East Williamsburg, Brooklyn

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Coordinates: 40°42′53″N 73°56′39″W / 40.714818°N 73.944211°W / 40.714818; -73.944211

A Map of East Williamsburg (2009)

East Williamsburg is a name for the area in the northwestern portion of the borough of Brooklyn in New York City, United States, which lies between Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick. Much of this area is still referred to as either Bushwick, Williamsburg, or Greenpoint with the term East Williamsburg falling out of use since the 1990s. East Williamsburg consists roughly of what was the 3rd District of the Village of Williamsburg and what is now called the East Williamsburg In-Place Industrial Park (EWIPIP), bounded by the neighborhoods of Northside and Southside Williamsburg to the west, Greenpoint to the north, Bushwick to the south and southeast, and both Maspeth and Ridgewood in Queens to the east.

History[edit]

Cripplebush[edit]

In the 18th century, Bushwick was already an established town, and the waterfront area that provided ferry service to the island of Manhattan was simply known as Bushwick Shore.[1] The land of scrub bush that stood between Bushwick Shore and the town of Bushwick was known as Cripplebush. During the Revolutionary War occupation of the area by the British, the land was cleared, with the wood of the thickets being used for fuel. In 1800, Richard M. Woodhull purchased the waterfront property and laid out a settlement, naming it Williamsburgh after his friend and surveyor Colonel Jonathan Williams. Williamsburgh was incorporated as a village in 1827 (as a part of the town of Bushwick), and included 26 streets running East to West and 12 streets east of the shore line running North to South.[2]

The Third District of the Village of Williamsburg[edit]

On April 18, 1835, the village of Williamsburg was extended eastward to Bushwick Avenue and to Flushing Avenue on the Southeast (then known as Newtown Road). The region that is now circumscribed on the west by Union Ave, on the south by Broadway, then along Flushing Avenue to Bushwick Avenue on the east and on the north (approximately) by the Newtown Creek was designated as the Third District of the Village of Williamsburg in 1835.[3] At this time, the three districts of Williamsburg were more commonly known as the North Side, South Side, and the New Village. The names "North Side" and "South Side" remain in common usage today, but the name for the Third District has changed often. The New Village became populated by Germans and for a time was known by the sobriquet of "Dutchtown". In 1844, Williamsburg separated from the Town of Bushwick and became the Town and Village of Williamsburg. Parts of the Third District were known as "Irish Town" and "The Green" during the latter half of the 19th century.

Ward 15 and Ward 16 of the City of Brooklyn[edit]

In 1854, Williamsburg was incorporated into the City of Brooklyn, which was one of the original six Dutch Townships of western Long Island. Upon consolidation with Brooklyn in 1854, Districts one (North Side) and two (South Side) became, respectively, Wards 14 and 13 of the City of Brooklyn. The third District was split and became Wards 15 and 16 of the City of Brooklyn. Ward 15 was the section north of Ten Eyck Street, between Union Avenue and Bushwick Avenue, with the addition of the portion of Ainslie, Grand, Hope, and South Second Streets between west of Union Avenue and east of Rodney Street. Ward 16 was the section south of Ten Eyck Street, bounded by Broadway, Flushing Avenue, and Bushwick Avenue.

Districts[edit]

As of 2009, New York City is divided into 5 boroughs, 59 community districts, and hundreds of neighborhoods. The neighborhood called East Williamsburg is listed in the nyc.gov website[4] as a part of Brooklyn Community District 1, which comprises Greenpoint, North Side Williamsburg, South Side Williamsburg, and East Williamsburg. It is circumscribed (in a counterclockwise manner) by the East River, Kent Avenue, Flushing Avenue, and the Queens County border (which is for the most part, the Newtown Creek). Bushwick is Brooklyn Community District 4.

Different parts of the East Williamsburg section are served by different post offices.[5] Addresses with zip code 11211 are served by the Williamsburg Post Office at 263 S 4th Street. Addresses with 11206 zip code are served by the Metropolitan-Bushwick Post Office at 47 Debevoise Street. Addresses with zip code 11222 are served by the Greenpoint Post Office at 66 Meserole Avenue. Addresses with zip code 11237 are served by the Wyckoff Heights-Bushwick Post Office at 86 Wyckoff Avenue.

Neighborhoods and communities of East Williamsburg[edit]

There are several different communities and neighborhoods within the East Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Since the late 19th century, most of the immigrants to this section have come from Italy or from Puerto Rico and other Latin American countries. Graham Ave (also known as Avenue of Puerto Rico to the South and Via Vespucci to the North), Grand Street, and Metropolitan Avenue are the main shopping districts. There are several public housing projects in East Williamsburg, including the Williamsburg Houses, Borinquen Plaza Houses, Cooper Park Houses, John Francis Hylan Houses, and the Bushwick Houses. A large industrial park, the East Williamsburg Industrial Park (EWIP), stands in eastern portion of East Williamsburg.

East Williamsburg is well served by the New York City Subway. It is mainly served by the Grand Street and Montrose Avenue, and Morgan Avenue stops of the BMT Canarsie Line (L train). On the border with Bedford-Stuyvesant is the Flushing Avenue stop of the BMT Jamaica Line (J M trains) and the Flushing Avenue stop of the IND Crosstown Line (G train).

Greenspaces include Cooper Park.

