While recklesley and johnbaptisedme are busy plotting and poking pins into little hipster voodoo dolls, I’d like to give my account of an evening in Williamsburg. This was definitely not the first trip I have made to the ‘Burg, but it was such a long evening that I figure it merits an entry.
The day began in Bushwick (or East Williamsburg – to craigslist posters). My roommate and I are planning on moving within Brooklyn, and are trying not to be neighborhood-specific. Thus, we are looking everywhere from Greenpoint to Crown Heights. What happened in Bushwick is not really relevant to you, dear readers, except to say that I took the L from the Morgan stop to Bedford. And who knew the L Train was such a treat? First of all, they have signs telling you when the next train will arrive. Why doesn’t the rest of Brooklyn have this? I guess when the L was dormant for about a year, that’s what they were doing. The train is clean and smooth, and runs quite frequently. A delight.
I arrived at the Bedford stop and was met by a bevy of skin-tight jeans, awkward haircuts and strange feeling that I was insanely overweight and out of fashion. Despite this, we trekked on to Rosemary’s Tavern, where nary a hipster was to be seen. There was a Yankees/Red Sox game on, so the bar consisted mostly of older Yankees fans. These people are as foreign to me as hipsters, as I know little of the sport. We drank Coors Light in plastic cups before heading over to Galapagos to see the greatest band on the planet: Monster Eiffel Tower. Galapagos is a nice space at which I have seen several bands, both up and coming and mainstream, as well as several film festivals. There are two concert areas, the main room and a smaller back room, where four bands were set to perform. One thing that should be said, the drinks are way too pricey. Six dollars for a Brooklyn Lager? In Brooklyn? Are we heathens?
It was at this point that I realized that I had never really thought about what a dichotomous borough Brooklyn really is. I am of course referring to the parts of Brooklyn that I’m familiar with (which is very few), and thus, my opinion may not be valid. But I get the feeling that it’s a lot like East and West Berlin, only not as hostile. To say that you are from Williamsburg has its associations, and these are completely different from saying that you are from any other part of Brooklyn. This is not to say that everyone from Williamsburg is a skinny hipster, or that skinny hipsters don’t exist outside of that area (there are plenty in my neighborhood too), but people will in general make assumptions about a person based on their Brooklyn locale. Either you’re from Williamsburg, or you’re not. If someone were to ask me if I lived in Williamsburg, my immediate response would be “What? I’m not in that kind of shape.”
I continued to ponder on this while I heard some great music. Four great (and very different sounding) bands played, including Villa Vina, The Mystery Keys, Monster Eiffel Tower and Brown Bird. The crowd stuck around until the end, and seemed to appreciate the wide variety. And then it was time to go on to the next bar. That bar was hipster staple, Union Pool.
Union Pool has a large inside area, a back room and a massive patio which has just recently gotten its outdoor liquor license. For all of us who were not big fans of hipsters, we picked the wrong fucking night to be there. We arrived and went outside, which was mostly empty initially. But as the evening went on, we began to notice a large group of thin ties, ripped fishnets and mod hair. That’s right. It was a hipster prom. At this point, some left and some were too drunk to care. We stuck around for a while, some of us brave enough to approach hipster girls and boys and try to strike up conversation. But while it was done, it was done with the caution a human would take when talking with an alien species. Only we had landed on their planet, they had not ventured to ours.
The evening concluded at Subway Bar, another non-hipster dive (or maybe they were all just at Union Pool) around the corner. We continued drinking, smoking inside (one thing that only seems to happen frequently in Williamsburg) and shooting pool until around 4:30am, when we took our respective trains back to our home planet. I actually had a great time on Saturday, only met one disagreeable person (when I asked what the hipster prom was all about, he replied “you mean you don’t know?”) and for the most part enjoyed cheap drinks and nicotine-friendly environments. The divide between Williamsburg and the rest of Brooklyn is a strange thing, and may simply have to do with the fact that it’s a pretty big pain in the ass to get from one to the other. I definitely enjoyed making the trip.