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Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Williamsburg, Brooklyn

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Williamsburg is a neighborhood in the New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 borough
Borough (New York City)
New York City, one of the largest cities in the world, is composed of five boroughs. Each borough now has the same boundaries as the county it is in. County governments were dissolved when the city consolidated in 1898, along with all city, town, and village governments within each county...

 of Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

, bordering Greenpoint
Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Greenpoint is the northernmost neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. It is bordered on the southwest by Williamsburg at the Bushwick inlet, on the southeast by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and East Williamsburg, on the north by Newtown Creek and Long Island City, Queens at the...

 to the north, Bedford-Stuyvesant
Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
Bedford-Stuyvesant is a neighborhood in the central portion of the New York City borough of Brooklyn. Formed in 1930, the neighborhood is part of Brooklyn Community Board 3, Brooklyn Community Board 8 and Brooklyn Community Board 16. The neighborhood is patrolled by the NYPD's 79th and 81st...

 to the south, Bushwick
Bushwick, Brooklyn
Bushwick is a neighborhood in the northern part of the New York City borough of Brooklyn. The neighborhood, formerly Brooklyn's 18th Ward, is now part of Brooklyn Community Board 4...

 to the east and the East River
East River
The East River is a tidal strait in New York City. It connects Upper New York Bay on its south end to Long Island Sound on its north end. It separates Long Island from the island of Manhattan and the Bronx on the North American mainland...

 to the west. The neighborhood is part of Brooklyn Community Board 1
Brooklyn Community Board 1
Brooklyn Community Board 1 is a local governmental body in the New York City borough of Brooklyn that encompasses the neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Greenpoint. It is delimited by the Newtown Creek and Queens Borough line on the east, Flushing and Kent Avenue on the south, as well as by the...

. The neighborhood is served by the NYPD's 90th Precinct. In the City Council the western and southern part of the neighborhood is represented by the 33rd District; and the eastern part of the neighborhood is represented by the 34th District.

Many ethnic groups have enclaves
New York City ethnic enclaves
Since its founding in 1625 by Dutch traders as New Amsterdam, New York City has been a major destination for immigrants of many nationalities, naturally forming ethnic enclaves, neighborhoods dominated by one ethnicity. Freed African American slaves also moved to New York City in the Great...

 within Williamsburg, including Italians, Puerto Ricans, and Dominicans
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

. There is also a number of Hasidic Jews. It is also an influential hub for indie rock
Indie rock
Indie rock is a genre of alternative rock that originated in the United Kingdom and the United States in the 1980s. Indie rock is extremely diverse, with sub-genres that include lo-fi, post-rock, math rock, indie pop, dream pop, noise rock, space rock, sadcore, riot grrrl and emo, among others...

, hipster
Hipster (contemporary subculture)
Hipsters are a subculture of young, recently settled urban middle class adults and older teenagers with musical interests mainly in alternative rock that appeared in the 1990s...

 culture, and the local art community. The neighborhood is being redefined by a growing population and the rapid development of housing and retail space.

Early history


In 1638 the Dutch West India Company
Dutch West India Company
Dutch West India Company was a chartered company of Dutch merchants. Among its founding fathers was Willem Usselincx...

 first purchased the area's land from the local Native Americans. In 1661, the company chartered the Town of Boswijck, including land that would later become Williamsburg. After the English takeover of New Netherland
New Netherland
New Netherland, or Nieuw-Nederland in Dutch, was the 17th-century colonial province of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands on the East Coast of North America. The claimed territories were the lands from the Delmarva Peninsula to extreme southwestern Cape Cod...

 in 1664, the town's name was anglicized to Bushwick
Bushwick, Brooklyn
Bushwick is a neighborhood in the northern part of the New York City borough of Brooklyn. The neighborhood, formerly Brooklyn's 18th Ward, is now part of Brooklyn Community Board 4...

. During colonial times, villagers called the area "Bushwick Shore." This name lasted for about 140 years. Bushwick Shore was cut off from the other villages in Bushwick by Bushwick Creek to the north and by Cripplebush, a region of thick, boggy shrub land which extended from Wallabout Creek to Newtown Creek, to the south and east. Bushwick residents called Bushwick Shore "the Strand." Farmers and gardeners from the other Bushwick villages sent their goods to Bushwick Shore to be ferried across the East River to New York City for sale via a market at present day Grand Street
Grand Street
Grand Street was an American magazine which appeared from 1981 to 2004. It was described by the New York Times as "one of the most revered literary magazines of the postwar era."-Founding:...

. Bushwick Shore's favorable location close to New York City led to the creation of several farming developments. In 1802, real estate speculator Richard M. Woodhull acquired 13 acres (53,000 m²) near what would become Metropolitan Avenue, then North 2nd Street. He had Colonel Jonathan Williams
Jonathan Williams (engineer)
Jonathan Williams , American businessman, military figure, politician and writer.Williams was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He was a grandnephew of Benjamin Franklin...

, a U.S. Engineer
United States Army Corps of Engineers
The United States Army Corps of Engineers is a federal agency and a major Army command made up of some 38,000 civilian and military personnel, making it the world's largest public engineering, design and construction management agency...

, survey the property, and named it Williamsburgh
Williamsburgh
Williamsburgh is a place name, derived from the name William and the Scots language and Scottish English word burgh:*Williamsburgh, Paisley, a residential area in Paisley, Scotland, originally a separate village outwith the boundary of the ancient Burgh of Paisley*Williamsburg, Brooklyn, originally...

(with an h at the end) in his honor. Originally a 13 acres (52,609.2 m²) development within Bushwick Shore, Williamsburg rapidly expanded during the first half of the nineteenth century and eventually seceded from Bushwick and formed its own independent city.

Incorporation of Williamsburgh



Williamsburg was incorporated as the Village of Williamsburgh within the Town of Bushwick in 1827. In two years it had a fire company, a post office and a population of over 1,000. The deep drafts along the East River encouraged industrialists, many from Germany, to build shipyards around Williamsburg. Raw material was shipped in, and finished products were sent out of many factories straight to the docks. Several sugar barons built processing refineries. Now all are gone except the now-defunct Domino Sugar (formerly Havemeyer & Elder). Other important industries included shipbuilding and brewing.

On April 18, 1835, the Village of Williamsburgh annexed a portion of the Town of Bushwick. The Village then consisted of three districts. The first district was commonly called the "South Side"; the second district was called the "North Side", and the third district was called the "New Village". The names "North Side" and "South Side" remain in common usage today, but the name for the Third District has changed often. The New Village became populated by Germans and for a time was known by the sobriquet of "Dutchtown". In 1845 the population of Williamsburgh was 11,500.

Reflecting its increasing urbanization, Williamsburgh separated from Bushwick as the Town of Williamsburgh in 1840. It became the City of Williamsburg (discarding the "h") in 1852, which was organized into three wards. The old First Ward roughly coincides with the South Side and the Second Ward with the North Side, with the modern boundary at Grand Street
Grand Street (Brooklyn)
Grand Street and Grand Avenue are the respective names of a street which runs through the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, New York City, United States...

. The Third Ward was to the east of these, stretching from Union Avenue east to Bushwick Avenue beyond which is Bushwick
Bushwick, Brooklyn
Bushwick is a neighborhood in the northern part of the New York City borough of Brooklyn. The neighborhood, formerly Brooklyn's 18th Ward, is now part of Brooklyn Community Board 4...

 (some of which is now called East Williamsburg
East Williamsburg, Brooklyn
East Williamsburg is a name for the area in the northwestern portion of the borough of Brooklyn in New York City, United States, which lies between Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick. Much of this area has been and still is referred to as either Bushwick, Williamsburg, or Greenpoint with the...

).

In the Eastern District of the City of Brooklyn


In 1855, the City of Williamsburg, along with the adjoining Town of Bushwick, were annexed into the City of Brooklyn as the so-called Eastern District. The First Ward of Williamsburg became Brooklyn's 13th Ward, the Second Ward Brooklyn's 14th Ward, and the Third Ward Brooklyn's 15th and 16th Wards.