Ethnic enclaves[edit]

DeFrancisci & Son, 219 Morgan Avenue, Brooklyn, 1917

Many Italians reside in East Williamsburg. The first wave of Italian immigration to the East Williamsburg section of Brooklyn occurred in the second half of the 19th century. By the late 1880s, the neighborhood along Graham Avenue was inhabited by many Italian immigrants,[6] as evidenced by The Saint Mary of the Snow Society at 410 Graham Avenue, established 1888,[6] and St. Cecilia's Catholic Church at 84 Herbert Street, established 1871.[7] Other Italian societies in the neighborhood include Sabino Society on Withers St., the San Cono Society on Ainslie St. A second wave of Italian immigration occurred from World War II until the 1970s.[6] While the neighborhood has changed significantly, the established Italian community still thrives along the north end of Graham avenue, also referred to as "Via Vespucci".[6] The neighborhood also was home to the The Motion Lounge, the former nightclub at 420 Graham Avenue owned by Bonanno crime family caporegime Dominick Napolitano.

Also, there are many Puerto Rican residents. The south end of Graham Avenue (also known as "Avenue of Puerto Rico") has been the center of a Latin American immigrant neighborhood since the 1950s.[citation needed]

Artists[edit]

Since the 1990s, the area has seen a great influx of young artists, professionals, students and "hipsters", mainly due to its close proximity to Manhattan and major universities (ex; Pratt Institute, New York University, School of Visual Arts, Fashion Institute of Technology, The New School) and the relatively inexpensive rent.

Subsections[edit]

East Williamsburg Industrial Park[edit]

The eastern half of East Williamsburg, roughly bounded by the Newtown Creek East and by the Interstate 278 and Flushing Avenue on the North and South, is mostly zoned for industry with some residential housing mixed among the warehouses and factories. The section is currently referred to by the city as the East Williamsburg Industrial Park (EWIP), or formally the East Williamsburg In-Place Industrial Park (EWIPIP).[8] The western boundary runs approximately along Kinsgland Ave, then Morgan Avenue and then just East of Bushwick Avenue.

The EWIP is one of eight In-Place Industrial Parks in New York City and is managed by the East Williamsburg Valley Industrial Development Corporation (EWVIDCO), a company founded in 1982 with the goal of revitalizing East Williamsburg by attracting new businesses, providing business assistance to existing firms and grow overall job opportunities in the neighborhood [9]

Historically, this neighborhood was not part of the Village of Williamsburgh. In the late 19th century the region east of Smith Street (now Humboldt Street), west of the Newtown Creek, south of Meeker Avenue (now the BQE service road)), and north of Metropolitan Avenue was the 18th ward of the City of Brooklyn.[10] The north part of the EWIP is served by the Greenpoint Post Office and is considered by some to be part of Greenpoint. The portion of the EWIP to the South of Metropolitan Avenue was historically part of Bushwick and is still referred by many as being in Bushwick.

For many years a well-known landmark in East Williamsburg was a pair of cylindrical natural gas holders located on Maspeth Avenue, built in 1927 and 1948 by Brooklyn Union Gas, and demolished in 2001.[11]

East of Bushwick Avenue[edit]

the McKibbin Lofts, with low rise projects in the distance

The section of Brooklyn that lies east of Bushwick Avenue, bordered by Metropolitan Avenue and Flushing Avenue on the North and South, is referred to some as being part of East Williamsburg since the region is part of EWIP. Factories and warehouses are being decommissioned due to heavy and light industry leaving the area, and were converted into loft and apartment space, similar to the residential development of the DUMBO neighborhood in Brooklyn[citation needed] An example of this can be seen in the adjacent picture which shows the two loft buildings on McKibbin St., 255 McKibbin and 248 McKibbin. At present it lies within the boundaries of Community Board 1, the Brooklyn Community Board for Greenpoint and Williamsburg.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Except where otherwise noted, the history in this section is taken from the books: Armbruster, Eugene L. (1912). The Eastern District of Brooklyn. Brooklyn.  and Armbruster, Eugene L. (1942). Brooklyn's Eastern District. Brooklyn. 
  2. ^ Refer to "Map of the village of Williamsburgh, Kings County; As laid out by the Commissioners, appointed by the Legislature in 1827, reduced from the Large Map in possession of the Trustees of the Village", H. McDowell, New York, 1833.
  3. ^ Refer to "A Map of Williamsburgh", Isaac Vieth, Brooklyn, 1845. "The Village is divided into three districts, numbered one two and three. All west of the centre of Union Ave and south of the centre of Grand Street composes the first district; all west of Union Avenue and to the north of Grand Street composes the Second District; and all east of Union Avenue, the Third District."
  4. ^ a b New York: A City of Neighborhoods at nyc.gov
  5. ^ A zipcode maps is available at http://www.unhp.org/pdf/maps/zip_bk.pdf
  6. ^ a b c d Buisson, Alexis (28 October 2008). "The New Italian Williamsburg". Block Magazine (Brooklyn) 4 (12): 10. 
  7. ^ Daly, Michael (9 March 2008). "The cell tolls for St. Cecilia Church". The New York Daily News. 
  8. ^ For example refer to East Williamsburg Industrial Park and Greenpoint-Williamsburg Planning Framework – Decline in Industrial Activity (APPROVED) and to posted signs along Morgan Avenue
  9. ^ Refer to the Mission and History of EWVIDCO and the Greenpoint-Williamsburg Rezoning Final Environmental Impact Statement, CEQR #04DCP003K, City Planning Commission, City of New York, 4 March 2005, page 2–42.
  10. ^ Refer to the boundaries defined in the 1865 New York State Census which can be found at http://www.bklyn-genealogy-info.com/Ward/1865.Sts.14.16.html
  11. ^ "Sites & Structures". Society for Industrial Archeology Newsletter 30 (3–4): 20–21. Summer–Fall 2001.  See article for photographs of the demolition.