Neighborhood in northwestern Brooklyn, bounded to the north by 7th Avenue and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, to the east by the Queens county line, to the south by Flushing Avenue, and to the west by the East River. It is connected to the East Village and Lower East Side in Manhattan by the Williamsburg Bridge over the East River.
Williamsburg is home to many ethnic groups, a thriving art community, and, increasingly, commuters to Manhattan. The area originally called Williamsburg is today referred to as "South Williamsburg." North of traditional Williamsburg is an area known as the "South Side." To the north of that is an area known as the "North Side," which now hosts increasing numbers of hipsters: artists and those who wish to associate with artists. So-called East Williamsburg is home to many industrial spaces. The hipster center of Williamsburg radiates from the strip of Bedford Avenue near the Bedford Avenue Station on the L train, the first stop from Manhattan. Since the 1990s a flood of artists out of areas such as SoHo began to move into Williamsburg for cheap rent and convenient transportation, one subway stop from Manhattan. The community was small at first, but by 1996 Williamsburg had accumulated an extensive artist population numbering in the thousands.
In recent years, Williamsburg has become a rival to Manhattan as a home for live music and new bands. Jazz has begun to find a foothold in Williamsburg as well, with classic jazz full time at restaurant venues. Low rents were a major reason why artists first started settling in the area, but that situation has changed since the mid 1990s. The North Side above Grand Street, which separates the North Side from the South Side, is somewhat more expensive, due to its proximity to the L and G train lines. More recent gentrification, however, has prompted an increased interest below Grand Street as well. With a new waterfront park and esplanade, and high-rise construction holds great promise for the future of Williamsburg and will further cement its solid reputation as a premier New York City residential neighborhood.