Bedford Avenue

“Glitzy” Dental Startup Joins Chase Bank at Former Williamsburg Salvation Army

180 Bedford Ave. (via Google Maps)

The transformation of the North Williamsburg section of Bedford Avenue continues with the newest lease signing at 180 Bedford Ave. by a “glitzy dental startup backed by a recent round of venture-capital funding,” the Commercial Observer reports. Continue reading

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Fashion Sundae Episode Two: Tank Tops on Parade

Welcome to the second edition of Fashion Sundae, a candid look at the styles spotted in the neighborhood last week. To follow along during the week head over to Watching New York.

Courtesy of Watching New York
Courtesy of Watching New York

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Fashion Sundae: Staying Cool During the Sweltering Summer

 

Courtesy of Johhny Cirillo/Watching NY

Introducing Fashion Sundae, a weekly look at the outfits and accessories spotted on the streets around the neighborhood. Greenpoint-based photographer Johnny Cirillo describes Fashion Sundae as an amalgam of trends and styles and people, like the toppings on a sundae. With the summer heat in full force, the styles this week featured shades, hats and inventive ways to show some skin. Scroll through for all of the looks and follow along during the week at Watching New York:

Courtesy of Johhny Cirillo/Watching NY
Courtesy of Johhny Cirillo/Watching NY

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Old Man Hustle Comedy Club Replaces Videology

Videology (via Videology Facebook)

The Bedford Avenue building that formerly housed the local favorite screening room and bar, Videology, which closed last October, has a new tenant that is bucking the corporate chain takeover of the surrounding area, Brooklyn Vegan reports.

The Lower East Side-based comedy club Old Man Hustle will open their second location at 308 Bedford Ave; the opening date has yet to be announced.

According to Brooklyn Vegan, the Videology sign was removed by workers today, and the new comedy club may also screen films: “The Lower East Side location of Old Man Hustle, on Essex St, hosts stand-up as well as movie night, so they will probably be making the most of Videology’s existing setup.” Continue reading

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Mugs Alehouse Closing June 22nd

Mugs Alehouse (125 Bedford Ave.)

Mugs Alehouse (125 Bedford Ave.) is closing after more than two decades on Bedford Avenue around the corner from the L train, Brooklyn Vegan reports.

The bar originally opened in 1992 and will close on June 22nd, marking another example of the quickly disappearing old-school pubs in North Williamsburg.

Other recent bar closings include Rosemary’s (188 Bedford Ave.) and The Abbey (536 Driggs Ave.) in Williamsburg and Enid’s (560 Manhattan Ave.) in Greenpoint.

 

 

 

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Ad Hoc Closing Greenpoint Shop at the End of May

Ad Hoc NYC (Google Maps)

Ad Hoc NYC clothing store will close their brick and mortar location at 10 Bedford Ave. in Greenpoint at the end of the month, while the owners “bum around the globe for much needed cultural inspiration.”

The store started in 2011 in Williamsburg on Wythe Avenue as a men’s wear and accessories shop and opened in Greenpoint in 2013 while quickly expanding into women’s clothing.

Ad Hoc NYC announced the closure in a note posted on social media on Monday, clarifying that their online store will remain in operation:

Hallo und auf Wiedersehen👋🏽 It’s been a kewl 8 yrs on Wythe and Bedford aves but we’re super psyched to be going back to our international nomadic roots to bum around the globe for much needed cultural inspiration 🙃 You got less than 10 days to score the last of everything that’s on sale (NOT yet online), and most of our apparel goods have been on adhocnyc.com for years now so you can still shop virtually even when we pack up the ol’ brick and mortar at the end of the month.

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44 Percent Rent Increase Forces Williamsburgs’ Whisk to Close

Whisk (via Google Maps)

Kitchenware retailer Whisk (231 Bedford Ave.) is closing their Williamsburg location on April 30th after their landlord raised the rent by 44% to over $26,000 per month, Whisk posted on social media on Sunday.

Rent at their 231 Bedford Ave. space was originally $8,625 per month when the business opened on Bedford Ave. and N. 4 St. in 2008, the note explains.

Read the note Whisk posted on social media:

On April 30 we will close our Whisk here on Bedford Avenue. As the owner and creator of Whisk, it pains me to say goodbye. And so I wrote you this love letter to express my adoration for you and to tell you of my decision. It is a story of greed, commercial banking and the distortion of “fair” market rents.

When we opened Whisk on November 26, 2008, our rent was $8,625/month; it ended at $18,452/month. The thing is, we could sustain that high rent. We are a great, busy store and online retailers have not cut into our sales enough to hurt us. But to renew our lease for just 5 years, our landlords asked for no less than $26,500/month, or a 44% increase. To accept that rent would mean increasing prices and depressing wages. And that’s not the contribution I want to make.

So how did it come to be that it’s $26,500 or leave? I believe the story goes like this:
Developers identify Williamsburg as the cool place to be. Developers seek loans to amass more land ownership. Banks underwriting these mortgages demand to know payments can be met via higher rent rolls. “We like chain stores for tenants,” they say. Williamsburg businesses shift from independent, unique services to large American and multinational businesses seeking to grow their brand. Can’t actually pay the high rent demand? “No matter,” say these businesses. “It’s an advertising investment!” Private equity supported brands want in; food chains want in; heck, all the banks want in! Big landlords are happy and finally so too are the small landlords who can now say “me too!” on high rent demands.

