Sometimes the responsibilities of adulthood are thrust upon the young when they least expect it. That’s what will happen if you move to the Aurora, at 30 Bayard. The just-built park-front building, which reportedly set a neighborhood record last year with a $3.8 million sale, has mostly young couples with wee Williamsburgers in tow. Babies having babies!
“There are a lot of people that got pregnant after they moved in,” says a broker.
Besides the families, there’s this one really model-like Japanese guy, a neighbor says. (Write to us on Craigslist’s missed connections, O.K.? LOL!)
EATING, DRINKING AND SHOPPING, OR, PLACES TO LOOK REALLY CUTE
There’s not much in the way of gray sweatshirts that say “Williamsburg” in a collegiate slab-serif across the bust, but a small exercise in translation will be necessary anyway to explain to you the rules of the Williamsburg color guard.
Start at Buffalo Exchange, where you can fill your closet with the school colors: plaid, clash, and ugly! Blindingly bright ’80s-style togs, iridescent leggings and shiny windbreakers are like the spirit sticks of the Bedford set. Don’t forget the handbands and knee socks with shorts! And for the boys: A little ambient dinge is not only fine—it is to be cultivated. Jeans should be slightly shiny, like the paint they call “eggshell finish.”
If you find you just can’t get the hang of it, you can always go the obvious route by shopping at Brooklyn Industries, where things actually say Brooklyn right on them! But beware—that might be a little bit too obvious. If you plan to spend time in public in Williamsburg, you should look more like something that just leapt out of (a) The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, (b) Franny and Zooey, (c) a Neu! video or (d) the closet.
Not everything older than 25 is worthless. Take the Brooklyn Brewery, where that ubiquitous quaff of aley-tasting beer is brewed and, in fact, served! On a given Friday night or Saturday morning, a massive sea of picnic tables seat as many of the bros in button-ups and white baseball caps as can be found in the neighborhood. They’re playing Beer Pong and Quarters, which is either cool in an ironic way or just plain cool, but probably not uncool. High five!
Occasionally in postcollege life it becomes necessary to exercise your brain, which can be hard to do when there is no alcohol around, and harder to do when there is! The solution may
well be Trivia Night at Pete’s Candy Store. These are not like those depressing things on the Upper East Side where old alcoholics stare at a screen and answer dumb questions with a little thing in their laps until it’s time to stumble home to the cats. But that would be cool, though. No, here you’ll learn how to identify a song when it is played backward. Pete’s also has free BBQ in the summer and all sorts of other mind-expanding educational classes like spelling bees, Scrabble and bingo!
Sometimes a styrofoam cup of hard noodles or a questionable burrito from next to the Lorimer Street subway stop just won’t do the trick, and you need more than just something to soak up all that mojito sloshing around in your gut.
Consider Enid’s your “home away from home,” where you can roll out of bed in your sweatpants with “JUICY” spelled across the butt, eat brunch with your friends and review last night’s house-party happenings. “Did you, like, see that girl?”
If you happen to live a little bit east, there are plenty of places for basic provender. Sumac, right next to the Lorimer L stop, is one of those kinds of places where you can get cans of Pellegrino Aranciata with the little foil tops; so is Khim’s, the Korean deli at Grand and Bedford that sells chocolate too nice for most gourmet shops in Manhattan, even if the front does look a bit like every Korean grocery you’ve ever been to. Never judge a book by its cover!
Speaking of which! If you’re looking for the kind of place that will give you an escape from your awful apartment while you work on the next Great American Novel or a grant application, you could do worse than Café Grumpy up north, or the vast Roebling Tea Room further south. It’s also a good place to read the newspaper on your computer.
Of course, actual newspapers are for suckers and for people who aren’t good with computers. But Vice magazine is for neither, so you should pick up a copy. It’s basically news that only you can possibly use. What you shouldn’t be caught dead wearing on Bedford Avenue, but also what certain people think is the next thing. It almost always is, so embrace it even if you feel like a fucknut in those sunglasses with no lenses but just slats! It means more if you did it before it was cool.
Speaking of which, there are some places in Williamsburg that are really nice, but it’s a crap shoot whether it’s cool to pay that much money for food that is mostly not seitan.
Still, when your folks come to town to visit, they might want to absorb a little of the local color instead of making you meet them for dinner at like Del Posto or some shit.
When that happens, it’s good to know about places like Aurora. On a given night there, between the rustic stylings of the dining room and the breezy, beautiful garden, you’ll find you’re not the only one bringing the ’rents out for a bite. And it’s a bit out of the way, down on Grand Street, so roving packs of pierced kids won’t acknowledge you on the street and ask you how you’re recovering from the previous night’s bender.
If your parents are really fancy, go to Dressler. There will be lots of professional- (and old-) looking people there.
When things get boring at bars, restaurants, cafes and little shops, you sometimes have to buy tickets to events.
By no means overlook the activity center, McCarren Pool! Here is where all the cool bands like Sonic Youth and Death Cab for Cutie and the Black Lips play. (O.K., maybe some of them are not cool. But many are.) There’re also movies like Wet Hot American Summer. (Is Michael Ian Black your hero? Srsly?!!!1!) And what is supercool and ironic is that on Sundays there are dodgeball games—dodgeball!—and hot babes participating in a Slip ’N’ Slide slam. Great spot for flirting with new friends, btw!
Nearby is the place to establish yourself in the Williamsburg social ecology this summer. It’s called McCarren Park, but you can secretly think of it as the Quad.