No Vacancies Til Brooklyn: How Three Kings of Kings County Conquered Williamsburg, and Gentrification Itself

Paradise. (Matt Chaban)

More than neighborhood pretensions, it may be neighborhood realities that have created the Wythe Hotel. After all, if Brooklyn is America’s Fourth Largest City (as one of Mr. Power’s murals, a knock off from Welcome Back Kotter, reminds guests), it is also the least hotelled.

But this is so much more than just 72 rooms and a restaurant, of which the neighborhood already has two—beside Le Jolie, there is the Hotel Williamsburg, a gross Gansevoort knock-off that fits in with the awful new condos, if anything at all.

No, the Wythe is so much more than a hotel. The mold for Williamsburg has been taking shape for a while now, but now it is set. The area, in a decade’s time, is all grown up. And thanks in large part to Mr. Tarlow and his partners, it is a fully-formed brand. All for less than $500 a night—the best bohemian value on the planet.

“There was a strange Swedish reporter here earlier, dressed as Heidi,” Mr. Lawrence said. “Even they’re into it. She was the fashion editor for a paper I don’t remember the name of. She definitely had real blonde pigtails.”

At Ides on Friday night—the sun setting dead center over the MetLife clock tower on Madison Square Park—two tall, stylish gentlemen in their thirties were leaning against the terrace’s brick ledge, on which they had set their beers and motorcycle helmets.

Nathan, a creative director living in Manhattan (who declined to give his full name for what he said were professional reasons) said he used to come to the neighborhood a lot when he was in college a decade ago, but then it sort of died away, but now it is back, and he is here all the time. His friend Raul, an artist, said he was newer to it all, having moved from downtown two years ago to a place off the Lorimer L stop. They said they had just ridden over from across the river to get away from the riff-raff. “I think it’s definitely going to be chiller,” Nathan said. “We were just at the Standard, and everyone was European and wearing suits and being awful, and that’s how we ended up here.”

How long before here is there? It doesn’t matter. It already is. The denialists and the haters just don’t know it yet.

All is quiet on the Eastern front. This is it. Williamsburg.

mchaban [at] | @MC_NYC

No Vacancies Til Brooklyn: How Three Kings of Kings County Conquered Williamsburg, and Gentrification Itself