A few quick small blog posts by @ajayjapan on food, tech and travel.

Williamsburg Weekly

Welcome to the December 13 edition of the Williamsburg Newsletter!

This week, we're highlighting some of the exciting news and events happening in the neighborhood. From the Independent Redistricting Commission's proposed Assembly map to the opening of Luxury and digitally native retailers, there's something for everyone in Williamsburg. We also have updates on the Domino Sugar Refinery, the NBK Parks Alliance, and the opening of Ezra Furman's show at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Plus, don't miss out on the festive meal at As You Are, the holiday pop-up at Coda Williamsburg, and the newly renovated Diptyque boutique.

Stay tuned for more updates and events in Williamsburg!


Domino Sugar Signage Installed Atop The Refinery at 292 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Construction on the Domino Sugar Refinery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn has reached a major milestone with the installation of the signature signage atop the 140-year-old former factory. Developed by Two Trees and designed by Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU), the $250 million project is known as The Refinery and is set to complete construction near the end of 2023.

Two-Tower Complex Begins Ascent at 346 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

346 Kent Avenue, a two-tower residential complex in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is nearing completion. Developed by Two Trees and designed by Ismael Leyva Architects, the 565-foot-tall project is set to be completed in 2024. It features a shared eight-story podium and a landscaped public plaza between 346 Kent Avenue and the former Domino Sugar Refinery at 292 Kent Avenue.

Buzzing New Coda Williamsburg Hotel Launching Stylish Holiday Pop-Up

Coda Williamsburg, a boutique lifestyle hotel in Williamsburg Brooklyn, is launching a special holiday pop-up this weekend. Located in the retail area of its lobby, the pop-up will feature unique and highly curated retail items, with 20% off and free champagne from 12-4PM. Don't miss out on this special holiday treat!

Microwave & Oso Oso announce 2023 tour with Delta Sleep & Mothé

Microwave and Oso Oso are co-headlining a North American tour in 2023, beginning in Brooklyn's Music Hall of Williamsburg on March 24. Delta Sleep and Mothé open the shows. Tickets go on sale Friday, December 16.

H&M hosts a Holiday House Party with Chloe Sevigny and Anderson .Paak in the Heart of Williamsburg

Last night, H&M celebrated the unveiling of their year-long rotating style destination in Williamsburg with a house party inspired by their holiday campaign, “Brasserie Hennes.” Anderson .Paak and Chloë Sevigny were in attendance, along with other guests. The immersive location featured local partners and exclusive programming, and guests enjoyed specialty cocktails, passed canapés, and live musical performances.

World Cup helping to bring people and cultures together in Brooklyn

Beco Bar in Williamsburg was packed to capacity on Friday morning as patrons gathered to watch Brazil's World Cup matchup with Croatia. The Brazilian restaurant has become a popular spot for World Cup viewing since the tournament began last month, with people lining up an hour before the start of the match. The atmosphere was electric as Brazilians and ex-pats alike cheered on their team, before ultimately falling in penalty kicks.

Blank Street's nimble model has led to fast growth, but also employee concerns

Blank Street, the modern coffee chain geared at millennials and Gen Z, has come a long way since it first burst on the scene two years ago. With nearly 50 locations in four cities, the company has raised roughly $60 million in funding and is reportedly valued at around $200 million. Blank Street's first location was a mobile coffee cart at Brooklyn's Wythe Diner in Williamsburg, and the company has since moved away from carts in favor of brick-and-mortar store fronts. Despite some social media criticism, Blank Street has been praised for paying retail employees a decent living wage. However, interviews with current and former Blank Street workers have shed light on some of the employee concerns that have been quietly growing behind the scenes, including safety concerns and staffing shortages. Blank Street has since made a number of changes, including updating lockboxes, hiring security guards, and launching a new safety training program.

