Less than 20 years ago Williamsburg, Brooklyn was still fairly barren. No pie shops, bespoke haberdasheries, artisanal anything, and certainly no condos with theatre rooms and organic markets. There were plenty of hookers, gangs, and murders happening, but Starbucks, Urban Outfitters, and every brand on Earth had yet to descend, to snatch a bit of cool with their marketing talons.
Whatever, that’s life, and while many residents protested, much of the area became a mix of Bourbon Street’s reckless partying and a branded corporate presence seen only in Toyko. None of the locals are throwing rocks through the windows of the corporations that stole their neighborhood or even raising a stink, as another mom-and-pop goes under, or a bar becomes another bar, that used to be another bar.
Well, that’s changing, but not really. The people have spoken, and they’re sick of being called “Boozyburg,” an imaginary term that no one has really ever said. Bedford and Bowery reported that many locals were in opposition of a new farm-to-table restaurant at a Community Board hearing. The reason they didn’t want another place to eat humane meat and stuff laced with bacon, is because there are too many liquor licenses given out and it’s made the area a party zone.
Black Tree–the locavore spot that wanted a full liquor license–got their way in the end, with a few regulations, but what’s funny is that the “Cool Central, USA” now wants to grow up–the anthesis of what drew people there.
It wasn’t the school districts, green space, or budding theatre community, it was sleazy Electroclash parties and seedy bars like Kokie’s, where you could buy and do the worst, cheap blow, but not curse.
Now that Williamsburg waterfront is lined with giant condo boners and the streets flooded with advertising and chain stores, residents are turning on potential small business owners. Sounds about right, they no longer need places to buy drugs, other than Duane Reade, which of course put King’s Pharmacy out of business. Good riddance.