During its period as part of Brooklyn's Eastern District, the area achieved remarkable industrial, cultural, and economic growth, and local businesses thrived. Wealthy New Yorkers such as Cornelius Vanderbilt
Cornelius Vanderbilt
Cornelius Vanderbilt , also known by the sobriquet Commodore, was an American entrepreneur who built his wealth in shipping and railroads. He was also the patriarch of the Vanderbilt family and one of the richest Americans in history...

 and railroad magnate Jim Fisk built shore-side mansions. Charles Pratt
Charles Pratt
Charles Pratt was a United States capitalist, businessman and philanthropist.Pratt was a pioneer of the U.S. petroleum industry, and established his kerosene refinery Astral Oil Works in Brooklyn, New York. An advertising slogan was "The holy lamps of Tibet are primed with Astral Oil." He...

 and his family founded the Pratt Institute
Pratt Institute
Pratt Institute is a private art college in New York City located in Brooklyn, New York, with satellite campuses in Manhattan and Utica. Pratt is one of the leading undergraduate art schools in the United States and offers programs in Architecture, Graphic Design, History of Art and Design,...

, the great school of art & architecture, and the Astral Oil Works
Astral Oil Works
Astral Oil Works was founded in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, New York by Charles Pratt. Pratt was a pioneer of the petroleum industry who formed Charles Pratt and Company with Henry H. Rogers. The Pratt interests became part of John D...

, which later became part of Standard Oil
Standard Oil
Standard Oil was a predominant American integrated oil producing, transporting, refining, and marketing company. Established in 1870 as a corporation in Ohio, it was the largest oil refiner in the world and operated as a major company trust and was one of the world's first and largest multinational...

. Corning Glass Works was founded here before moving upstate to Corning, New York
Corning (city), New York
Corning is a city in Steuben County, New York, United States, on the Chemung River. The population was 10,842 at the 2000 census. It is named for Erastus Corning, an Albany financier and railroad executive who was an investor in the company that developed the community.- Overview :The city of...

. German immigrant, chemist Charles Pfizer
Charles Pfizer
Charles Pfizer was a German chemist who immigrated to the United States in the early 1840s and founded the Pfizer Inc. pharmaceutical company in 1849 as Charles Pfizer & Co. He remained at its head until 1900, when the company was incorporated and Charles Pfizer, Jr. became its first president....

 founded Pfizer Pharmaceutical in Williamsburg, and the company maintained an industrial plant in the neighborhood through 2007, although its headquarters were moved to Manhattan in the 1960s. Brooklyn's Broadway
Broadway (Brooklyn)
Broadway is an avenue in the New York City borough of Brooklyn that extends from the East River in the neighborhood of Williamsburg in a southeasterly direction to East New York for a length of 4.32 miles . It was named for Broadway in Manhattan. The East New York terminus is a complicated...

, ending in the ferry to Manhattan, became the area's lifeline. At one point in the 19th century, Williamsburg possessed 10 percent of the wealth of the United States and was the engine of American growth. The area became a popular location for condiment and household product manufacturers. Factories for Domino Sugar
Domino Foods, Inc.
Domino Foods, Inc. is a US company owned by American Sugar Refining Inc. that markets sugar through its brand portfolio: Domino®, C&H®, Florida Crystals®, and Redpath®.-History:...

, Esquire Shoe Polish
Esquire Shoe Polish
Esquire Shoe Polish of Williamsburg by the company Knomark was the best selling shoe polish brand in America from the 1940s to 1960's. It was owned by Revlon....

 , Dutch Mustard and many others were established in the late 19th and early 20th century. Many of these factory buildings are in the process of being converted to cultural or residential buildings.

The population was heavily German but many Jews from the Lower East side of Manhattan came to the area when the Williamsburg Bridge was completed. Williamsburg was a financial hub rivaling Wall Street for a time, with its two major community banks: the Williamsburgh Savings Bank
Williamsburgh Savings Bank
The Williamsburgh Savings Bank was an important institution in Brooklyn, New York, from the mid-19th to the mid-20th centuries. A series of bank mergers brought it into the HSBC group late in the 20th century...

 (chartered 1851, since absorbed by HSBC
HSBC
HSBC Holdings plc is a global banking and financial services company headquartered in Canary Wharf, London, United Kingdom. it is the world's second-largest banking and financial services group and second-largest public company according to a composite measure by Forbes magazine...

) and its rival the Dime Savings Bank of Williamsburgh
Dime Savings Bank of Williamsburgh
Dime Savings Bank of Williamsburgh is a financial institution located in Brooklyn, New York. Its primary products are savings accounts, checking accounts, and real estate loans...

 (chartered 1864, now known as the DIME, has remained independent). The area around the Peter Luger Steak House, established in 1887, in the predominantly German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 neighborhood under the Williamsburg Bridge, was a major banking hub until the City of Brooklyn united with New York City. One of the early high schools in Brooklyn, the Eastern District High School
Eastern District High School
The Eastern District High School is a defunct high school in eastern Williamsburg, New York at 850 Grand Street. It was a comprehensive high school. It opened in 1894 and it remained in service until the city closed the school in 1995....

, opened here in 1894.

Part of New York City


In 1898 Brooklyn itself became one of five boroughs within the City of Greater New York, and its Williamsburg neighborhood was opened to closer connections with the rest of the new city.

Just five years later, the opening of the Williamsburg Bridge
Williamsburg Bridge
The Williamsburg Bridge is a suspension bridge in New York City across the East River connecting the Lower East Side of Manhattan at Delancey Street with the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn at Broadway near the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway...

 in 1903 marked the real turning point in the area's history. The community was then opened up to thousands of upwardly mobile immigrants and second-generation Americans fleeing the overcrowded slum tenements of Manhattan's Lower East Side
Lower East Side
The Lower East Side, LES, is a neighborhood in the southeastern part of the New York City borough of Manhattan. It is roughly bounded by Allen Street, East Houston Street, Essex Street, Canal Street, Eldridge Street, East Broadway, and Grand Street....

. Williamsburg itself soon became the most densely populated neighborhood in New York City, which in turn was the most densely populated city in the United States. The novel A Tree Grows in Brooklyn addresses a young girl growing up in the tenements of Williamsburg during this era.

Brooklyn Union Gas in the early 20th century consolidated its producer gas production to Williamsburg at 370 Vandervoort Avenue, closing the Gowanus Canal
Gowanus Canal
The Gowanus Canal, also known as the Gowanus Creek Canal, is a canal in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, geographically on the westernmost portion of Long Island...

 gasworks. In the late 1970s an energy crisis led the company to build a syngas
Syngas
Syngas is the name given to a gas mixture that contains varying amounts of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Examples of production methods include steam reforming of natural gas or liquid hydrocarbons to produce hydrogen, the gasification of coal, biomass, and in some types of waste-to-energy...

 factory. Late in the century, facilities were built to import liquefied natural gas
Liquefied natural gas
Liquefied natural gas or LNG is natural gas that has been converted temporarily to liquid form for ease of storage or transport....

 from overseas. The intersection of Broadway
Broadway (Brooklyn)
Broadway is an avenue in the New York City borough of Brooklyn that extends from the East River in the neighborhood of Williamsburg in a southeasterly direction to East New York for a length of 4.32 miles . It was named for Broadway in Manhattan. The East New York terminus is a complicated...

, Flushing Avenue
Flushing Avenue
Flushing Avenue is an approximately five mile street running through northern Brooklyn and west central Queens beginning at the termination of Nassau Street, on the northern fringe of Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and ending where it merges with Grand Avenue, in Maspeth. It divides the neighborhood of...

, and Graham Avenue was a cross-roads for many "interurban
Interurban
An interurban, also called a radial railway in parts of Canada, is a type of electric passenger railroad; in short a hybrid between tram and train. Interurbans enjoyed widespread popularity in the first three decades of the twentieth century in North America. Until the early 1920s, most roads were...

s", prior to World War I. These light rail
Light rail
Light rail or light rail transit is a form of urban rail public transportation that generally has a lower capacity and lower speed than heavy rail and metro systems, but higher capacity and higher speed than traditional street-running tram systems...

 trolleys ran from Long Island to Williamsburg.

After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the economy sagged. Refugees from war-torn Europe began to stream into Brooklyn, including the Hasidim
Hasidic Judaism
Hasidic Judaism or Hasidism, from the Hebrew —Ḥasidut in Sephardi, Chasidus in Ashkenazi, meaning "piety" , is a branch of Orthodox Judaism that promotes spirituality and joy through the popularisation and internalisation of Jewish mysticism as the fundamental aspects of the Jewish faith...

 whose populations had been devastated in the Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

. The area south of Division Avenue is home to a large population of adherents to the Satmar
Satmar (Hasidic dynasty)
Satmar is a Hasidic movement comprising mostly Hungarian and Romanian Hasidic Jewish Holocaust survivors and their descendants. It was founded and led by the late Hungarian-born Grand Rebbe Yoel Teitelbaum , who was the rabbi of Szatmárnémeti, Hungary...

