, tell them to work their dumb bullshit out and fix the dang subways. (more…)
Why is this waiter angry? You’ll figure it out. Photos by Andre Callot
All credit to the director and actors of How To Get Into Buildings, the new play at the Brick. Without Katherine Brook’s relentless, searching direction and the game performances of her six performers, Trish Harnetiaux’s new show could have been less the fireball catastrophe that (I think) it wants to be, and more an interminable mash of free associative gobbly-gook. That reads meaner than I intend it to though. I liked the writing, I swear, I did. And I enjoyed this show. Why? Well, let’s try to figure that out together. (more…)