Travel with Val: Hip Williamsburg drawing tourists
Williamsburg, Brooklyn is one of New York's hippest neighborhoods and now it's also turning into a tourist hot spot. Valarie D’Elia has more.
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Williamsburg, Brooklyn is just a quick ferry ride across the East River or one subway stop from Manhattan on the L train. The pulsing artery of the neighborhood is Bedford Avenue, with blood that runs decidedly cool along a hip strip of galleries, boutiques and restaurants.
The neighborhood is a popular check-in location on a trendy tourist’s Foursquare and an easy day trip for curious New Yorkers like me. On my visit, I first had to check out the boutique hotels getting raves.
The King & Grove was originally opened for about five minutes as the Williamsburg Hotel. In new hands, the hotel has kept the popular pool but restyled practically everything else.
"It’s meant to feel like home, part of the neighborhood," says Jessica Luzzi of the King & Grove Williamsburg.
The Wythe on the avenue of the same name is a turn-of-the-century industrial conversion retaining high timber ceilings and other stunning original touches. Its 72 guest rooms have custom wallpaper from Flavor Paper, a local business.
Across the street is I Hate Perfume, another home-grown favorite that literally stinks with "reality-based" fragrances designed to conjure up familiar aromas. With one whiff, you can be transported to the Far East, to your favorite beach or even to the Irish countryside, without heading to the airport.
Of course, a glass of wine at the Brooklyn Winery might have the same effect.
"If you come take the tour on Wednesday, Saturday or Sunday, after the tour you get a 25 percent off coupon on a bottle of wine to go," says John Stires of Brooklyn Winery.
Over at Bellwether on Union Avenue, happy hour oysters are a buck a pop and a Greenmarket Collins, sourced from local ingredients, is half price.