 Hasidic sect. Hispanics from Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

 and the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

 also began to settle in Williamsburg. But with the decline of industry and the increase of population and poverty, crime and illegal drugs, Williamsburg became a cauldron of pent-up energies. Those who were able to move out did, and the area became known for its crime and other social ills.

On February 3, 1971, at 10:42 p.m., police officer Frank Serpico
Frank Serpico
Francesco Vincent Serpico is a retired American New York City Police Department officer who is most famous for testifying against police corruption in 1971...

 was shot during a drug
Illegal drug trade
The illegal drug trade is a global black market, dedicated to cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of those substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws. Most jurisdictions prohibit trade, except under license, of many types of drugs by drug prohibition laws.A UN report said the...

 bust, during a stakeout at 778 Driggs Avenue. Serpico had been one of the driving forces in the creation of the Knapp Commission
Knapp Commission
The Knapp Commission stemmed from a five-member panel initially formed in April 1970 by Mayor John V. Lindsay to investigate corruption within the New York City Police Department...

, which exposed widespread police corruption. His fellow officers failed to call for assistance, and he was rushed to Greenpoint Hospital only when an elderly neighbor called the police. The incident was later dramatized in the movie Serpico
Serpico
Serpico is a 1973 American crime film directed by Sidney Lumet. It is based on the true story of New York City policeman Frank Serpico, who went undercover to expose the corruption of his fellow officers, after being pushed to the brink at first by their distrust and later by the threats and...

, starring Al Pacino
Al Pacino
Alfredo James "Al" Pacino is an American film and stage actor and director. He is famous for playing mobsters, including Michael Corleone in The Godfather trilogy, Tony Montana in Scarface, Alphonse "Big Boy" Caprice in Dick Tracy and Carlito Brigante in Carlito's Way, though he has also appeared...

 in the title role.

Rezoning of 2005


On May 11, 2005, the New York City Council
New York City Council
The New York City Council is the lawmaking body of the City of New York. It has 51 members from 51 council districts throughout the five boroughs. The Council serves as a check against the mayor in a "strong" mayor-council government model. The council monitors performance of city agencies and...

 passed a large-scale rezoning of the North Side and Greenpoint waterfront. Much of the waterfront district was rezoned to accommodate high density residential uses and mixed use with a set-aside (but no earmarked funding) for the creation of open waterfront park space, as well as strict building guidelines calling for developers to create a continuous two-mile-long string of waterfront esplanade
Esplanade
An esplanade is a long, open, level area, usually next to a river or large body of water, where people may walk. The original meaning of esplanade was a large, open, level area outside fortress or city walls to provide clear fields of fire for the fortress' guns...

s. Local elected officials touted the rezoning as an economically beneficial way to address the decline of manufacturing along the North Brooklyn waterfront, which had resulted in a number of vacant and derelict warehouses in Williamsburg.

The rezoning represented a dramatic shift of scale in the ongoing process of gentrification
Gentrification
Gentrification and urban gentrification refer to the changes that result when wealthier people acquire or rent property in low income and working class communities. Urban gentrification is associated with movement. Consequent to gentrification, the average income increases and average family size...

 in the area since the early 1990s. The waterfront neighborhoods, once characterized by active manufacturing and other light industry interspersed with smaller residential buildings, were rezoned primarily for residential use. Alongside the construction of new residential buildings, many warehouses were converted into residential loft buildings. Among the first was the Smith-Gray Building, a turn-of-the-century structure recognizable by its blue cast-iron facade. The conversion of the former Gretsch
Gretsch
The Gretsch Company was founded in 1883 by Friedrich Gretsch, a twenty-seven year old German immigrant recently arrived in the US. Friedrich Gretsch manufactured banjos, tambourines, and drums, until his death in 1895. His son, Fred, moved operations to Brooklyn, New York in 1916...

 music instrument factory garnered significant attention and controversy in the New York press primarily because it heralded the arrival in Williamsburg of Tribeca-style lofts and attracted, as residents and investors, a number of celebrities.

Officials championing the rezoning cited its supposed economic benefits, the new private waterfront promenades, and its inclusionary housing component – which offed developers large tax breaks in exchange for promises to rent about a third of the newly created housing units at "affordable" rates (which amount to upper-middle class pricing). Critics countered that similar set-asides for affordable housing have gone unfulfilled in previous large-scale developments, such as Battery Park City. The New York Times reported this proved to be the case in Williamsburg as well, as developers largely decided to forgo incentives to build affordable housing in inland areas.

Designated historical landmarks


A Williamsburg landmark, The Kings County Savings Institution was chartered on April 10, 1860. It conducted business in a building called Washington Hall until it purchased the lot on the corner of Bedford Avenue and Broadway and erected its permanent home, the Kings County Savings Bank
Kings County Savings Bank
Kings County Savings Bank is a New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission-designated building in the Williamsburg, Brooklyn section of New York City. It is an example of French Second Empire-style architecture. Construction of the building began in 1860, to designs of William H...

 building. It is on the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

 (1980) and was the seventh building to be landmarked in New York City in 1966. "The Kings County Savings Bank is an outstanding example of French Second Empire architecture, displaying a wealth of ornament and diverse architectural elements. A business building of imposing grandeur, the Kings County Savings Bank "represents a period of conspicuous display in which it was not considered vulgar, at least by the people in power, to boast openly of one's wealth. From its scale and general character there is nothing , on the outside, that would distinguish the Kings County Savings Bank from a millionaires mansion.
The Williamsburg Houses
Williamsburg Houses
The Williamsburg Houses, originally called the Ten Eyck Houses, is a New York City Housing Authority development in the Williamsburg, Brooklyn neighborhood, New York City, New York....

 were designated a landmark by the Landmarks Preservation Commission on June 24, 2003. The 23.3 acres (94,291.8 m²) site was the first large-scale public housing in Brooklyn.

The modern architecture buildings were designed by William Lescaze
William Lescaze
William Edmond Lescaze was a Swiss-born American architect, and is one of the pioneers of modernism in American architecture....

, whose PSFS Building in Philadelphia was the first successful International Style
International style (architecture)
The International style is a major architectural style that emerged in the 1920s and 1930s, the formative decades of Modern architecture. The term originated from the name of a book by Henry-Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson, The International Style...

 building in the U.S. The project, first proposed in 1934, was a collaborative between the U.S. Public Works Administration
Public Works Administration
The Public Works Administration , part of the New Deal of 1933, was a large-scale public works construction agency in the United States headed by Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes. It was created by the National Industrial Recovery Act in June 1933 in response to the Great Depression...

 and the newly established New York City Housing Authority
New York City Housing Authority
The New York City Housing Authority provides public housing for low- and moderate-income residents throughout the five boroughs of New York City. NYCHA also administers a citywide Section 8 Leased Housing Program in rental apartments...

. More than 25,000 New Yorkers applied for 1,622 apartments and most units were occupied by 1938. The twenty 4-story buildings are angled 15 degrees to the street grid for optimal sunlight. The structures have tan brick and exposed concrete accented by blue tile and stainless steel. The buildings were restored in the 1990s by the Housing Authority, in consultation with the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

In 2007 three buildings of the Domino Sugar Refinery were also designated New York City Landmarks. The original refinery was built in 1856, and by 1870 it processed more than half of the sugar used in the United States. A fire in 1882 caused the plant to be completely rebuilt in brick and stone, and those buildings remain, albeit with alterations made over the years. The refinery stopped operating in 2004. In 2010, a developer's plan to convert the site to residential use has received support in the New York City Council
New York City Council
The New York City Council is the lawmaking body of the City of New York. It has 51 members from 51 council districts throughout the five boroughs. The Council serves as a check against the mayor in a "strong" mayor-council government model. The council monitors performance of city agencies and...

.

Communities within Williamsburg




"South Williamsburg" refers to the area which today is occupied mainly by the Yiddish-speaking Hasidim
Hasidic Judaism
Hasidic Judaism or Hasidism, from the Hebrew —Ḥasidut in Sephardi, Chasidus in Ashkenazi, meaning "piety" , is a branch of Orthodox Judaism that promotes spirituality and joy through the popularisation and internalisation of Jewish mysticism as the fundamental aspects of the Jewish faith...