Vintage clothing pop-up shop dressed to create a buzz

For a limited time only, a vintage clothing shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn will take customers back in time. Antoinette Brooklyn boutique is offering a pop-up shop at a local brewery. Customers can find heritage brands such as LL Bean, Eddie Bauer, and Orvis. The shop will be open until Jan. 22.

Melody's Echo Chamber tells us about her favorite music of 2022

Melody Prochet released two albums in 2022: Emotional Eternal and Unfold. She will play three sold-out nights at The Lodge Room in L.A. on March 28-30 and two shows at Brooklyn's Music Hall of Williamsburg on April 1 & 2.

Inside Diptyque's winning holiday strategy

Diptyque has become a popular global candle brand, offering unique scents, bespoke packaging and exclusive advent calendars for the holiday season. This year, the brand has updated its in-store layout and is offering a luxurious in-store experience, including custom packaging options and special events. Diptyque has also opened a newly renovated Williamsburg Brooklyn boutique, and will be expanding into new markets with locations in San Francisco and Vegas.

NBK Parks Alliance and Steve Wasterval Collaborate on Limited Edition Prints

The NBK Parks Alliance and Steve Wasterval have teamed up to create a limited-edition series of prints celebrating Williamsburg. Get your print before December 31 and support NBK Parks' 20th anniversary!

Myd Returned to Brooklyn with His French-Inspired Magical Touch

Myd, the French electro DJ, kicked off his North America Tour at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in New York. His infectious and groovy house music, tinged with an indie soul-funk, delighted the crowd. Get tickets for his tour before it's too late!

Tour news: Third Eye Blind, Casket Lottery / Taking Meds, ZZ Top / Skynyrd, more

The Flenser Showcase featuring Have a Nice Life, Midwife, and Planning for Burial is happening April 14 at Brooklyn's Music Hall of Williamsburg.

'The Wanderers': A look at relationships through two Jewish lenses

Anna Ziegler's play "The Wanderers" is running at City Theatre through Dec. 18. It follows two seemingly disparate couples, Abe and Sophie, secular Jews living in Brooklyn, and Schmuli and Esther, members of the Satmar Jewish community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The production's scenes alternate between the two couples, whose lives soon begin to reflect and illuminate each other's.

Best NYC bars to watch 2022 World Cup: Top spots in all 5 boroughs

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is coming to a close, with only eight teams remaining. New York City is locked in on all the action a world away in Qatar, and the best spots to watch the final matches are Roebling Sporting Club in Williamsburg, with 14 TVs and delicious pub food, and Soccer Bar, a speakeasy-turned-Irish bar in the heart of Brooklyn's Chinatown.

I Tried It: Gua Sha From a Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner

Williamsburg is a vibrant neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY, known for its trendy restaurants, art galleries, and nightlife. On this day in December 2022, the streets of Williamsburg are bustling with people enjoying the holiday season. From the iconic Brooklyn Bridge to the trendy boutiques, Williamsburg is the perfect place to explore and experience the holiday spirit.

I Want More! My Night Raving With Moore Kismet

I recently attended a Moore Kismet show at Williamsburg's Music Hall of Williamsburg and it was an amazing experience. The 18-year-old DJ's mastery of brass and bass-synth was out of this world. I can't wait for their next show!

Brooklyn Christmas Tree Workers Coop Seeks To Fix The Indus-Tree

New York State of Pine, a worker-owned cooperative, is selling trees in Williamsburg, Park Slope, and St. Johns Place. Founded in 2019 by Robert Roberts, the coop has forged relationships with tree farmers from Vermont, North Carolina, and Canada to provide customers with savings and better prices.

Ezra Furman tells us about her Top Five Records of 2022

Ezra Furman will be performing at Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn on March 23, 2023. Don't miss it!

The Best Movie Theaters in NYC 2022

The Regal Tangram in Queens and Light Industry in East Williamsburg are two of the city's most beloved movie theaters. The Tangram offers multisensory audience effects like wind and fog, while Light Industry screens avant-garde, art house, and archived films. Both theaters offer unique experiences for moviegoers, making them must-visit destinations for film fans.

