Bedford Avenue is the longest street in Brooklyn, New York. It travels through one hundred and thirty two blocks and radiates an eccentric, diverse vibe with a strong independent-minded culture. As Williamsburg has undergone a drastic revamp in the past two years, Bedford Avenue has more than meets the eye.
It seems that anything labelled ‘hipster’ takes a bit of a bashing, and one can partially see why. It isn’t the overgrown bushy beards teamed with Ray Ban Wayfarers, a pair of rolled up salvage denim jeans and tan-leather boots, no. Nor is it the sudden surge of barely furnished ubiquitous coffee shops or trending vegetables that worm their way into our shopping lists before you can scream “Wholefoods!” A more likely explanation is the fear of the unknown, where the onlooker scoffs at most things out of the ordinary. I’ve been called a hipster by my friends who share the same interests as me, and I’m still not quite sure why. Perhaps it’s that I’m a writer, or I do like unearthing new designers and more affordable ways to drink coffee. Either way, this generation of cooler-than-cool are a wave of creatives, adventurists and risk-takers who step away from the refined culture of the elite in an alternative stylish response. Okay, not everyone can pull off skinny jeans and a checked shirt, but walking through the now densely residential neighbourhood of Williamsburg, you can’t help but be infected by the energetic, positive feeling that lies beneath the seemingly casual exterior.
As boutique stores, thrift shops and the said coffee shops open, what Bedford Avenue projects is a community of business-minded driven people. Walk from North to South, particularly around the 200s and if you start at Allswell Diner or Sweet Chick for brunch (try the pancakes and eggs and chicken and waffles respectively), you’ll still be hanging around right into the afternoon. The street lazily opens up between 10AM and midday, so brunch is the meal to begin exploring. The street stalls that line Bedford Avenue sell everything from movie scripts to handmade jewellery and if you are lucky to catch the Brooklyn Nets truck, a few tax-free match tickets (with a free t shirt) won’t go amiss!
Charlene Dixon for example, the founder of jewellery brand Dixonian and owner of one of the street stalls on the avenue focuses on creating stunning pieces out of precious metals and stones, and since studying the making of jewellery, creates both delicate and resilient products that are certified conversation starters. Her stall may be small but her strong, individual personality radiates through her products – from stainless steel thick-set bangles to delicate gold chains and charms, you can’t walk past Dixonian without picking something up. Just a few steps down and there’s the Williamsburg Mini-Mall, which boasts a community of independent designers and retailers as well as slightly larger brands. Pop in to the airy vintage clothes store and Handsome Dans, the old school sweet shop and pick from the selection of artisan toiletries and quirky books.
If you’re searching for a hat, stick your head into Goorin Bros, the hat shop that offers a range of price points. Starting at $40 for hats made outside of the US to ones made in New York that sit around the $150 mark, Goorin Bros proudly trade hats for both men and women. The brand offers a wide range of styles and colours, and you can select your own hatpins and feathers on the spot to add a personal touch. So, whether its cute jewellery, a well-tailored pair of trousers, bagels or stylish street wear to embrace your inner hipster, head to Bedford Avenue for a morning of discovery.