 (predominantly Satmar Hasidim
Satmar (Hasidic dynasty)
Satmar is a Hasidic movement comprising mostly Hungarian and Romanian Hasidic Jewish Holocaust survivors and their descendants. It was founded and led by the late Hungarian-born Grand Rebbe Yoel Teitelbaum , who was the rabbi of Szatmárnémeti, Hungary...

) and a considerable Puerto Rican
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

 population. North of this area (with Broadway
Broadway (Brooklyn)
Broadway is an avenue in the New York City borough of Brooklyn that extends from the East River in the neighborhood of Williamsburg in a southeasterly direction to East New York for a length of 4.32 miles . It was named for Broadway in Manhattan. The East New York terminus is a complicated...

 serving as a dividing line) is an area known as "the South Side," occupied by Puerto Ricans
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

 and Dominican
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

s. To the north of that is an area known as "the North Side," traditionally Polish and Italian. East Williamsburg
East Williamsburg, Brooklyn
East Williamsburg is a name for the area in the northwestern portion of the borough of Brooklyn in New York City, United States, which lies between Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick. Much of this area has been and still is referred to as either Bushwick, Williamsburg, or Greenpoint with the...

 is home to many industrial spaces and forms the largely Italian American
Italian American
An Italian American , is an American of Italian ancestry. The designation may also refer to someone possessing Italian and American dual citizenship...

, African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

, and Hispanic
Hispanic
Hispanic is a term that originally denoted a relationship to Hispania, which is to say the Iberian Peninsula: Andorra, Gibraltar, Portugal and Spain. During the Modern Era, Hispanic sometimes takes on a more limited meaning, particularly in the United States, where the term means a person of ...

 area between Williamsburg and Bushwick. South Williamsburg, the South Side, the North Side, Greenpoint and East Williamsburg all form Brooklyn Community Board 1
Brooklyn Community Board 1
Brooklyn Community Board 1 is a local governmental body in the New York City borough of Brooklyn that encompasses the neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Greenpoint. It is delimited by the Newtown Creek and Queens Borough line on the east, Flushing and Kent Avenue on the south, as well as by the...

. Its proximity to Manhattan has made it popular with recently arrived residents who are often referred to under the blanket term "hipster
Hipster (contemporary subculture)
Hipsters are a subculture of young, recently settled urban middle class adults and older teenagers with musical interests mainly in alternative rock that appeared in the 1990s...

". Bedford Avenue and its subway station
Bedford Avenue (BMT Canarsie Line)
Bedford Avenue is a station on the BMT Canarsie Line of the New York City Subway. Located at the intersection of Bedford Avenue and North Seventh Street in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg, it is served by the L train at all times...

, as the first stop in the neighborhood on the BMT Canarsie Line
BMT Canarsie Line
The Canarsie Line is a rapid transit line of the BMT Division of the New York City Subway system, named after its terminus in the Canarsie neighborhood of Brooklyn...

 ( train), have become synonymous with this new wave of residents.

Feast of St. Paulinus and Our Lady of Mount Carmel



A significant component of the Italian community on the North Side were immigrants from the city of Nola
Nola
Nola is a city and comune of Campania, southern Italy, in the province of Naples, situated in the plain between Mount Vesuvius and the Apennines...

 near Naples. Residents of Nola every summer celebrate the "Festa dei Gigli" (feast of lilies) in honor of St. Paulinus of Nola
Paulinus of Nola
Saint Paulinus of Nola, also known as Pontificus Meropius Anicius Paulinus was a Roman senator who converted to a severe monasticism in 394...

, who was bishop of Nola
Bishop of Nola
The Diocese of Nola is a Roman Catholic diocese in Italy, with its seat in the ancient city Nola. The diocese is a suffragan diocese of the Archdiocese of Naples....

 in the fifth century. The immigrants brought the traditions of the feast with them. For two weeks every summer, the streets surrounding Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order. The first Carmelites were Christian hermits living on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land during the late 12th and early to mid 13th centuries...

 church, located on Havemeyer and North 8th Streets, are dedicated to a celebration of Italian culture. The highlights of the feast are the "Giglio Sundays" when a 100 feet (30.5 m) tall statue, complete with band and a singer, is carried around the streets in honor of St. Paulinus and Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Clips of this awe-inspiring sight are often featured on NYC news broadcasts. A significant number of Italian-Americans still reside in the area, although the numbers have decreased over the years. Despite the fact that descendants of the early Italian immigrants have moved away, many return each summer for the feast. The Giglio was the subject of a documentary, Heaven Touches Brooklyn in July, narrated by actors John Turturro and Michael Badalucco.

Hasidic Jews in Williamsburg


Williamsburg is inhabited by tens of thousands of Hasidic Jews of various sects, and contains the headquarters of one faction of the Satmar Hasidic group
Satmar (Hasidic dynasty)
Satmar is a Hasidic movement comprising mostly Hungarian and Romanian Hasidic Jewish Holocaust survivors and their descendants. It was founded and led by the late Hungarian-born Grand Rebbe Yoel Teitelbaum , who was the rabbi of Szatmárnémeti, Hungary...

, known as the "Zaloinim." The Satmar population of Williamsburg is around 45,000, and is the largest sub-group within Williamsburg's Hasidic population of around 57,000.

Hasidic Jews first moved to Williamsburg in the years prior to World War II, along with many other religious and non-religious Jews who sought to escape the difficult living conditions on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Beginning in the late 40s and early 50s, the area received a large concentration of Holocaust survivors, many of whom were Hasidic Jews from the areas of Hungary and Rumania. The Hasidic Jews who moved to Williamsburg during that period were led by several Hasidic leaders, among them the rebbes of Satmar, Klausenberg, Vien, Pupa, Tzehlem, and Skver. In addition, Williamsburg contained sizable numbers of religious, but non-Hasidic Jews. The rebbe of Satmar, Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum, ultimately exerted the most powerful influence over the community, causing many of the non-Satmars -- especially the non-Hasidim -- to leave the area. Teitelbaum was known for his fierce anti-Zionism and for his charismatic but abrasive style of leadership.

In recent years, with the gentrification of North Williamsburg, Hasidim have fought to retain the character of their neighborhood and have characterized the influx of what they call the artisten as a "plague" and “a bitter decree from Heaven.” Tensions have risen over housing costs, loud and boisterous nightlife events, and the introduction of bike lanes along the Hasidic part of Bedford Avenue.

Prior to the influx of "hipsters," Williamsburg often saw tension between its Hasidic population and its black and Hispanic one. In response to decades of crime in the area, the Hasidim created a volunteer patrol organization call "Shomrim" ("guardians" in Hebrew) to perform citizen arrests and to keep an eye out for crime. Over the years, the "Shomrim" have been accused of racism and brutality against blacks and Hispanics. In 2009, Yakov Horowitz, a member of "Shomrim," was charged with assault for striking a Latino adolescent on the nose with his Walkie Talkie.

The Hasidic community of Williamsburg has one of the highest birthrates in the country, with an average of eight children per family. Each year the community celebrates between 300 and 400 weddings for young couples, who typically marry between the ages of 18 and 21. Because Hasidic men receive little secular education, and women tend to be homemakers, college degrees are rare, and economic opportunities lag far behind those of the rest of the population. In response to the almost 60% poverty rate in Jewish Williamsburg, the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty
Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty
The Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty is a New York-based non-profit social services organization. It offers services to help needy New Yorkers.-History:...

, a beneficiary agency of the UJA-Federation of New York, partnered with Masbia
Masbia
Masbia is a network of kosher soup kitchens in New York City. Its four locations in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Boro Park, Williamsburg, and Midwood, and Rego Park, Queens, serve over 500 free, hot kosher meals nightly. Masbia is the only free soup kitchen serving kosher meals in New York City...

 in the opening of a 50-seat kosher
Kashrut
Kashrut is the set of Jewish dietary laws. Food in accord with halakha is termed kosher in English, from the Ashkenazi pronunciation of the Hebrew term kashér , meaning "fit" Kashrut (also kashruth or kashrus) is the set of Jewish dietary laws. Food in accord with halakha (Jewish law) is termed...

 soup kitchen
Soup kitchen
A soup kitchen, a bread line, or a meal center is a place where food is offered to the hungry for free or at a reasonably low price. Frequently located in lower-income neighborhoods, they are often staffed by volunteer organizations, such as church groups or community groups...

 on Lee Avenue in November 2009.

