Come see Williamsburg’s Bedford Avenue, before or after the L-pocalypse starts

Eye on Real Estate

October 3, 2018 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Welcome to Williamsburg's Bedford Avenue, the home of upscale retailers such as Space NK. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan
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When the L-pocalypse arrives in April, this will still be a prime place to party.

We’re talking about the area around the Bedford Avenue L train station in Williamsburg.

The other day we strolled down the avenue from the North 7th Street subway entrance to Grand Street then up Berry Street and back over to the train station.

The photos we want to show you first from our walk are the ones we took at the intersection of Bedford Avenue and North 4th Street.

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On one corner, the fab old-fashioned rowhouse at 229 Bedford Ave. with a classic wooden storefront — and graffiti scrawled on its handsome brick facade — houses a fancy British cosmetics retailer called Space NK. There’s a tattoo parlor next door.

On another corner, the entrance to Whole Foods is filled with a wall-to-wall display of potted orchids for sale. A recently constructed glass building houses this supermarket at 238 Bedford Ave.


The old sweater factory was an early residential conversion

Nearby, at the intersection of Bedford Avenue and North 5th Street, we find one of the neighborhood’s early industrial-to-residential property conversions.

In 1999, when we were working elsewhere, we interviewed Hasidic developer Mayer Schwartz. At that moment he was turning this four-story sweater factory, which belonged to his family, into residential lofts with retail space. He told us manufacturing in the area was “down the drain.”

Today there are chic shops such as clothing boutique Pinkyotto and a mini-mall on the ground floor. The property has various addresses, one of which is 218 Bedford Ave.

On another corner, Senko Funeral Home at 213 Bedford Ave. is in a brick rowhouse with windowsills that look like arched eyebrows.

In spots, the street and sidewalks are a bit chaotic because of subway-related construction that’s already underway, though subway tunnel repairs haven’t yet begun. See related story.

Nevertheless, the area is a magnet:

* For tourists.

* For young people who want to be where other young people congregate on Saturday nights.

* For Brooklyn residents who want to shop at Apple and live closer to the store on the corner of North 3rd Street and Bedford Avenue than the one near Barclays Center in Fort Greene.

* For real estate nerds like us who are fascinated by Williamsburg’s jumble of historic rowhouses, spiffed-up factories, garish new apartment buildings and entertaining restaurants and shops.


Whiskey, whiskey my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again

Down past the Apple store and a five-year-old apartment complex at 250 Bedford Ave., there’s an eye-catching, wedge-shaped building at the corner of Grand Street. Its address is 292 Bedford Ave.

The building, which is at least a century old, housed Brasserie Witlof for a couple years. Recently, a new cocktail bar opened that’s called Kill Devil House of Dark Spirits.

We took a little poetic license a minute ago when we cited the line from Rita Coolidge’s song about whiskey. The most important thing on the new bar’s drinks menu is rum. More than 100 kinds of it are offered.

Anyway. Onwards to Berry Street, where there’s lots to see.

The Lewis Steel Building, a 1930s factory on the corner of North 4th Street, is now a loft apartment complex. The two-story former factory at 160 Berry St. has a funky mural on it that depicts a giant squirrel. A Shake Shack is located there.

We love the row of old-fashioned houses that starts at 107 North 5th St., where clothing shop ID Menswear is located. The row extends up Berry Street to the corner of North 6th Street.


Button-down shirt-maker Gant has a shop in an eye-catching building on a Berry Street corner. Its address is 115 North 6th St.

There’s a glassy four-story condo building on another Berry Street corner. Its look is very typical of 21st-century Williamsburg. Its address is 120 North 7th St.


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