A trip to Williamsburg, the creative heart of New York

Street art

There is a place where creativity takes on many forms. The face of a girl lost in her thoughts painted onto bricks. Poetry read aloud to a shiny-eyed audience in a small bookshop. A guitar that echoes summer played in a park packed with young people sitting on the grass.
This is Williamsburg, the Brooklyn district where the graffiti decorating the facades of former industrial buildings frames bookshops, music shops and markets in which creativity is lived and breathed each day, where the streets, packed with restaurants and trendy bars, pulse with energy and enjoyment each night, where the meeting of different cultures has given life to a city within the city, one that rewrites its rules each day.

Contemporary beauty

Our visit around the district begins at one of its most iconic murals, renamed the Mona Lisa of Williamsburg, an enormous black and white portrait of a girl in a striped sweater lost in her thoughts that dominates the wall of a four-storey building in Broadway Avenue on the corner of Bedford Avenue. This is just one of numerous pieces of graffiti in Williamsburg. The district is also home to art galleries and exhibitions of all kinds (key reference points are Art 101 and the Brooklyn Art Library), as well as music shops and hang-outs for lovers of live music. Art, in all its forms, has its home in Williamsburg. Riding into this colourful world of sights, sounds and inspirations is an experience that leaves an indelible mark on the heart.

The charm of yesteryear

Williamsburg is an innovative district, but it still retains a profoundly vintage soul. The second-hand stores are enchanted worlds teeming with small treasures that tell the tale of those who once owned them. The stalls of the famous flea market overflow with everything from 1950s dresses to antique jewellery and all manner of bizarre items. It is well worth getting off your bike and delving into the magic of bygone years.