Arts community



The first artists moved to Williamsburg in the 1970s, drawn by the low rents, large spaces available and convenient transportation, one subway stop from Manhattan. This continued through the 1980s and increased significantly in the 1990s as earlier destinations such as SoHo
SoHo
SoHo is a neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, New York City, notable for being the location of many artists' lofts and art galleries, and also, more recently, for the wide variety of stores and shops ranging from trendy boutiques to outlets of upscale national and international chain stores...

 and the East Village
East Village, Manhattan
The East Village is a neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan in New York City, lying east of Greenwich Village, south of Gramercy and Stuyvesant Town, and north of the Lower East Side...

 became gentrified. The community was small at first, but by 1996 Williamsburg had accumulated an artist population of about 3,000. Williamsburg and Greenpoint
Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Greenpoint is the northernmost neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. It is bordered on the southwest by Williamsburg at the Bushwick inlet, on the southeast by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and East Williamsburg, on the north by Newtown Creek and Long Island City, Queens at the...

 are served by a monthly galleries listings magazine, wagmag. Theater is also represented by indie theater spaces such as The Brick Theater
The Brick Theater
The Brick Theater is a 70-seat state-of-the-art theater located at 575 Metropolitan Ave near the corner of Lorimer St in Williamsburg, Brooklyn...

 and The Charlie Pineapple Theater.

Music scene



Williamsburg has become a notable home for live music and an incubator for new bands. Beginning in the late 1980s and through the late 1990s a number of unlicensed performance, theater and music venues operated in abandoned industrial buildings and other spaces in the streets surrounding the Bedford Avenue subway stop
Bedford Avenue (BMT Canarsie Line)
Bedford Avenue is a station on the BMT Canarsie Line of the New York City Subway. Located at the intersection of Bedford Avenue and North Seventh Street in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg, it is served by the L train at all times...

. The Bog, Keep Refrigerated, The Lizard's Tail, Quiet Life, Rubulad, Flux Factory, Mighty Robot, free103point9 and others attracted a mix of artists, musicians and urban underground for late night music, dance, and performance events, which were occasionally interrupted and the venues temporarily closed by the fire department. These events eventually diminished in number as the rents rose in the area and regulations were enforced. There are still a number of smaller, fleeting spaces today, including Todd P., Dot Dash, Twisted Ones, and Rubulad. Many legitimate commercial music venues opened in the neighborhood including Pete's Candy Store, Union Pool, Northsix (now Music Hall of Williamsburg), and Galapagos (now Public Assembly). Several Manhattan-based venues also opened locations, including Bowery Presents (who bought Northsix and transformed it to Music Hall of Williamsburg), Luna Lounge
Luna Lounge
Luna Lounge was a bar at 171 Ludlow Street, on the west side of Ludlow Street on Manhattan's Lower East Side. It opened in 1995, and was a popular venue for local bands and stand-up comics...

, Knitting Factory
Knitting Factory
The Knitting Factory is a music venue and concert house with locations in Brooklyn, Boise, Reno, and Spokane. The club originally specialized in jazz and experimental music and has expanded to showcasing all genres of music, performing arts and comedy....

, and Cake Shop
Cake shop
For the NYC venue Cake Shop, see Cake Shop NYCA cake shop is a retail business specialising in cakes. It is the English culture equivalent to a French pâtisserie....

. In the summers of 2006, 2007, and 2008, events including concerts, movies, and dance performances were staged at the previously abandoned pool at McCarren Park
McCarren Park
McCarren Park is a public park in New York City, USA. It is located in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, and is bordered by Nassau Avenue, Bayard Street, Lorimer Street and North 12th Street...

 in Greenpoint
Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Greenpoint is the northernmost neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. It is bordered on the southwest by Williamsburg at the Bushwick inlet, on the southeast by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and East Williamsburg, on the north by Newtown Creek and Long Island City, Queens at the...

. In 2009, these pool parties are now held at The Williamsburg Waterfront.

The neighborhood has also attracted a respectable funk, soul and worldbeat music scene spearheaded by labels such as Daptone and Truth & Soul Records – and fronted by acts such as the Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra
Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra
Antibalas is a Brooklyn-based afrobeat band that is modeled after Fela Kuti's Africa 70 band and Eddie Palmieri's Harlem River Drive Orchestra...

 and Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. Jazz and World Music has found a foothold, with classic jazz full time at restaurant venues like Zebulon and Moto, and – on the more avant
Avant-garde
Avant-garde means "advance guard" or "vanguard". The adjective form is used in English to refer to people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture, and politics....

 / noise side – at spots like the Lucky Cat, B.P.M., Monkeytown (closed in 2010), and Eat Records. A Latin Jazz community continues amongst the Caribbean community in Southside and East Williamsburg, centered around the many social clubs
Social clubs
A social club may refer to a group of people or the place where they meet, generally formed around a common interest, occupation or activity . Note that this article covers only two distinct types of social clubs, the historic gentlemen's clubs and the modern activities clubs...

 in the neighborhood. The neighborhood was also the birthplace of electroclash
Electroclash
Electroclash is a style of music that fuses New Wave and electronic dance music. It emerged in New York and Detroit in the later 1990s, pioneered by acts including I-F and those associated with Gerald Donald, and is associated with acts including Peaches, Adult, and Fischerspooner...

. Friday and Saturday parties at Club Luxx (now Trash) introduced electronic musicians like W.I.T., A.R.E. Weapons
A.R.E. Weapons
A.R.E. Weapons is a noise-rock band from New York City. Formed in 1999 by Matthew McAuley, Brian F. McPeck, and Ryan Noel, A.R.E. Weapons has been described as hardcore electro-rock. Their live shows are noted for their aggressiveness and confrontational style. Rough Trade was encouraged to sign...

, Fischerspooner
Fischerspooner
Fischerspooner is an electroclash duo and performance troupe formed in 1998 in New York. The name is a portmanteau of the founders' last names, Warren Fischer and Casey Spooner...

, and Scissor Sisters
Scissor Sisters
Scissor Sisters are an American band "spawned by the scuzzy, gay nightlife scene of New York" who took their name from a sexual position between two women also known as tribadism...

.

Rent issues



Low rents were a major reason artists first started settling in the area, but that situation has drastically changed since the mid-1990s. Average rents in Williamsburg can range from approximately $1400 for a studio apartment
Studio apartment
A studio apartment, also known as a studio flat , efficiency apartment or bachelor/bachelorette style apartment, is a small apartment which combines living room, bedroom, and kitchen or kitchenette into a single room...

 to $1,600–2,400 for a one-bedroom and $2,600–4,000 for a two-bedroom. In many buildings, the rents have more than doubled in the past few years. The North Side (above Grand Street, which separates the North Side from the South Side) is somewhat more expensive, due to its proximity to the L
L (New York City Subway service)
The L 14th Street – Canarsie Local is a rapid transit service of the New York City Subway, providing service along the entire length of the two-tracked BMT Canarsie Line...

 and G
G (New York City Subway service)
The G Brooklyn–Queens Crosstown Local is a rapid transit service of the New York City Subway. It is the only full-time non-shuttle service that does not enter Manhattan...

 subway
New York City Subway
The New York City Subway is a rapid transit system owned by the City of New York and leased to the New York City Transit Authority, a subsidiary agency of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and also known as MTA New York City Transit...

 trains. More recent gentrification and the newly-revised route of the M
M (New York City Subway service)
The M Sixth Avenue Local is a rapid transit service of the B Division of the New York City Subway. It is colored orange on route signs, station signs, and the official subway map, since it runs on the IND Sixth Avenue Line in Manhattan....

 train, however, have prompted increases in rent prices south of Grand Street as well. Higher rents have driven many priced-out bohemians
Bohemianism
Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people, with few permanent ties, involving musical, artistic or literary pursuits...

 and hipsters
Hipster (contemporary subculture)
Hipsters are a subculture of young, recently settled urban middle class adults and older teenagers with musical interests mainly in alternative rock that appeared in the 1990s...

 to find new creative communities further afield in areas like Bushwick
Bushwick, Brooklyn
Bushwick is a neighborhood in the northern part of the New York City borough of Brooklyn. The neighborhood, formerly Brooklyn's 18th Ward, is now part of Brooklyn Community Board 4...

