Weekend in Williamsburg

By Melissa Limberg

Far, far away from my Upper East Side residence is a place that precedes itself in legend.  Hipster legend.  I had vowed to myself that I hated it, I didn’t even want to spend time there.  Brooklyn.  More specifically – Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  Like, the capitol city of all things ironic and avant-garde.  Snooze.  I was over it before I was even under it.  As luck would have it, however, a couple of friends were going out of town and in a pinch they asked me to dog sit.  People who know me know there are two things I really just don’t do: Dogs and Brooklyn.  Well, I was about to spend a weekend surrounded by both.  Friday night, I took a breath and I boarded the downtown express 4 and transferred to the L in Union Square.  I was boldly about to go where many had gone before.

Getting off the L train at the Bedford stop was immediately a bustling experience.  It felt so busy and I kind of liked that.  Within two blocks walking toward the water on N 7th St I saw something that made my eyes widen.  A 16 Handles.  Maybe I didn’t give you enough emotion when I wrote that… A 16 FREAKIN’ HANDLES!!!  If this place is in Williamsburg, I was set.  (You know how I feel about frozen yogurt.)  The further I walked the more impressed I was with what surrounded me.  Full of character, delightfully busy, yet adorably quaint.

I was lucky enough to spend the weekend at a condo right on the water called “The Edge” with magnificent views of New York City.  There are promenades and open grass areas for your pups.  Also, close to The Edge is a large open space that houses the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg which park themselves there every weekend through the fall season.

Things you should do on the weekend in Williasmburg:

If you were to spend a nice little Saturday strolling about here’s a path I would recommend:

Saturday I walked up to 12th (right after Driggs) by McCarren Park and took in the Brooklyn Green Market.  Fresh produce, flowers, baked goods, spices, pickles, etc. were in abundance.  I loved the variety and all of the local vendors selling their products.  It was packed with people and child and dog friendly.  I noticed that most of Williamsburg was actually very dog friendly, which helped me out a lot.  This would be an excellent trip to make if you hadn’t yet picked up fresh groceries for the week.  I purchased some wasabi dill pickles and a bag of fresh Honeycrisp apples.  Happy with my haul, the pug and I headed home.

Later that Saturday afternoon we decided to check out Smorgasburg.  SUCH a good choice.  There were probably a hundred or more vendors selling their goods.  There was every food you could imagine being represented in this display – Columbian, Moroccan, Ramen, Japanese street food, Redhook lobster, scallops, chicken, oysters, fresh kombucha brewers, milkshakes, empanadas, macaroons… the list goes on and on.  It was excruciatingly difficult deciding what I wanted to try.  Luckily there were two of us which makes it easier to try more and eat less 😉  I could have easily spent two hours wandering around and just taking in all of the different choices (and, you know, eating).  There’s a beer garden right in the middle which seems pretty inviting if you’re looking to make the long haul around Smorgasburg.

When you’re all done getting your fill of culturally diverse noshes and stocking up on green market goodies, take a walk down by The Edge.  You’ll have a chance to just look at the water and enjoy the scenery that you’ve put yourself in.  It feels good to sit and look at the city with a little extra breathing room.

Conveniently located right smack dab in the middle (between the promenade and the Smorgasburg/Brooklyn Flea area) is the East River Ferry.  For $4 your ride home back to Manhattan can be quite picturesque – not that the subway isn’t pretty, but you know.  You can buy tickets right outside the dock and there are several times that  throughout the day it picks up passengers.  I think if you follow this path, you’ve had yourself quite a nice little Saturday!

If you’re hanging around Williamsburg on a Sunday, the place where they hold Smorgasburg is converted over to the Brooklyn Flea.  Lots of vintage clothing, antiques, homemade jewelry and other vendors set up for your purchasing pleasure.  This gets pretty busy, but you’ll enjoy perusing the goods.  There are food tents stationed about, and the staple of a beer garden.  Some booths take cards if a purchase is large enough which is an added bonus!  If I were you, though, I’d just bring cash to make everyone’s life easier.

Other than the Green Market, Brooklyn Flea, Smorgasburg, and The Edge – I found Williamsburg to be insanely charming.  There were so many good restaurants to choose from I was impressed and a little flustered – because I couldn’t figure out where to go.  I can now see why so many people are obsessed with the place!  I actually am looking forward to going back and trying out more places to eat, drink, and explore.

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