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…)