, Bedford-Stuyvesant
Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
Bedford-Stuyvesant is a neighborhood in the central portion of the New York City borough of Brooklyn. Formed in 1930, the neighborhood is part of Brooklyn Community Board 3, Brooklyn Community Board 8 and Brooklyn Community Board 16. The neighborhood is patrolled by the NYPD's 79th and 81st...

, Fort Greene
Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Fort Greene is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. Part of Brooklyn Community Board 2, Fort Greene is listed on the New York State Registry and on the National Register of Historic Places, and is a New York City-designated Historic District...

, Clinton Hill
Clinton Hill, Brooklyn
Clinton Hill is a neighborhood in the north-central portion of the borough of Brooklyn in New York City. It is bordered on the east by Bedford-Stuyvesant, on the west by Fort Greene, on the north by Wallabout Bay and on the south by Prospect Heights...

 and Red Hook
Red Hook, Brooklyn
Red Hook is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, USA. The neighborhood is part of Brooklyn Community Board 6. It is also the location where the transatlantic liner, the , docks in New York City.- History :...

.

New York City, which includes all of Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

, has laws which regulate the rent of some designated apartments in the city. The regulations as a whole are referred to as Rent Stabilization Laws in New York. There are two forms of rent regulation administered by the New York State Department of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR): Rent control, which primarily applies to units occupied by the same family since 1971 or earlier, and Rent Stabilization, which covers thousands of New York City apartment buildings with 6 or more units.

Transportation


Williamsburg is served by 3 subway lines, the BMT Canarsie Line
BMT Canarsie Line
The Canarsie Line is a rapid transit line of the BMT Division of the New York City Subway system, named after its terminus in the Canarsie neighborhood of Brooklyn...

 ( train) on the north, the BMT Jamaica Line
BMT Jamaica Line
The Jamaica Line is an elevated rapid transit line of the B Division of the New York City Subway, in Brooklyn and Queens, New York City, United States. It runs from the Williamsburg Bridge southeast over Broadway to East New York, Brooklyn, and then east over Fulton Street and Jamaica Avenue to...

 ( trains) on the south, and the IND Crosstown Line
IND Crosstown Line
-External links:*...

 ( train) on the east. The Williamsburg Bridge
Williamsburg Bridge
The Williamsburg Bridge is a suspension bridge in New York City across the East River connecting the Lower East Side of Manhattan at Delancey Street with the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn at Broadway near the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway...

 crosses the East River
East River
The East River is a tidal strait in New York City. It connects Upper New York Bay on its south end to Long Island Sound on its north end. It separates Long Island from the island of Manhattan and the Bronx on the North American mainland...

 to the Lower East Side
Lower East Side, Manhattan
The Lower East Side, LES, is a neighborhood in the southeastern part of the New York City borough of Manhattan. It is roughly bounded by Allen Street, East Houston Street, Essex Street, Canal Street, Eldridge Street, East Broadway, and Grand Street....

. Williamsburg is also served by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

Several bus routes including the B24, B44
Nostrand Avenue Line (surface)
The Nostrand Avenue Line is a public transit line in Brooklyn, New York City, United States, running mostly along Nostrand Avenue, as well as northbound on New York Avenue and Bedford Avenue , between Sheepshead Bay and Williamsburg...

, B46, Q54, and B60
Wilson Avenue Line
The Wilson Avenue Line is a public transit line in Brooklyn, New York City, United States, running along Wilson Avenue and Rockaway Avenue between Williamsburg and Canarsie...

 terminate at the Williamsburg Bridge/Washington Plaza. Other bus lines that run through the neighborhood are the B43
Graham Avenue Line and Tompkins Avenue Line
The Graham Avenue Line and Tompkins Avenue Line were two public transit lines in Brooklyn, New York City with the Graham Avenue Line running mainly along Graham Avenue, and Manhattan Avenue and the Tompkins Avenue Line running mainly along Tompkins Avenue...

, B48
Lorimer Street Line
The Lorimer Street Line is a public transit line in Brooklyn, New York City, United States, running along Lorimer Street, Franklin Avenue, and Classon Avenue between Bedford–Stuyvesant and Greenpoint...

, Q59 and B62
Crosstown Line (Brooklyn surface)
The Crosstown Line is a public transit line in Brooklyn, New York City, United States, running along Van Brunt Street and Manhattan Avenue between Red Hook and Long Island City, Queens. Originally a streetcar line, it is now the B61 and the B62 bus routes...

.
As of June 13, 2011;North Williamsburg is served by the G Ferry with Water Taxi's to 34th Street & Wall Street Area leaving every 5 minutes, rides are $4.00, The North Williamsburg Ferry Landing was built by Steelways Shipyard, Newburgh, New York 12553 with 100% Union Labor; Local 5 Boilermakers. http://www.steelwaysinc.com/press2011-06-16.php

Sites of environmental concern


El Puente, a local community development group, called Williamsburg "the most toxic place to live in America" in the documentary Toxic Brooklyn produced by Vice Magazine. Other rare cancer clusters in Willamsburg have been reported by the New York Post
New York Post
The New York Post is the 13th-oldest newspaper published in the United States and is generally acknowledged as the oldest to have been published continuously as a daily, although – as is the case with most other papers – its publication has been periodically interrupted by labor actions...

, CBS news
CBS News
CBS News is the news division of American television and radio network CBS. The current chairman is Jeff Fager who is also the executive producer of 60 Minutes, while the current president of CBS News is David Rhodes. CBS News' flagship program is the CBS Evening News, hosted by the network's main...

and Geraldo at Large
Geraldo at Large
Geraldo at Large is a United States television newsmagazine, hosted by Fox News correspondent-at-large and former talk show host Geraldo Rivera.-History:...

on Fox News.

Radiac facility


Radiac Research Corporation, a radioactive and hazardous waste storage plant, operates on Kent Avenue in Williamsburg. Radiac has a permit from the state's Department of Health (having assumed jurisdiction from the Department of Labor) to store radioactive medical waste, including uranium and plutonium. Led by a local group, Neighbors Against Garbage, the plant's opponents believe that a truck bomb, for example, could cause an explosion that could spew radioactive contaminants over parts of Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan. That would not be hard to do, they say, because Radiac's buildings either abut Kent Avenue or are separated from the street by a parking lot surrounded by a chain-link fence. City Councilman David Yassky
David Yassky
David S. Yassky is a former member of the New York City Council. First elected in 2001, he represented the 33rd Council District, which includes parts of downtown Brooklyn, including Brooklyn Heights, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, DUMBO, Boerum Hill and Park Slope.Yassky is a graduate of Princeton...

, whose district includes the area, said the 35-year-old facility was no longer appropriate at its current site now that the city is a potential terrorist target. "A fire in the chemical part could easily spread," he said, "and we could easily face a dirty-bomb situation."

An environmental impact study commissioned by the New York City Department of City Planning
New York City Department of City Planning
The Department of City Planning is a governmental agency of New York City responsible for setting the framework of city's physical and socioeconomic planning...

 during the recent North Brooklyn rezoning process noted that the site "has a long list of RCRIS violations," referring to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Information System, a database operated by the Environmental Protection Agency. According to the study, Radiac has been cited for violating both general standards of such a storage facility, as well as preparedness/prevention requirements. And in 2001 Radiac received a fire protection report and analysis they themselves had commissioned that found that, "the current water-based fire protection system at the facility is inadequate to control the fire origination from a 55-gallon container" of the highly flammable chemical heptane
Heptane
n-Heptane is the straight-chain alkane with the chemical formula H3C5CH3 or C7H16. When used as a test fuel component in anti-knock test engines, a 100% heptane fuel is the zero point of the octane rating scale...

, which is stored at the building.

In 2005, faced with strong opposition from community groups, Radiac decided to withdraw an application to renew its permit as a hazardous waste storage facility (providing for long-term storage of hazardous, explosive and reactive chemicals adjacent to its radioactive waste facility). However, the facility remains in operation as a hazardous waste "transfer" facility, handling the same chemicals but keeping them for less time, and continues to store low level radioactive wastes.

Greenpoint/Williamsburg oil spill



The Greenpoint oil spill
Greenpoint oil spill
The Greenpoint oil spill is one of the largest oil spills ever recorded in the United States. Located around Newtown Creek in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City, between of oil and petroleum products have leaked into the soil from crude oil processing facilities over a period...

 of the late '70s is one of the largest oil spills in history. It is believed that the oil oozing from the ground at the Roebling Oil Field at N. 11th Street and Roebling in Williamsburg emanated from a ruptured tank nearby.

