So after the thrilling chaos of East Village, on Friday I moved into a sublet in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg for the next three weeks. My sweet new roommate is some kind of musical savant – when I first met her and she said she was learning to play the accordion, I was a little concerned. But the reality of hearing her practice in the next room, accompanied on saw (!) by her friend who’s also a painter and web-designer (and great cook), has been that life suddenly feels like a slightly more ghetto version of Amelie. Surrounded by such creative people, it feels like a luxury to stay home and write on a Saturday night rather than brave the bars of the city.
Fairy lights are strung around my open window, the sounds of life and traffic filtering up from Graham Avenue three floors below. The subway that connects us here so easily to Manhattan, the L train, is shut down for maintenance all weekend, so that’s been a good incentive to spend more time exploring this new hood.
This morning brought an expedition to the farmers market at McCarren Park, about ten minutes’ walk away, after a great coffee from hipster hive Variety. It’s weird, great espresso is so taken for granted in Australia that it’s kinda funny to see people go ape for it here. Anyway, it’s sunbright summery this weekend and the market was even better than expected, bountiful with seasonal produce from the area – apples, sugary plums, bright radishes, jars of honey and bouquets of flowers. I heaved home some huge bunches of beets and monster carrots, which I can’t wait to roast, along with organic yoghurt, coriander (we call it cilantro here, posh eh?) and a generous handful of my new discovery, concord grapes. They’re round and blue-black like muscats but soft and syrupy sweet inside.
In what can only be a great omen for my new neighbourhood, I actually bumped into someone I know (well, who I’ve met once) at the market, and later we met up for french toast and bloody marys at Harefield Road, which I suspect could become my local. After that we had coffee and delicious delicacies from Fortunato Brothers, a classic Italian-style pasticceria that serves amazing cannoli, a rainbow of gelato flavours, and is home to a lazy fat cat called Rocky.
Williamsburg is this crazy mix of old Italians and young creatives. A shop over the road which I thought sold funeral ornaments also sells brick-oven-baked bread. The community is reportedly still recovering from the death of an old woman who would get up at 3am every day to make fresh mozzarella and sell it from her doorway. The streets aren’t as green as the Village but you just know most the homes have gardens hidden out back. Brick facades laced with fire escapes, bikes everywhere. Expect more details – particularly on food and cocktails! – but I reckon I’m on a winner here.