Anasi lived in Williamsburg from the early ’90s to the late 2000s and witnessed first-hand the rapid changes in the neighborhood. Come talk local history with him as he presents his memoir The Last Bohemia.
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is now so synonymous with hipster culture and the very idea of urban revitalization—so well-known from Chicago to Cambodia as the playground for the game of ironized status-seeking and lifestyle one-upmanship—that it’s easy to forget how just a few years ago it was a very different neighborhood: a spread of factories, mean streets, and ratty apartments that the rest of New York City feared.
Robert Anasi hasn’t forgotten. He moved to a $300-a-month apartment in Williamsburg in 1994 and watched as the area went through a series of surreal transformations: gritty industrial district, low-rent artists’ enclave, dot-com denizens’ crash pad, backdrop for neo-bohemian cool, playpen for stroller-pushing trendy parents, and now a high-rise real-estate developers’ colony of brushed aluminum and plate glass.
A firsthand account of the swift transformation of Williamsburg, from factory backwater to artists’ district to trendy hub and high-rise colony