Notable residents



  • Au Revoir Simone
    Au Revoir Simone
    Au Revoir Simone is an electronic dream pop band from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York, formed in late 2003. The group is composed of Erika Forster , Annie Hart , and Heather D'Angelo...

     - electronic dream pop band
  • Red Auerbach
    Red Auerbach
    Arnold Jacob "Red" Auerbach was an American basketball coach of the Washington Capitols, the Tri-Cities Blackhawks and the Boston Celtics. After he retired from coaching, he served as president and front office executive of the Celtics until his death...

    , guard, NBA
    National Basketball Association
    The National Basketball Association is the pre-eminent men's professional basketball league in North America. It consists of thirty franchised member clubs, of which twenty-nine are located in the United States and one in Canada...

     coach & GM, Hall of Fame
  • Joy Behar
    Joy Behar
    Josephina Victoria "Joy" Behar is an American comedian, writer, actress, and a co-host of the talk show The View. Behar has a commentary program, entitled The Joy Behar Show, on CNN's sister network, HLN...

     – comedian and co-host of The View
  • Jon Blake – actor and model; heir to the Blake family fortune of North Carolina
  • Alexa Chung
    Alexa Chung
    Alexa Chung is an English television presenter, model and contributing editor at British Vogue.She currently hosts Gonzo with Alexa Chung for MTV UK, and is scheduled to host Thrift America for PBS in 2011...

     – English model and television presenter
  • Peter Criss
    Peter Criss
    George Peter John Criscuola , better known as Peter Criss, is an American drummer and singer, best known as the original drummer for the rock band Kiss...

     – of Kiss
    KISS (band)
    Kiss is an American rock band formed in New York City in January 1973. Well-known for its members' face paint and flamboyant stage outfits, the group rose to prominence in the mid to late 1970s on the basis of their elaborate live performances, which featured fire breathing, blood spitting,...

     (childhood friend of Jerry Nolan)
  • Nicolas Entel
    Nicolas Entel
    Nicolas Entel is a filmmaker. He was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1975, and lives in Brooklyn, NY. His latest project is the documentary Sins of My Father, which tells the story of Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar through the eyes of his only son, as well as the sons of his most prominent...

     – film director, Sins of My Father
    Sins of My Father
    Sins of My Father is a 2009 Argentine documentary film directed by Nicolas Entel. It tells the story of the notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar from the inside perspective of his son, now living in Argentina under the name Sebastián Marroquín.-Synopsis:...

  • Ed Droste
    Ed Droste
    Edward "Ed" Droste is an original member of the Brooklyn-based indie-rock group, Grizzly Bear. The group began as the solo effort of Droste with the release of 2004's Horn of Plenty, originally released on Kanine Records. All songs were written and performed by Droste...

     - lead singer for the indie rock band, Grizzly Bear
    Grizzly Bear (band)
    Grizzly Bear is a Brooklyn-based indie rock band, composed of Edward Droste , Daniel Rossen , Chris Taylor and Christopher Bear . The band employs traditional and electronic instruments...

  • Will Eisner
    Will Eisner
    William Erwin "Will" Eisner was an American comics writer, artist and entrepreneur. He is considered one of the most important contributors to the development of the medium and is known for the cartooning studio he founded; for his highly influential series The Spirit; for his use of comics as an...

     – comic artist for whom the Eisner Award
    Eisner Award
    The Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, commonly shortened to the Eisner Awards, and sometimes referred to as the Oscar Awards of the Comics Industry, are prizes given for creative achievement in American comic books. The Eisner Awards were first conferred in 1988, created in response to the...

     is named, born and raised in Williamsburg
  • Peaches Geldof
    Peaches Geldof
    Peaches Honeyblossom Geldof is a British journalist, television presenter and model.-Background:Geldof was born in London in 1989, the second daughter of Bob Geldof and Paula Yates. She is the granddaughter of Hughie Green. Her sisters are Fifi Trixibelle Geldof and Pixie Geldof...

     – British model and socialite
  • The Gregory Brothers
    The Gregory Brothers
    The Gregory Brothers are an American musical group who characterize their music as "Country & Soul, Folk & Roll". Members include Michael Gregory on drums and vocals, Andrew Rose Gregory on guitar and vocals, Evan Gregory on keys and vocals, and Sarah Fullen Gregory on bass and vocals...

     - music group notable for Internet series, "Auto Tune the News"
  • Zoë Kravitz
    Zoe Kravitz
    Zoë Isabella Kravitz is an American actress, singer and model. She is the daughter of musician Lenny Kravitz and actress Lisa Bonet. She has appeared in the films The Brave One with Jodie Foster, and No Reservations with Catherine Zeta-Jones...

     – actress and singer
  • Barry Manilow
    Barry Manilow
    Barry Manilow is an American singer-songwriter, musician, arranger, producer, conductor, and performer, best known for such recordings as "Could It Be Magic", "Mandy", "Can't Smile Without You", and "Copacabana ."...

     – songwriter and performer
  • Henry Miller
    Henry Miller
    Henry Valentine Miller was an American novelist and painter. He was known for breaking with existing literary forms and developing a new sort of 'novel' that is a mixture of novel, autobiography, social criticism, philosophical reflection, surrealist free association, and mysticism, one that is...

     – novelist
  • Keith Murray
    Keith Murray (singer)
    Keith Austin Murray is the lead vocalist/guitarist of the indie rock band We Are Scientists.-Biography:Murray lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn....

     – singer from the band We Are Scientists
    We Are Scientists
    We Are Scientists is a New York-based indie rock band that formed in Berkeley, California in 2000. Originally formed of Keith Murray on drums, Chris Cain playing bass guitar and Scott Lamb providing vocals and guitar, before Michael Tapper became drummer and Keith became vocalist and guitarist...

  • Jerry Nolan
    Jerry Nolan
    Jerry Nolan was an American rock drummer, best known for his work with The New York Dolls and Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers.-Career:...

     – of the New York Dolls
    New York Dolls
    The New York Dolls is an American rock band, formed in New York in 1971. The band's protopunk sound prefigured much of what was to come in the punk rock era; their visual style influenced the look of many new wave and 1980s-era glam metal groups, and they began the local New York scene that later...

     (childhood friend of Peter Criss)
  • Frankie Rose
    Frankie Rose
    Frankie Rose is a vocalist, songwriter and musician living in Brooklyn, NY. She was formerly an original member of acclaimed garage rock acts Crystal Stilts, Dum Dum Girls, and the Vivian Girls....

     - musician and socialite
  • Tom Reynolds and Tim Daniels – Hosts of iTunes Top 100 rated podcast The Complete Guide to Everything
    The Complete Guide to Everything
    The Complete Guide to Everything sometimes abbreviated to TCGTE, is a free weekly podcast featuring Tom Reynolds and Tim Daniels of Brooklyn, New York. It often runs about 60 – 90 minutes in length and is released every Sunday. The show sarcastically refers to itself as a competitor to Wikipedia in...

  • Semi Precious Weapons
    Semi Precious Weapons
    Semi Precious Weapons is a rock band from New York City consisting of Justin Tranter on vocals, Stevy Pyne on guitar, Cole Whittle on bass and Dan Crean on drums. Pyne replaced former guitarist, Aaron Lee Tasjan, in November 2008...

    , including Justin Tranter
    Justin Tranter
    Justin Tranter is an American musician and jewelry designer. He is most famous as the lead singer of Semi Precious Weapons, a New York "garage glam" rock band...

     – glam rock
    Glam rock
    Glam rock is a style of rock and pop music that developed in the UK in the early 1970s, which was performed by singers and musicians who wore outrageous clothes, makeup and hairstyles, particularly platform-soled boots and glitter...

     band and their frontman
  • Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel – gangster
  • Gene Simmons
    Gene Simmons
    Gene Simmons is an Israeli-American entrepreneur, singer-songwriter, actor, and rock bassist. Known as "The Demon", he is the bassist/vocalist of Kiss, a hard rock band he co-founded in the early 1970s.-Early life:...

     - member of band Kiss
    KISS (band)
    Kiss is an American rock band formed in New York City in January 1973. Well-known for its members' face paint and flamboyant stage outfits, the group rose to prominence in the mid to late 1970s on the basis of their elaborate live performances, which featured fire breathing, blood spitting,...

  • Alex Turner
    Alex Turner
    Alex Turner is the name of:*Alex Turner , Virginian slave, who escaped at the beginning of the American Civil War and fought in the Union army*Alex Turner , film director...

