Population: 123,714 people; population density 56,763 people per square mile (city-wide: 26,798 people per square mile; borough-wide: 34,917 people per square mile)
Adjacent Neighborhoods: Greenpoint, Bushwick, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Clinton Hill, Navy Yard, Ridgewood (Queens)
Public Transit: L (Bedford Ave./Lorimer St./Graham Ave./Grand St./Montrose Ave./Morgan Ave.), J/M (Marcy Ave./Hewes St./Lorimer St./Flushing Ave.), Z (Marcy Ave.), G (Flushing Ave./Broadway/Metropolitan-Lorimer), East River Ferry to Wall St. or Midtown Manhattan.
What’s Here?: Williamsburg is a rapidly-growing neighborhood known for a large population of young artists, indie rockers, hipsters, and a diverse number of historically ethnic communities. With a thriving music scene, boutique shops, art galleries, and a recent explosion of trendy restaurants and bars, you can take advantage of some of the best the city has to offer without even crossing the river to Manhattan.
The Knitting Factory (relocated from Manhattan) offers concerts every night of the week. Check out free tours and samples of craft beer at the Brooklyn Brewery. The City Reliquary Museum features quirky exhibits on the history of burlesque in New York City as well as an old subway turnstile and vintage postcards. Top restaurants include Gwynnett St., St. Anselm, world-famous Peter Luger steak house, and quirky sandwich shop Saltie.
Flat or Tall?: Historically, Williamsburg featured row homes and mostly single-family housing. However, since rezoning in 2005, the neighborhood has begun to expand into the sky, with a growing number of high-rises along the waterfront with more to come.
History: Williamsburg has had a long history as a home for Manhattanites seeking a less-expensive refuge across the river. Post-WWII, it became home to a large number of Hassidic Jews as well as Hispanic immigrants from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. As industry declined in the 1970s, the neighborhood grew poorer and crime increased. However, over the past generation, young people led by artists and musicians have restored the community and turned it into a safe, upscale destination neighborhood.
Activities: On Saturdays, you can explore Smorgasburg, a popular waterfront food festival featuring dozens of local packaged and prepared food and beverages from all around the city. McCarren Park screens movies during the summer, and East River State Park offers terrific views of Manhattan.
Check it out: The Brooklyn Film Festival brings indie releases to Williamsburg every spring, and WILLiFEST provides movies, music and more to the neighborhood each September. The Brooklyn Flea brings over 100 vendors of handmade and vintage goods to the area each weekend from spring through fall.