A Day Out In The City: A Walk through Williamsburg

by Zoe Baker-Peng

Itching to explore some of the city before you leave?

Tired of walking up and down Broadway or re-visiting your favorite neighborhoods yet again? Reward yourself for being cooped up in the library for hours on end by exploring new areas around the city (or save this trip for a post-finals celebration)!

If you’re feeling energized, enjoy a leisurely walk to Williamsburg and get ready to find yourself some thrift shop bargains. If all that walking hasn’t finished you off, speed onwards to the Williamsburg Bridge and see Manhattan from one of the best views around.

Pre-walk warning/advice: Starting from 5Pointz and ending on the Lower East side of the Williamsburg Bridge is approximately a 4.5 mile walk which takes about an hour and a half to two hours (without stops along the way). The walk from Pulaski Bridge to the North side of Williamsburg is the longest part, so I advise going with friends for good conversation! Pick a day with good weather. I suggest eating a good lunch beforehand and starting the walk in the late afternoon so as to reach the Williamsburg Bridge at sunset.

If you’re just looking for some good thrifting and feeling the Williamsburg vibe, you could start from the Fox and Fawn thrift store (D) and walk to the Williamsburg Bridge (K) for a 2 mile walk that is 40 minutes long (without stops).

If you started your day around 5Pointz or MoMa PS1 (A and B), Walk down Jackson Avenue towards 21st street. Keep walking until the intersection with the Pulaski Bridge. Need a pick-me-up? Stop at Sweetleaf (C), a local hangout, which serves freshly baked pastries and wonderful coffee.

Walk over the Pulaski Bridge and enjoy the view of Manhattan (better views to come on the Williamsburg Bridge!). Note the street art along the side of the bridge depicting cyclists and pedestrians, or even motivational slogans, such as “Smile a little.” Soon you’ll be entering Brooklyn which is, according to the welcome sign, “like no other place in the world.”

After crossing the bridge, either stay on McGuinness Avenue or cut west to Manhattan Avenue (one block over). I walked along McGuinness Avenue but I’m sure Manhattan Avenue was much quieter and more residential. Whichever route you take, continue until you hit Driggs Avenue. As Manhattan Avenue meets Driggs Avenue, check out Fox and Fawn thrift store (D) which is well priced and has some great finds.

Follow Driggs Avenue through the charming residential areas of North Williamsburg. Enjoy the buzz of summertime activities in McCarren Park (E) and the peaceful residential streets. Stop off at Monk Vintage thrift shop (F) and Buffalo Exchange thrift shop (G), both of which have enormous selections (for men and women) and are reasonably priced. Bring some of your clothes, if you wish, to exchange for others at Buffalo Exchange.

At this point, either continue down Driggs Avenue or take the opportunity to explore further thrift stores in the area. The streets between North 10th and North 3rd streets, West of Driggs Avenue, are filled with multiple vintage and thrift possibilities. There are many cafes and restaurants on Bedford Avenue, one block west of Driggs Avenue. Alternatively, if you’re tired, head west on North 7th street to Bedford Avenue subway stop which will take you back to Manhattan on the L.

Williamsburg Bridge

Otherwise, continue forth on Driggs Avenue. If you need to rest, sample delicious French pastries at the small but quaint Margo Patisserie Café (H), or check out a movie at Williamsburg Cinemas (I), on the corner of Grand Street and Driggs Avenue. For a late lunch or early dinner, try Pies n’ Thighs (J), a fun, local restaurant serving Southern/BBQ food. The fried chicken is crispy but not dry and be sure to save room for dessert as the sweet pies are delicious. The restaurant is very popular so be prepared to wait as it doesn’t take reservations.

Follow Driggs Avenue until you reach the Williamsburg Bridge (K) (hooray, you made it!) For those of you who feel you can’t walk anymore, head to Marcy Avenue subway stop (J and M trains) at the foot of the bridge on Broadway, to get back to Manhattan. Otherwise enjoy the fantastic view of Manhattan as you walk across the bridge. Be aware that on the second half of the bridge, the pedestrian path suddenly switches from the right to the left side.

At the end of the bridge, continue on into the Lower East side or walk straight on to either Delancey Street (F trains) or Essex Street (J and M trains).

Happy walking and exploring!

Zoe Baker-Peng is a sophomore at Barnard and a staff writer and photographer for The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Photo of Williamsburg Bridge courtesy of Untitled Name.

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