     – English musician and member of Arctic Monkeys
  • Barbra Streisand
    Barbra Streisand
    Barbra Joan Streisand is an American singer, actress, film producer and director. She has won two Academy Awards, eight Grammy Awards, four Emmy Awards, a Special Tony Award, an American Film Institute award, a Peabody Award, and is one of the few entertainers who have won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy,...

     - Singer, actress, film producer, and director
  • Randy Harrison
    Randy Harrison
    Randolph Clarke Harrison is an American actor best known for his portrayal of Justin Taylor on the Showtime drama Queer as Folk.-Early life and college:...

     - Television (Queer as Folk) and theatre actor
  • Michael K. Williams
    Michael K. Williams
    Michael Kenneth Williams is an American actor known for his portrayal of Omar Little on the HBO drama series The Wire, and of Albert "Chalky" White on HBO's Boardwalk Empire.-Early life and career:...

     - Film and television actor, notable for his roles in The Wire
    The WIRE
    the WIRE is the student-run College radio station at the University of Oklahoma, broadcasting in a freeform format. The WIRE serves the University of Oklahoma and surrounding communities, and is staffed by student DJs. The WIRE broadcasts at 1710 kHz AM in Norman, Oklahoma...

    and Boardwalk Empire.

In popular culture


  • New Jersey
    New Jersey
    New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

     rock band Armor For Sleep
    Armor for Sleep
    Armor for Sleep was an American rock band from New Jersey, formed in 2001 and disbanded in 2009. The final lineup consisted of lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Ben Jorgensen, lead guitarist PJ DeCicco, bassist Anthony DiIonno and drummer Nash Breen....

    's third album Smile For Them
    Smile for Them
    Smile for Them is the third and final album by the American rock band Armor for Sleep. The album was released through Sire Records on October 30, 2007....

    featured the single "Williamsburg
    Williamsburg (song)
    "Williamsburg" is the first single from American band Armor for Sleep's third album, Smile for Them.- Music video :The music video shows the band apparently getting in trouble in the principal's office. The principal gets called out of the room and the band begin to play their instruments, with...

    ", which mocks the hipsters
    Hipster (contemporary subculture)
    Hipsters are a subculture of young, recently settled urban middle class adults and older teenagers with musical interests mainly in alternative rock that appeared in the 1990s...

     that call the neighborhood home.
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn may refer to:*A Tree Grows in Brooklyn , a novel by Betty Smith*A Tree Grows in Brooklyn , the cinema adaptation of the novel*A Tree Grows in Brooklyn , the stage adaptation of the novel...

    takes place in Williamsburg in the 1910s.
  • Once Upon a Time in America
    Once Upon a Time in America
    Once Upon a Time in America is a 1984 Italian epic crime film co-written and directed by Sergio Leone and starring Robert De Niro and James Woods. The story chronicles the lives of Jewish ghetto youths who rise to prominence in New York City's world of organized crime...

    takes place in Williamsburg in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1960s.
  • Williamsburg! The Musical debuted at the New York Fringe Festival in 2007. It was created by Nicola Barber, Will Brumley, Brooke Fox and Kurt Gellersted.
  • Williamsburg, Brooklyn is where the character Luke Garroway (Lucian Graymark) lives in the books The Mortal Instruments
  • The Chosen
    The Chosen (Chaim Potok)
    The Chosen is a novel written by Chaim Potok. It was published in 1969. It follows the main character Reuven Malter and his friend Daniel Saunders, as they grow up in New York in the 1940s. A sequel featuring Reuven's young adult years is titled The Promise.-Plot:The Chosen is set in the 1900s, in...

    takes place in Williamsburg in the 1940s.
  • German rock musician Marius Müller-Westernhagen
    Marius Müller-Westernhagen
    Marius Müller-Westernhagen is a German actor and musician.Possibly best known for the maudlin hit "Johnny Walker", Marius Müller Westernhagen has been a feature in German rock music since the mid seventies...

     titled his 2009 album Williamsburg.
  • Latin Grammy winner Kany García
    Kany García
    Encarnita "Kany" García De Jesus is a Puerto Rican singer-songwriter. Born in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, García first appeared on television in 2004 as a contestant on Objetivo Fama...

     filmed her music video for her song "Feliz
    Feliz (song)
    "Feliz" is a Latin pop song written and performed by Kany García. The song was chosen as the first single from Kany's second album, Boleto De Entrada. The song was released to radio on July 22, 2009.-Composition and inspiration:...

    " at Williamsburg.
  • Season 8 of the espionage drama 24 features Williamsburg as the setting of a shootout with terrorists.
  • In London native Greg Holden's song "You're Scaring Me [New York]," he asks "How will I ever get to Williamsburg if I don't know where to start?"
  • The music video for Avril Lavigne
    Avril Lavigne
    Avril Ramona Lavigne is a Canadian singer-songwriter. She was born in Belleville, Ontario, but spent most of her youth in the small town of Napanee. By the age of 15, she had appeared on stage with Shania Twain; by 16, she had signed a two-album recording contract with Arista Records worth more...

    's "My Happy Ending
    My Happy Ending
    "My Happy Ending" is a song written and produced by Avril Lavigne and Butch Walker, and engineered by Russ T. Cobb for Lavigne's second album, Under My Skin . It was released as the album's second internationally released single in 2004 and became Lavigne's fourth most successful single. It peaked...

    " was filmed in Williamsburg and in the now torn down movie theater, The Commodore.
  • In Bloc Party
    Bloc Party
    Bloc Party are a British Indie rock band, composed of Kele Okereke , Russell Lissack , Gordon Moakes , and Matt Tong...

    's song "Mercury", Williamsburg is mentioned with the lyrics "...from Silver Lake to Williamsburg...".
  • The episode "Walk Like a Man" of The Sopranos
    The Sopranos
    The Sopranos is an American television drama series created by David Chase that revolves around the New Jersey-based Italian-American mobster Tony Soprano and the difficulties he faces as he tries to balance the often conflicting requirements of his home life and the criminal organization he heads...

     features a scene shot in Williamsburg.
  • Matt & Kim's album Grand is named after Grand St. in Williamsburg.
  • In the seventh episode of the webcomic Hipster Hitler, Hitler wore a t-shirt which read "Nuremberg to Williamsburg".
  • Dan Melchior
    Dan Melchior
    Dan Melchior is a singer/songwriter/guitarist who grew up in Shepperton, Surrey, , England and is often labeled a 'garage rock' musician....

     wrote a song called "Williamsburg, Brooklyn", featured in his album "Thankyou very much", issued in 2009. Lyrics are especially contemptuous about the neighborhood's new fashion: "All these painters who don't paint any pictures, all these musicians who don't write any songs; let's relocate them to ghettos in the city, the Starbucks will pop out before long.", "Oh you old-time tenant, pack your bags: the rents are gonna rise too high for you".
  • The 1988 movie Coming to America
    Coming to America
    Coming to America is a 1988 comedy film directed by John Landis. The screenplay was written by David Sheffield and Barry W. Blaustein, from a story by Eddie Murphy, who also stars in the film. Murphy plays an African prince, who heads to the United States in hopes of finding a woman he can marry...

    was primarily filmed on South 5th St in Williamsburg despite being set in Queens
    Queens
    Queens is the easternmost of the five boroughs of New York City. The largest borough in area and the second-largest in population, it is coextensive with Queens County, an administrative division of New York state, in the United States....

    .
  • In the 1996 film Sleepers, starring Robert DeNiro, the Catholic church that appears in many scenes is Most Holy Trinity on 140 Montrose Ave.
  • Williamsburg is the setting for the CBS
    CBS
    CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

     television show 2 Broke Girls
    2 Broke Girls
    2 Broke Girls is an North American television comedy series that debuted on CBS during the 2011–12 television season. The first episode aired at 9:30 pm after Two and a Half Men on September 19, 2011. Later episodes followed How I Met Your Mother on Monday nights at 8:30 pm . The series was...

    .

See also

  • List of Brooklyn, New York neighborhoods
  • Congregation Yetev Lev D'Satmar (Williamsburg, Brooklyn)
  • Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow (OBT)
    Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow (OBT)
    Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow is a nonprofit located in Brooklyn, New York. OBT's mission is to educate, train, and support those who are at risk, helping them to acquire the personal and professional skills they need to achieve rewarding employment, self-sufficiency, and productive futures...


External links