The Spirit of Christmas Is Alive and Well At the Emmaus Center

The Emmaus Center in Williamsburg is hosting a star-studded Christmas spectacular featuring Al Jardine, Peabo Bryson, Haley Reinhart, and Christopher Macchio. The event benefits Futures in Education and is a cause for celebration after two years of not being able to celebrate Christmas due to the pandemic. Don't miss out on this special event!

Brooklyn, New York, Home With 2,531 Square Feet and Four Bedrooms Asks $4.35 Million

This Brooklyn, New York home offers 2,531 square feet of living area and features a luxurious primary bedroom suite with a marble bathroom, a custom kitchen with LaCanche Volnay vented range, and a private rooftop terrace with views of the Manhattan skyline. Located in prime Greenpoint between Manhattan and Franklin avenues, it is minutes from the G train and McCarren Park, and close to schools, eateries, medical facilities, convenience stores, and points of interest such as Father Jerzy Popieluszko Square and the Pepsi Cola Sign. Public transportation options include stops near Williamsburg.

Five on Friday: December 9th, 2022

Rapper A$AP Rocky recently launched his décor brand Hommemade at Design Miami. The studio's first piece, Shroom Cactus, is a collaboration with Italy-based Gufram. Meanwhile, New York Times editor Nikita Richardson visited eateries in Williamsburg's Hoxton, Ace Hotel, and Nine Orchard hotels.

Matisyahu: 'I'm definitely gonna win a Grammy'

Matisyahu recently performed at the Chosen Comedy Festival in Miami and will have Chanukah shows on Dec. 21 and 22 at Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg.

Jonathan Landau leaves Fortis to launch firm

Fortis Property Group's former CEO Jonathan Landau has launched his own real estate venture, Landau Properties. The firm is looking to acquire and operate properties in New York, South Florida and Boston. Landau's first venture will be in Miami's Bay Harbor Islands, with pre-sales launching next year. Landau and the Kestenbaum family previously worked together on the Williamsburg condo towers Northside Piers.

Eagle + West (Greenpoint Landing Block D) / OMA / Jason Long

Greenpoint Landing is a residential complex in Brooklyn, located at the northernmost tip of the borough where Newtown Creek meets the East River. The complex consists of two towers, 30 and 40 stories tall, with market-rate and affordable housing (30 percent of units). The towers are part of a sweeping rezoning of both Greenpoint and Williamsburg in 2005, and provide access to the East River. The towers feature precast concrete facades, 8-foot-by-8-foot windows, and two levels of green space. They are connected by an amenity bridge with views of the Manhattan skyline.


Later, latke: These NYC establishments are serving unique Hanukkah treats

Hanukkah begins Sunday, Dec. 18, and for many American Jews, that means it’s time for latkes and sufganiyot. In New York, bakeries and restaurants are getting creative with their Hanukkah treats, like the Moroccan doughnut, sfenj, at Balaboosta, or the bialy babka at Breads in Williamsburg.

5 Up-and-Coming Chefs You're About To See Everywhere

Calvin Eng, a Cantonese-American chef, is making waves in the New York culinary scene. His restaurant, Bonnie's in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, celebrated its one-year anniversary this year and has been named one of Forbes' "30 Under 30" honorees and one of Food & Wine's "Best New Chefs of 2022." Check out Bonnie's for an exciting dining experience!

PLANTA, A Plant-Based Restaurant Chain, Expanding With Three Different Concepts

Steven Salm's plant-based restaurant chain, PLANTA, has grown to eleven company-owned locations, including four each in Florida and Toronto, one in New York City, Chicago and Bethesda, Maryland, and a second in Williamsburg, Brooklyn set to debut later in December. Salm is aiming to open ten new eateries in 2023.

