Explore With Me: Williamsburg Edition

Thomas Chou
Smorgasburg, one of the must-go spots in Williamsburg, is a seasonal food festival with over 75 vendors held every Saturday.

If you and your friends have been planning a day trip to Williamsburg, you better go soon, before it’s too late. If you haven’t already heard the heartbreaking news, the L train to Brooklyn is undergoing repairs to the tune of $477 million at the beginning of 2019, and according to an article published in the New York Times, this means that the entire subway line will be shut down for a total of 15 months. Sadly, there will be no more weekend trips to Smorgasburg and no more trips to the eclectic thrift shops that Williamsburg has to offer, unless you plan on trekking, biking or taking a car.

Home to some of the world’s most expensive, artisanal coffees and the most rapid gentrification New York City has ever seen, Williamsburg — the ultimate hipster, man-bun, beard-waxing, thick-framed-glasses-wearing paradise — is a neighborhood definitely worth exploring while it is still super accessible and easy to do so. Tucked away across the East River in the borough of Brooklyn, Williamsburg is just a short ride away on the L train.

You should go on a weekday, to try and avoid the influx of tourists that swarm the small neighborhood on the weekends. On Saturdays, Williamsburg’s very own East River Park is home to the ever-famous Smorgasburg, a bustling food festival full of fantastic eats. If you have been dying to get an Instagram shot of the ramen burger, gooey mozzarella sticks or a pretty açai bowl, Smorgasburg is the place to do so. Not only is the food incredible, there is a gorgeous view to match: overlooking the East River is the stunning Manhattan skyline.

When in Williamsburg, thrifting is a must. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, thrift stores are boundless in this chic neighborhood. Rumor has it that Manhattan thrift stores often send buyers to thrift stores in Williamsburg to snatch up cute items, and then mark them up back in their own stores in Manhattan. Save money and avoid the markups by visiting the source yourself — thrift stores like Buffalo Exchange, Crossroads Trading Co. and Fox & Fawn are absolute classics, all at incredibly affordable price points.

For a late afternoon, caffeine-filled pick-me-up, check out FREEHOLD, a coffee shop during the day turned bar at night, for some great coffee, cookies and conversation. In true Williamsburg coffeeshop fashion, FREEHOLD sets itself apart from its competitors by having both indoor and backyard seating, featuring a foosball table, a ping-pong table and corn hole. Later, when the sun goes down and they turn the fairy-lights up, the coffee shop transforms into a popular venue for live bands to perform, and welcomes a lively crowd.

While for many NYU students even the Flatiron district feels far away, Williamsburg is certainly a neighborhood worth making a trip to visit. With the L train closing soon, make sure a trip across the East River to Williamsburg is at the top spot on your New York City bucket list.

Email Thomas Chou at [email protected].

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