I liked Williamsburg. I wasn’t sure I would having found out it was home to the cool and hip who often end up being pretentious and pretty much mass produced in their tattooed, short arty fringe and doc marten kind of way. And yeah they’re there but it’s also home to a huge Jewish community and this was the highlight for me.
Our travel companions had a trip to the Williamsburg thrift shops on their agenda so we thought we’d meet them there and have a squiz. And so we caught the subway to Brooklyn not realising we were about an hours walk away from the neighbourhood. So we trundled off in the vague direction according to our maps (from the smart phone of course) passing through what we now know is the ‘hood’ and is a zone considered a no go. But except for passing a corner shop where we were looked up and down (probably because no white people ever venture there) and where I heard one fellow referring to his mate as a nigger (thought that only happened in rap music) it was ok. Just a long boring walk along a busy industrial type road. Eventually though we entered a nice neighbourhood, serene and quiet, and there I saw a rabii the first I’ve ever seen. Is that naive and parochial? Possibly but I accept that. One can’t be all knowing! Walking further into the neighbourhood produced another man cloaked in black with a hat perched on his head. It was fascinating. Unwittingly we’d stumbled into New York’s Hasidic community, an ultra conservative and insular religious group. I could have stayed there all day people watching but beside being rude we had a date to keep at Bedford ave station.
Now if I was still a huge shopper I would have gone crazy here. I really wanted a pair of tartan overalls but at $300 US didn’t think it was my style anymore. There was a time back in my consumer filled days where I would have bought them but that was before I decided it’s all just a trap to part me from my cash and when I earn, ah you know, nothing from my art then those days are gone. It’s functional and tame for me now.
Of course in this type of arty community there has to be a good dose of street art. And I wasn’t disappointed. Take a look below at some of the highlights. And if you get a chance to go to New York make Williamsburg a priority. But take the subway there direct.
Cheers and happy arting!