Williamsburgtopia is a blog with news, reviews, rants and raves from the Williamsburg, Brooklyn area and surrounding Greenpoint and Bushwick, but it primarily focuses on family and parenting news in the 'hood.
Founder Samantha Moeller launched Williamsburgtopia in December 2012, fully transitioning over in January from her other popular blog, The Hipster Mom, which was getting 2,500 unique views per day at one point.
"I’m almost positive the hipster mom chapter in my life is over," she explained in her final HM post. "I’m tired of the open ended mommy blog. I’ve decided to hone my subject matter and discuss all there is to discuss about being a parent in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It’s fun, it’s new, it’s inspiring, and there’s endless fodder about my relation to the neighborhood...."
The six-year resident of Wiliamsburg (who even met her husband at a loft party in the neighborhood) knows her fair share about the area she calls home.
1. What would you tell someone moving in?
That Williamsburg is the coolest neighborhood ever! You hardly have to leave anymore. Once the rumored Whole Foods arrives, we are going to be set.
This is what makes it such a great neighborhood for families. You can walk all over Williamsburg, with the kids, and get anything you need. Our local businesses are smart and well curated to our tastes. Places like Spoonbill & Sugartown Booksellers, Sprout Home, and Artist and Craftsman are all awesome local businesses that are really well stocked.
2. Where are the best deals in the neighborhood in terms of real estate? What about in terms of dining/entertainment?
We bought our home over a year ago. It’s a townhouse-style place with one rental on Powers Street about 4 blocks from the Union/Metropolitan L and G trains. The open house was insane and we got it on a “best and final” offer. I wouldn’t call it a deal, so if I was looking for a real deal I’d go out to Bushwick. Bushwick is really coming up and there’s got to be better deals to be had than in central Williamsburg.
I’m more of a dining and entertainment gal than a real estate chick, and I think for food, a great cheap eat is this place on Grand Street called Pho (at least that’s what the neon sign in the window says). It’s got amazing Pho (surprise!) and Vietnamese sandwiches.
I also love Vinnie’s on Bedford. Their slices are like whole meals. They have all these crazy combos like The Cowboy, Mac Attack, and the TaRANCHula. All you need is a slice to fill you up and they have vegan options which I guess is good for those who fancy it.
As for entertainment, being a parent I’m usually doing kids-oriented activities and I find the best entertainment is free. You cannot beat going to McCarren on a beautiful day for a play date. Or doing some shopping on a Saturday at the farmers market across from Urban Rustic on Union between N 12th and Driggs. It borders this weird little triangle area where there's the dog park and the garden with a bunch of tables. It's a great meeting place.
3. What's the most coveted location within the neighborhood to live?
I'd say Berry or Wythe anywhere between North 6th and the park. This area is ideal because you're close to the train and close to, well, everything! Those streets still have some loft-type buildings and townhouses, but they also have fancy new condos if that's your bag.
4. Is there a dream building in the neighborhood?
Actually an artist friend of mine, Haze, bought a building on Conseleya and really tricked it out. His studio is on the ground level and he created a courtyard in there somehow. The place has all the bells and whistles. It's slick and modern and he occupies the whole place. I think his place is dreamy for sure!
5. Any buildings that feel out of place with the feel of the neighborhood?
Well, I think what the Edge did for the neighborhood is fine. They created a really beautiful area down by the water and they're creating housing for more people, in turn helping local businesses etc., but it's so big, just too tall really.
6. Any real estate related controversy brewing or currently happening in the neighborhood?
It seems like there's a lot of buzz around Wythe/Kent Ave corridor. Not so controversial but I've heard that tech companies might be moving in and it's really becoming a scene. It's very much in the spotlight at the moment.
7. How has the neighborhood changed in the past five years? Any projections on how it will change in the next five?
Williamsburg has just grown so dramatically its truly amazing. From my perspective, I love all the family friendly businesses, play places, better grocery stores and new schools like Brooklyn Arbor (a progressive charter school.)
New shops and restaurants are popping up everyday. I love classic neighborhood joints like Gimme Coffee, but if I want to get fancy, and meet a mom when the kids are in school, we'll go to Toby Estates. We have more choices now.
Okay, five years from now...I hope the Whole Foods everyone is always talking about actually opens. I'm starting to think its an urban legend.
The neighborhood is going to get more yupster--it has to. The struggling artist/musician/student (unless they come with a trust fund) won't be able to keep up, or even want to.
Maybe Ridgewood, Queens will be the next big thing?
I think Williamsburg will always have a flare for the hip, trendsetting, and bohemian, but I think that many of the originators of that scene will still be in the mix. They've found success and they're still around making an impression, just older, with kids!
We can count on it becoming a bit more commercial, like, I could see a Barney's Co-Op or even some good designer stores moving in. Maybe something like what happened in the Meatpacking District. I'm just glad that it will never be Park Slope or the Upper West Side.
8. What do you think your "sister" neighborhood might be?
Oh it's Bushwick for sure! Bushwick is Williamsburg's bad-ass little brother actually. While Williamsburg went and got a degree in marketing or graphic design, Bushwick is still living the dream playing drums in a band.
9. Which neighborhood feels like the opposite of your neighborhood?
I gotta go with Park Slope. And look, I lived there in 2001 for three years, so I know. It's just sorta uptight, sensible. It's very Subaru Outback. It's all function, no fashion. They have a damn good park though.
I had other girl friends in Park Slope, so we would hop around to each others houses and have brunch. I would party in Williamsburg then, though.
10. Would you stay in this neighborhood forever if you could?
Yes!!! I adore Williamsburg with all of my heart. It's a community of friends that I went from partying with to having children with. Maybe we'll still be running in a senior crew one day....in the very, very, very distant future.
After we had our first kid we actually moved to Ridgewood. It seemed like a good idea because it was so close to Williamsburg. We both worked and did everything in Williamsburg and it was just a short ride down Metropolitan Ave.
But in the end I felt isolated with two kids. I'd stopped working and I had to get in the car to do anything. I hated it. We moved back to Williamsburg about a year and a half ago and I couldn't be happier. Every time I walk out the door I see someone I know. I'm a social type, so I love that.
I just want to keep growing here. In a few years I definitely want to upgrade into a super jiggy garage/loft conversion situation if they're still around. We'll keep our place, rent it out and be making money on it. Real estate in Williamsburg is gold.
11. If not, where would you want to go?
Okay then when I get really old and can't stand the New York cold anymore, me and my man will be heading south. We'll be snow birds. But my heart is in Williamsburg. I can't imagine being anywhere else anytime soon.
12. What is one of the biggest misconceptions about the neighborhood?
That hipsters are somehow bad. I do not get that. The word hipster has existed since the 40s, it's nothing new.
Hipsters have fun, they like to party, make music, do art, look good. What the fuck is wrong with that? Tell me! I'd take hanging around with a few hipsters and a case of PBR over a bunch of boring squares any day. I don't get why people are so hung up on it.