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Williamsburg rooftop, © Douglas Elliman, Courtesy of The Peters O’Brien Team
Williamsburg rooftop, © Douglas Elliman, Courtesy of The Peters O’Brien Team
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The Ultimate Renter's Guide To Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Picture of Amber C. Snider
Home & Design Editor
Updated: 2 April 2017
Situated directly across from Manhattan and conveniently located off the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn, Williamsburg’s real estate affluence is undeniable. Love it or hate it, this ever-evolving neighborhood known for its avant-garde residents takes a top spot as one of NYC’s trendiest (and expensive) areas. Here’s (almost) everything you need to know according to the experts, including where to eat, what to look out for, and what to know before renting – or investing – in a space of your own in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Williamsburg rooftop, Sixth & Meyer © Douglas Elliman, Courtesy of The Peters O’Brien Team
Williamsburg rooftop, Sixth & Meyer | © Douglas Elliman, Courtesy of The Peters O’Brien Team

Local Transit

G train at Lorimer St., Metropolitan Ave, & Broadway

J, M, Z trains at Lorimer St., Hewes St., & Marcy Ave

L train at Bedford Ave, Lorimer St., Graham Ave, & Grand Street

On The General Neighborhood Vibe

Experts say…“Williamsburg is culture forward. It is an inclusive environment with a nod to fashion, entertainment and real estate. It’s modern meets classic, with an influx of new and foreign residents combined with the original characters already enshrined creates a beautiful melting pot of cultures, languages and artistic expression. Williamsburg has evolved in ways that other areas weren’t able to because of all the new construction available.” – The Peters O’Brien Team at Douglas Elliman

55 North 5th Model Apt 1 © Citi Habitats
55 North 5th Model Apt 1 | © Citi Habitats

Expect the unexpected…

Experts say…“Nothing is at is seems. Don’t expect a huge sign telling you where to go. Do expect a cool looking warehouse where you go in and suddenly it’s a multistory store with an urban outfitters, local designers, and a restaurant on the roof. Even the J-Crew in Williamsburg has a barely detectable sign – you wouldn’t know what it was until you were inside.” Christine Blackburn, licensed real estate agent, Compass

What Should A New Renter Know About Williamsburg?

“[There is a lot] of inventory and so [there are a lot] of great deals! Look for listings offering no fee & even free months of rent. ” – Eugene Litvak, licensed real estate agent at Compass

“Williamsburg is BIG. Know the areas you like and consult a broker on looking for locations which suit your budget.” – Christine Blackburn, licensed real estate at Compass

North Side of Williamsburg. © Douglas Elliman, Courtesy of The Peters O’Brien Team
North Side of Williamsburg. | © Douglas Elliman, Courtesy of The Peters O’Brien Team

Recommended Eats (and Drinks)

Imbibe and Indulge Your Way Through Town…

Best Farm-To-Table Restaurant: Diner. “Founder Andrew Tarlow was among the key players who caused the expansion of the creative class in the neighborhood. Diner was one of the original spots which helped develop the unique culture and aesthetic for which Williamsburg is world-renowned.” – Can Nomer, licensed real estate agent for Citi Habitats

Best Italian Restaurant: Oregano & Aurora

Best Bar With A View: The Ides at The Wythe Hotel. “The Ides at The Wythe Hotel is their rooftop bar and it provides a great view of the city. You can take the in panoramic views while sipping on some amazing artisanal cocktails. I recommend the Moscow Mule.” – Can Nomer, licensed real estate agent for Citi Habitats

Best Bar for Mezcal: MesaCoyoacan

Best Evening Spot: Freehold. “Great spot for night time fun. It’s a coffee house by day – and lounge with outdoor space with a live DJ by night. It is one address that offers a lot of options, no matter your mood.” – Can Nomer, licensed real estate agent for Citi Habitats

Best Group Entertainment: Brooklyn Bowl

Experts Say…

Cafe Mogador is always fantastic, as is Bakeri on Wythe Ave and little spots along Grand Street like Samurai Mama and Salt and Charcoal.” – Christine Blackburn, licensed real estate agent from Compass

“Never-ending supply of great places to eat, shop, catch a music or comedy show, or just walk around and people watch. There is a fresh energy and excitement shared by the residents and its countless visitors. It has become a true destination and a wonderful place to live. Oh, and only 3 minutes into Manhattan.” – The Peters O’Brien Team at Douglas Elliman

North 6th, Williamsburg. © Douglas Elliman, Courtesy of The Peters O’Brien Team
North 6th, Williamsburg. | © Douglas Elliman, Courtesy of The Peters O’Brien Team

Nearby Universities and Colleges

Boricua College Berkeley College – Brooklyn

186 N 6th St, Brooklyn, NY 11211 200 Willoughby Ave Brooklyn, NY 11205

Neighborhood Disadvantages

Too much of a good thing: “The neighborhood is almost too popular, and can be a little crowded on the weekends, but those in the “know” can navigate through the masses and frequent shops and boutiques that aren’t on the beaten path by avoiding Bedford, Wythe and Kent Avenues.” – The Peters O’Brien Team at Douglas Elliman

Overexposure: “Williamsburg can at times be a little too popular. It’s a victim of its own success. It will be interesting to see what impact the temporary closure of the L-train will have on the community. It may end up quieting things down on the weekends somewhat – and that might be a good thing!” – Can Nomer at Citi Habitats

Impending L Closure: “Transportation – the L is already the only train to get to the city and it’ll be shut down for nearly 2 years.” – Eugene Litvak at Compass

North 6th © Douglas Elliman, Courtesy of The Peters O’Brien Team
North 6th | © Douglas Elliman, Courtesy of The Peters O’Brien Team

Neighborhood Stats*

Median Household Income (2013): $35,982 (compared to $57,369 for NYC as a whole)

Average Age: 25-29

Population: 127,995

Average Rent Cost (2013): $1,011

Percentage of people in arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations: 20.4% (males) 13.8% (females) *compared to NYC overall (3% vs. 2.9%)

*All statistics taken from City-Data.com

Williamsburg rooftop, © Douglas Elliman, Courtesy of The Peters O’Brien Team
Williamsburg rooftop, | © Douglas Elliman, Courtesy of The Peters O’Brien Team

Architectural Sites & Landmarks

Williamsburg Art and Historical Society

Designed by architects King & Wilcox. William H. Wilcox in the Second Empire Baroque style

135 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211

The Willamsburg Savings Bank

Designed by George Post in the Classical Revival style

834 Driggs Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Lord

Designed by Louis Allmendiger in the Russian Byzantine style

228 N. 12th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Williamsburgh Savings Bank © Wiki Images
Williamsburgh Savings Bank | © Wiki Images

What should newbies stay away from?

Experts say…

“Anything with a big sign and nobody sitting inside! if its not crowded, you’re not in the right place .” – Christine Blackburn, licensed real estate agent, Compass

“Overpriced cold brew, delicious, but worth it? And Whole Foods at rush hour – long lines!” –The Peters O’Brien Team at Douglas Elliman.

“The easiest way for anyone new to Williamsburg to have a bad experience is to be taken advantage of by a bad landlord/management company. Where you live is very important to your overall well-being. If you can’t get in contact with management when repairs to your home are needed, it will cause lots of discomfort and have a negative impact on your life. Do your homework. Be sure to use a reputable broker and research your would-be landlord. Speak to your potential neighbors to see what their experience has been.” – Can Nomer, licensed real estate agent, Citi Habitats

Green Spaces