I moved to Williamsburg in 2003 when the waves of gentrification had started smacking on the shore and rattling over the bridge, everyone asked me “Why?” The rents were already climbing and for the money, I probably could have lived in a much safer, cleaner place.
A lot of my work involved custom builds for retailers and I often found myself in the old manufacturing buildings in Williamsburg working with screen printers, weavers, metal fabricators and wood workers.
One of my favorite vendors to visit was Newcastle Fabrics. Makers of wall coverings made out of grasses, palm and hemp.
I loved the clanging of the ancient equipment, and the soft smell of grasses. Many of the cast iron giants were over 100 years old at the time. The owner took pride in his craft and never wanted to sell and told me that many other’s tried to convince him otherwise. The looms shook the building, and when I went there it seemed as I was transported back to another time and place.
Domino Sugar was still in full production and the smell of molasses filled the air, n7th street was filled with pieces of broken up piers and pieces of long abandoned cars ending in a pile of rubble that tumbled into the east river. Ancient Polish butcher shops, pharmacies and bakeries lined Bedford Avenue and abandoned storefronts were a common site.
Mixed in with all this were pioneers; restaurants, home furnishing shops, clothing designers, artists, even brewers who weren’t afraid to try something new. They had the space and resources to test their talent and a built in adventorious audience to appreciate it.
This was my Williamsburg, and I knew that it would change. Over time said my quiet good byes to my old friends watched some of my favorites thrive and grow and welcome to my new ones.
Wythe Hotel now inhabits the space that was once Newcastle. Built by Brooklynites (many of them were the pioneers), The Wythe hotel with its soaring ceilings, exposed brick, iron, and artistic touches gets it right. It is the answer to the question that people in 2003 would often ask, me “Why Williamsburg?”
I love weddings at the Wythe Hotel. It is the right blend of urban sophistication, and Brooklyn edginess. I love the wallpaper by Flavor Paper and the spirit that it captures and it reminds me of my Williamsburg, all grown up.
Kim and Hunter chose the Wythe for their wedding and they couldn’t have picked a better place. Amber Gress did the amazing photography. Kim and Hunter were so sweet and charming, a great couple to work with.
Kim choose a soft pallet of whites and creams with muted colors for her bridal bouquet.
We adorned a birch chuppah with flowers and covered it with an antique crochet top.
We used old medicine bottles mixed with vintage containers for the centerpieces and created table numbers that looked like chalk board signs.
It was a pleasure and I know that all the spirits of my old Williamsburg would smile at the renewed, lively place it has become. This is “Why Williamsburg”
Venue: Wythe Hotel
Photographer: Amber Gress
Second Photographer: Brianna Wilson
Dress: Nicole Miller
Makeup: Ani Bruno
Flowers: Rose Red and Lavender
DJ: 74 Events