It was one of those luckier than lucky nights when both kids managed to invite themselves over to their pal’s houses for sleepovers on the SAME night! I couldn’t pass up the chance to get out. My husband and I hopped in Etta (Jetta minus the J) and drove to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. When I first moved to NYC, I had visions of myself out at night in Manhattan á la Carrie Bradshaw, sipping cocktails on a rooftop bar. But that just NEVER happens. We never seem to know where to go in Manhattan, and then our express train turns local at 10 pm so what used to be a 25 min trip home becomes over an hour. It’s a complete buzzkill, so we started heading to Brooklyn. We take turns being sober and it’s only a 20 minute drive (if you don’t hit any lights and there’s not a single crazy person cutting you off or trying to kill you on the way). We’ve even found a secret parking area where there are always spots. We exit the car…and then start soaking up all the COOLNESS we can get. The thing is…Williamsburg has an overabundance of COOL. I really think they need to spread some of it out…like what about spreading it over to Queens? People with kids want some coolness…and well…we have to hang where the good schools are.
As you start to walk around Williamsburg, which is bigger than you’ll ever think…the coolness factor gets amped up considerably. The first bar has THE hippest light fixtures you’ve ever seen, the next had a street artist come in and paint a mural for it’s wall, while the one on the corner turned a pickup truck into a bar. One bar after another…in a parade line of COOLNESS. Then, there’s the music factor. NYC is full of struggling artists and musicians so as you can imagine, each bar you pass has some sort of musical entertainment, and they’re all GOOD. We ventured into one of our favorite beer halls, Radegast Hall and Biergarten and not only do you feel like you’ve been transported to Munich (the prices of the beer attests to that as well, as you pay for the airplane fuel that brought the beer to Brooklyn), but then the musical entertainment started playing, and it was AWESOME…and…FREE. The band that played was called Jessy Carolina and the Hot Mess (video below). I’m not really sure how to describe their sound…maybe ragtime…but Jessy’s voice is AMAZING!
Anyhow…there we were, smelling sauerkraut, drinking delicious beer in a really cool atmosphere, listening to amazing free music, and then…a couple popped out of a booth and started swing dancing…and they were GOOD…like professionals. Yup…that’s pretty much a normal evening in Williamsburg. The funny part was that there were three French hipsters seated next to us and they were actually recording the whole thing on their iphones. I chuckled to myself, thinking that they were then going to post it on Facebook to show their French pals…just what a summer evening in Williamsburg is all about.
What I can’t help but wonder every time I head to Williamsburg is…how do the hipsters afford to live there and go out? You can’t really be a starving artist and afford Williamsburg rent and dinner prices. Also, one thing I’ve started noticing about NYC…there are NO high schoolers. Every free concert, or street fair I’ve attended in the last six months has been devoid of anyone under 20. It just seems sort of sad. When I was a teenager in San Diego and then later DC, I was at every free concert and street fair. People with kids are pushed further and further out of the city in order to find good schools, and then it divides the city up and the demographics become sad.
For more information on a perfect day in Williamsburg, click here.