Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York. How I learned of the mystique of Williamsburg is kind of hard to explain; it trickled surreptitiously through websites here and there, and at some point, I just kind of knew the place existed.
And its full of hipsters.
Last Sunday me and my friend, who's very much into joining scenes, seized the perfect opportunity to go there when we found out about the Pool Parties. A series of free concert festivals? Why the fuck not?
Tricky thing though, places; if you don't know where they are, you end up lost as fuck. Which is kind of what happened.
We got off the subway in Brooklyn, and asked some stranger where it was. He immediately shot us down with a small guffaw followed by "...Well it's like 45 minutes away", which was a polite way of saying "You guys are retards."
We went in the direction he pointed to, though, and walked. A walk like no other; we had little beyond faith to keep us going, and the area only managed to combat it. We went through a ghetto, with shirtless angry black guys and bodegas that'd probably slip in a dimebag if you know the password.
However, as we continued to trekking, there was a small scarf with a gray base and pink/blue striping. A piece of hipster clothing!, I thought to myself. I mentioned it to my friend, and he took it as empirical evidence of Williamsburg being on the horizon.
"When we start seeing neon-colored sunglasses though," my friend said, "you'll know we're there."
I still didn't believe we'd get there however. So I laughed off his advice.
Shortly thereafter we somehow landed in a completely Jewish neighborhood. I mean, completely. School buses with Hebrew language printed on them, women and children dressed in exactly the same clothing. And pennies being picked up feverishly off the ground.
No of course I didn't see the last part. But this deterred me from hope as well. Until I saw the bikers and skaters that rode towards us as we walked. More hipsters, and they were coming from the same origin.
We were almost there.
And indeed we were, after passing the primarily Latino neighborhood. The smell of rice and chicken wafting through the air always takes me back to sandals being thrown at my face as a kid. Mmmm, good times.
We finally saw the sign, which pointed to Williamsburg Bridge being in the exact direction we were walking, and not after about 5 minutes, we began looking all around us. Lazy thin colorful t-shirts. Haircuts with the sides buzzed off and the top left full hanging over their foreheads. Pants that may or may not have been their sisters'. Shredded Chucks and Vans being worn without socks.
And, yes, neon-colored sunglasses.
We made it. We walked to Williamsburg. And shortly thereafter, we reached the festival. Unfortunately, we only made it in time for one band, but the time I spent there was generally fun, and it broke my initial perspective of hipster people. To this point, because of Williamsburg, I'm not sure if I embrace these scene kids or not. If its admirable that they're so dedicated to their lifestyle, or believe that they look like flamboyant jackasses.
After the festival we went through a street which appeared more or less the main street of the neighborhood. Everywhere you looked, the festival's hipster residue made its mark as they hung out on doorsteps, at restaurants, and bars. What was unexpected was how ghetto the street looked. Graffitti tagged nearly every other wall, more of the apartment buildings look pretty antiquated, and the kids themselves wore clothes that were arguably torn off their curtains.
Wasn't as high end or yuppie as these scene places usually are; I expected something like Hoboken, NJ, which was a cross between suburb and city life. The atmosphere of openness and trashiness led me to believe, surprisingly, that Williamsburg was more or less neo-Haight Ashbury.
Without LCD-fueled aeronautics.
I did absolutely enjoy myself, though. I love being at a place where everyone just wants to get along and enjoy themselves, and so was the case there.
But enough of my babbling. TIME FOR A WHOLE BLOG OF PICTURES!