And therein we see why Whisk has to leave you.
I love you for having passed through our doors so many times over all these years. You chose to shop locally; you chose to support Whisk. I am grateful for all my staff now and those of the past. We built Whisk together and I am a better person for all that I’ve learned. I am going to miss Whisk on Bedford so deeply.

And here’s where I make my plea to you to help build a better future. One, honor your neighborhood and decide how to spend wisely. There’s no need to prop up businesses that don’t serve a good purpose; but there’s every reason in the world to support the ones that do. Two, ask yourself: what do you want from your community? Small business decimation does not happen without structural consent, without community consent. Cities like Paris and San Francisco are working to create change. We can too. Help keep this discussion alive by emailing me at [email protected] Let’s talk about a vacancy tax; let’s talk about zoning; let’s talk about a no formula chain policy; let’s talk about online vs brick and mortar sales taxes. There are no easy fixes but we won’t get to a better place without investing in the tough discussion.

Please keep the love for Whisk strong by shopping NOW at our Bedford Avenue store where nearly all items are 30-50% off AND by shopping at our other two locations:

933 Broadway, between 21st and 22nd Streets, Flatiron district (212.477.8680)
197 Atlantic Avenue, close to Court St, downtown Brooklyn (718.852.2665)

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Rosemary’s Greenpoint Tavern Closing on February 28th

Rosemary’s Greenpoint Tavern is closing on February 28th following 60-plus years at 188 Bedford Ave. where it opened in 1955. The Williamsburg cash-only throwback to pre-luxury times is known for its affordable drinks, chummy bartenders and rockin’ jukebox. Rosemary’s closing was originally reported by Brooklyn Based.

The bar’s namesake, Rosemary Bleday, worked at the bar since her 20s after her family relocated the watering-hole from its original Green Street location in Greenpoint. Now at age 86, Bleday is seeking to move from her apartment above the bar after she is released from the hospital where she is being treated for a recent injury.

Gothamist spoke with her grandson Eric Carson who said that the demolition and development on both bordering parcels threaten the structural integrity of the wood frame building at 188 Bedford Avenue:

Carson says that the bar held out for a long time, even as they got offers left and right over time, and in recent years as the developer bought up the buildings beside Rosemary’s, which is located at 188 Bedford Avenue, near North 7th Street. In 2016, RedSky Capital bought the three-story, three-unit building next door, at 190 Bedford Avenue, for $13.2 million, as The Real Deal reports. In what the publication dubs a “nearly block-long assemblage,” the developers also purchased the building next to that, at 192 Bedford, as well as Rosemary’s other neighbors at 184-186 Bedford Avenue.

“Unfortunately in doing that—them knocking down two buildings on either side of us, being a wood frame building—according to an engineer report, puts us at serious risk for damage,” he says. “And my grandmother living up here wouldn’t be safe or conducive to running a business.”

There are no plans to reopen another Rosemary’s according to the family, who are seeking to go out in a spirit of celebration over the final three weeks.

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Where Do The Names of Williamsburg Streets Come From?

The longest street in Brooklyn and the road that runs through the heart of Williamsburg is Bedford Avenue. The 10.19 mile-long street got its name from the village of Bedford, which was located roughly at the intersection of what is now Bedford Avenue and Fulton Street. There is some disagreement about Bedford. The village, which is so old that it was a focal point of the Revolutionary Wars’ Battle of Brooklyn could come from the English Duke of Bedford or it could refer to Dutch word bestevaar, meaning “the place where old men meet.”

Another street with an ancient history is Bushwick Avenue, which is the oldest street in all of Bushwick, dating back to the earliest Dutch occupation. Peter Stuyvesant named it on March 14, 1661. The name is generally said to mean “place of the woods.” The area was dense with forests, thickets, scrub oaks, logs and low land. British soldiers used a great deal of the wood for fuel, forever changing the area’s natural environment.

In 1792, Richard Woodhull, a real estate developer, whose name graces the local hospital, tried unsuccessfully to develop a settlement in Williamsburg. He created the numbered Streets (S. 5th to N. 3rd). When Richard Woodhull had the area surveyed in 1792 (he had purchased 12 acres), he simply gave the streets numbers for names, except for Grand Street. Woodhull also created a lane along the waterfront which he called “Water Street” and another East River street called “River Street” (now under water). Continue reading

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Five Leaves’ Debuts Their Late Summer Menu

One of the late summer dishes, Sweet Corn Flan  All images: Five Leave/Instagram

Back in 2008, an Australian-American restaurant/bar opened on Bedford with its primary claim to fame being that Heath Ledger (RIP) had been involved in its conception. Now, Five Leaves is closing in on nine years in the neighborhood and is still one of the most popular spots around. It’s burger and pancakes are institutions on the New York dining scene and that weekend brunch wait hasn’t gotten any shorter. This doesn’t mean that they want to rest on their laurels though. If you’ve stopped by this year, you may have noticed both the food and cocktail menus changing ever so slightly towards a little more seasonality. They’re definitely giving the locals a good reason to stop by for dinner.

Five Leaves did always have a seasonal and organic angle to their menu, but when Chef Warren Baird took the helm in the kitchen towards the end of 2015, he knew it was time to step up their game a little bit. The local and sustainable movement has grown a lot in the past few years. Now, producers and consumers are more aware of our food systems’ environmental impact. But, luckily, consumers are also more willing to trust a chef when presented with unique dishes, like blue catfish done up Szechuan-style. Continue reading

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