Welcome to Hipster Ville
“You want me to pay you ten dollars of my own money?” She responded belligerently, clearly this member of NYC’s metro staff didn’t understand the simple concept of a ticket refund (purchased from a machine which refused to issue the paid for goods). It wasn’t our first encounter with the less than helpful staff of New York’s MTA, who seem to have been educated at Stalin’s School of Charm.
We cut our losses and boarded the L train to Bedford Avenue, the beating heart of Brooklyn’s Hipster Ville...Williamsburg. Which seems to have re-interpreted Greenwich Village’s beatnik past into something altogether cooler. A jigsaw of indie and thrift stores stocked with imaginative and kitsch street sophistication, industrious and hip.
Brooklyn’s atmosphere is less frantic than its neighbouring Manhattan perhaps a little more mature with less to prove, an architectural mix of 19th Century housing alongside stark industrial units and sharp contemporary apartments facing Manhattan’s impressive skyline. Calm, assured and creatively aware, the perfect embodiment of these values is the Wythe Hotel. Handily located just around the corner from the Brooklyn Brewery and just a skip away from Bedford Ave. Seeking solace from our disastrous accommodation in the East Village we were confronted with an architectural triumph, the facade of which is a 19th Century warehouse and former cooperage, the interior however is a design orgy of superb taste, double heighted spaces, caustic tiled floors, industrialised art deco fittings, a lounging library inspired by Eames and a parquet reception lending warmth to an otherwise austere exterior. The Wythe is characterised by its generosity unlike Manhattan’s bijoux bedrooms, the 72 rooms here deliver space on space, heated concrete floors, reclaimed-timber beds and a customised wallpaper (the Wythe Toile, depicting local street scenes).
The Wythe’s 6th floor club attracts an eager crowd with queues for the panorama of the bar, snaking out of the ground floor reception around the corner. Luckily for residents a priority lift transports you to the 6th floor, rocking to a thumping sound track cut by local DJs playing out a mix of crowd pleasers with some experimentation for good measure, bar staff take their profession seriously and furiously shake, stir and pour for the heaving bar silhouetted against the Manhattan skyline. Out on the roof terrace there appears to be more facial hair per capita than the entire 5 boroughs put together. Hipsters sporting moustaches, goatees, trimmed beards and full on grizzlies congregate like extras from a renaissance drama nodding to the baroque rhythm of hip hop. Chairs, loungers and benches accommodate the sprawl of Brooklyn’s muses, perfect teeth, thrift store chic and crimson cocktails. The view is simply cinematic. After a Saturday night of indulgence, the cure for a dusty head is simple; a deep long lie in, in the boat sized beds followed by an equally long brunch in the Wythe’s casual dining hall, Reynard and slay your hunger over scrambled eggs, red kale, with a side of cinnamon toast. This is Brooklyn’s finest.