Every Pastry at the New K'Far in Brooklyn

Katreena Kanney is the self-taught pastry chef at K'Far, a new Israeli bakery and restaurant in Williamsburg's Hoxton Hotel. She creates Middle Eastern-inspired pastries such as seed-crusted bourekias, coiled sticky buns, and oversize Israeli-style chocolate rugelach.

On The Lower East Side, You Can Trade Books For Pickles

Leigh Altshuler opened Sweet Pickle Books in Lower East Side two years ago during the pandemic. Business has been booming, and she now trades literature for pickles. Her boyfriend, Costa Damaskos, and his business partner, Jake Marsiglia, opened Baby Blues Luncheonette in East Williamsburg, where they serve Sweet Pickle Books pickles.

New York Food Company Yun Hai Champions Taiwanese Identity in Response to Chinese Agricultural Bans

In June 2021, Lisa Cheng Smith and Lillian Lin opened Yun Hai, a Brooklyn-based Taiwanese food market in Williamsburg, New York. The store offers a unique brand centered on promoting Taiwanese culture and identity, and has become a source of cultural pride for many Taiwanese Americans. Through their Kickstarter campaign, Smith and Lin have introduced Taiwanese-style dried fruit to the U.S. market, helping independent farmers in Taiwan diversify their export markets beyond China.

19 Best NYC Restaurants And Bars To Celebrate Christmas In 2022

Head to Williamsburg for a festive meal at As You Are. Located near a subway line trifecta in Boerum Hill, bordering downtown Brooklyn, As You Are is the perfect spot to celebrate Christmas Day. Enjoy brunch and dinner service, with additional specials on the evening menu. Don't miss out on the mouthwatering pastry and breakfast program, all tucked inside the newish Ace Hotel Brooklyn.

UWS Comfort Staple Jacob's Pickles to Open in Moynihan Food Hall

Juneshine, a hard kombucha taproom in Williamsburg, opened its first East Coast location on December 10. The 64-seat bar offers 10 hard kombuchas, canned cocktails, natural wine, and snacks like oysters, ceviche, tinned fish, shrimp cocktails, and cheese.

The 17 Best Indian Restaurants In NYC

Williamsburg's Semma is a must-visit for those looking for an elevated Southern Indian cuisine experience. With exotic ingredients like Telicherry peppers, venison, and mung beans, Semma is a culinary treat and cultural experience. The restaurant has received many accolades from Zagat, Bon Appétit, The New York Times, and more. Stop by Semma for a unique and delicious Indian food experience!

In Other News

Hotel Indigo Debuts a Fresh Visual Identity

Hotel Indigo today unveils a reimagined visual identity and brand website, rooted in the art of storytelling. Celebrating creative expression, the boutique lifestyle brand’s new look features bespoke illustrations for each of its hotels, such as Hotel Indigo Williamsburg - Brooklyn’s depiction of sugar cubes being dropped into a cup of coffee, honoring the neighborhood’s coffee and sugar trade legacy.

This board-certified dermatologist has taken his training and knowledge from the office onto social media

Dr. Angelo Landriscina, a board-certified dermatologist and digital content creator from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, uses his signature blend of humor and medical expertise to help his patients and followers develop healthier skincare routines. He is currently practicing at Ever/Body Cosmetic Dermatology in Williamsburg.

Music producer who lost everything is now inspirational success story | Staten Islanders of 2022

Mariners Harbor resident Justin Mills lost almost everything he owned when his basement apartment was flooded during Hurricane Ida in 2021. But the music producer turned the devastation into an even sharper determination to make his passion for music the central focus of his life. He “started from scratch” after losing everything, working multiple jobs to “get back on track.” Mills was taken in by platinum producer Mitch Mula, who founded “the Stadium BK” music studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Midsize investors stick to apartments (or dev sites with plans for them)

Last week, mid-market investors in New York City focused on multifamily assets, with six of seven transactions for commercial properties valued between $10 million and $40 million involving apartment buildings or development sites in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan. Highlights included a $33.6 million purchase of six apartment buildings in the Bronx, a $30.5 million purchase of an apartment building in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and a $21.8 million purchase of three small mixed-use buildings in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Brooklyn's rich cinematic history detailed in new book

