Williamsburg: Never Been In a Riot (Updated)

The new 184 Kent. Now, with richer hipsters inside.

As the city rather melodramatically girds for riot over the Teitelbaum succession in the Satmar section of Williamsburg, police found themselves having a job of work handling the neighborhood’s hipster population Saturday Friday night*.

Onlookers at a bar across the street from 184 Kent Street, the waterfront loft building cleared for conversion into luxury condos, said a crowd of thousands had made their way into the building to party through the building’s last night of occupancy.

But come midnight, they were trespassers. So a passel of police cars and fire engines showed up at the scene to clear them out.

Neighbors have objected to the conversion, and lost a battle to get the building landmarked last year.

At one point, an exodus of hipsters could be seen filing down the street from the building, but some were more stubborn.

One large group of them took up residence atop the canopy hanging over the building’s loading dock.

As police moved in to clear out the building, there was some vague fist-pumping in the crowd. Mostly, though, the mood seemed merry as the hipsters filed out of the building and towards the L train under an almost full moon.

We’ve got a call into the police to ask what their account of the evening was. Write in! Send pictures!

We were safely ensconced at the outside patio of Check Cashing, watching the proceedings from a distance and without a cameraphone.

* Apparently your correspondent had a bit too active a weekend to be precise the first time about which night the party took place.

– Tom McGeveran

Our friend Will Rahilly, one-time Observer web-programmer extraordinaire, writes in with this report:

Hi Tom.

I was at the party that evening. My friend Becca, a two-year resident of the building, was leading the campaign to make it a historical landmark. She told me that someone had turned on a fire hose in the building during the party, allowing water to pour down the stairs of the building. We suspected that this is what summoned the fire department at first. Though I’ve never been, the party felt like what I imagine Berlin to be: graffiti on the industrial tanks opposite, green light in a vacant building, bad dance music, etc.

One question about Williamsburg: what is with that empty lot just south of McCarren Park on Bedford? It’s been surprisingly vacant since I moved to the neighborhood in ’99. My friends and I have suspected that some old, stubborn woman owns it.


Williamsburg: Never Been In a Riot (Updated)