Movies have long been exploring Brooklyn, from the Vitagraph complex in Midwood built in 1905 to the classic "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" set in turn-of-the-century Williamsburg. Today, filmmakers are still drawn to the borough, from Spike Lee's films depicting established Black neighborhoods to Noah Baumbach's stories of white professionals in Park Slope. The hipster hub of Williamsburg is also being explored by new indie filmmakers like Radha Blank's "The Forty-Year-Old Version".

Manhattan's Hybrid Work Pain Is Brooklyn Office Owners' Gain

The pandemic has had a major impact on Manhattan's real estate market, but Brooklyn has fared much better. Williamsburg is now commanding $67 per SF in rent, and leasing volume for the borough for the first nine months of the year is 41% higher than 2021. Brooklyn is home to more than 2 million people, many of them younger New Yorkers, and is seeing an "insatiable" demand from small tenants.

What to know about buying in Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn, an isolated area with quaint bungalows and private boat docks

Gerritsen Beach, a minuscule southeastern Brooklyn neighborhood, is an isolated, residential waterfront community where the streets are in alphabetical order and tranquility is treasured. Parts of the 1984 film “Moscow on the Hudson” and the 2000 movie “Shaft” were filmed here. It's a 10-minute drive from Sheepshead Bay, the Williamsburg of South Brooklyn, and from Mill Basin, which is more suburban. Prices are more reasonable than other parts of South Brooklyn, and the area offers the best of both worlds.

JLL: Prime urban retail corridors are booming with luxury, digitally native tenants

Luxury and digitally native retailers are driving demand in existing and emerging prime urban corridors, such as Williamsburg in Brooklyn, which has become a premier retail destination in New York City.

ResortPass raises $26M on the promise of staycations

Williamsburg locals can now enjoy the amenities of nearby hotels with ResortPass, a Flatiron-based company that recently raised $26 million. With ResortPass, locals can access hotel pools, spas, meeting rooms, and workspaces in Williamsburg and beyond.

Failed coworking provider the Wing sued again for unpaid rent

The Wing, a popular coworking space founded in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 2016, closed its doors in 2020 due to the pandemic. After being acquired by IWG in 2021, the Wing's future remains uncertain.

10 Plus-Size Vintage Clothing Brands To Shop Online & In Store

Williamsburg is home to some of the best plus-size vintage and second-hand stores, like Two Big Blondes and Plus Bklyn. With online shopping options and Instagram live sales, plus-size shoppers can find the perfect fit.


NYC backs Brooklyn ultra-Orthodox yeshiva's plan to teach basic subjects; expert says it could have been 'written on a napkin'

The ultra-Orthodox Brooklyn yeshiva, Yeshiva Mesivta Arugath Habosem in Williamsburg, has submitted a three-page plan to the city Education Department to offer basic instruction in English, math, social studies, and science by the end of the 2023-2024 school year. The plan includes curriculum maps, an outline for health education, and training for teachers.

More maps: Redistricting commission releases new draft Assembly maps, proposing big changes for southern Brooklyn • Brooklyn Paper

The Independent Redistricting Commission last week unanimously voted to approve and release a new draft Assembly map that could make some big changes to Brooklyn’s representation in the lower chamber, including Williamsburg. The proposed map splits Williamsburg in half, with the western half becoming part of AD50 and the eastern half part of Queens-centric AD38.

Big Changes Could Be Coming To Park Slope Bus Routes

The MTA's proposed overhaul of Brooklyn's bus routes could mean big changes for Williamsburg, including an extension of the B48 route from Greenpoint to Prospect Park West and 20th Street, and increased stop spacing from an average of 748 feet to 1,002 feet. Community meetings are being held for feedback, and comments can also be submitted online.

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Jamie Larson