Areas like Williamsburg and Greenpoint in Brooklyn cater to young people. During the early 2000s, Williamsburg was a hub for music like indie rock and electroclash. It still has a large local hipster community, and each block is vibrant with street art.

That's why, when my friends and I went this summer, we hardly had to do any research to plan our day. When we were hungry, we would quickly stumble across a place to eat. And when we were dripping with sweat, we could take advantage of an air-conditioned hat shop to cool down and peruse hilarious and stylistic options. I had to document some of my prime choices for anyone who wanted to have a packed day in Brooklyn!

Five Leaves

chocolate, cream, cake, dairy product, sweet
Julia Rosenbaum

After exploring some of Greenpoint around our subway stop for some time, we came across Five Leaves, a great stop for brunch or lunch or anything in between. The restaurant had a musician's feel: narrow and quaint with lots of wood, marble-top tables, and leather booths. The charismatic waiter warned me and my friends that it was too hot to split their quiche of the day, but we went for it anyway. 

The food was full of fresh and hand-picked flavors, and we ended up wishing we had just ordered our own quiches. 

Van Leeuwen Artisanal Ice Cream 

cake, cream, chocolate, sprinkles, sweet, candy, goody, ice
Julia Rosenbaum

Van Leeuwen Artisanal Ice Cream started out of an adorable yellow truck on the streets of New York City. They proudly advertise how they make their own ice cream from scratch and out of simple ingredients: fresh milk and cream, cane sugar and egg yolks. What's amazing is that this is a quality you can taste when eating it. 

I ordered something reminiscent of my childhood: mint chocolate chip with these spherical sprinkles that I hadn't eaten in years. The mint tasted fresh, and the consistency was impossibly creamy. The Greenpoint location was a modern take on a child's secret hideout with curved ceilings, tan wood walls, and ice cream-shaped light fixtures.

Goorin Bros. Hat Shop

tea, cake
Julia Rosenbaum

Goorin Bros. Hat Shop reflects the hipster culture in Williamsburg better than anywhere else. It's evident how much the people who work there care about their craft. The friendly employee there was eager to explain to us that each hat has a story and a proper fit. This was proven true when we tried on some hats at random and looked ridiculous. 

In the nearby Starbucks, every barista wore a hat from this store, and each one was uniquely appropriate for that person. 

Coast by Coast

coffee, tea, beer
Julia Rosenbaum

My friends and I didn't realize Coast by Coast was a shop until we walked around to its other side. Its products are inspired by themes of travel, swim and surf, and the outdoors. It operates out of a customized 1972 Volkswagen Bus-tique that travels across the United States to sell items from carefully selected brands that reflect the store's philosophy. The side of the van opens to reveal swimwear and cover-ups, while the propped trunk displays accessories, organic beauty products, and crafts like colorfully threaded bracelets. 

People streamed in and out of the area, perusing the mobile shop while enjoying the music overhead and the strings of fairy lights. 


beer, coffee
Julia Rosenbaum

Popfuzz is a collectibles store filled with vintage rock and pop records, Pullip dolls, non sports trading cards, art books, graphic novels, and more. While my friends and I enjoyed exploring treasures from the '90s that we had never seen before, we also came across things from our own childhoods.

The owners let customers explore and do as they please, which was how my friends and I managed to mix and match outfits for Barbie dolls and try on Jabba the Hut hats. Popfuzz also uniquely allows you to bring your own items there and sell them or trade with the store!

The Heatonist

beer, oil, wine
Julia Rosenbaum

Visiting The Heatonist resulted both in a successful purchase and a spicy experience. The store collects creative hot sauces from around the world including unexpected choices such as Peaches N' Heat, Hot Honey, Chocolate Chili Sauce, and Ghost Pepper & Blueberry Hot Sauce. I ended up buying a Sinai Gourmet Cilantro hot sauce which had so many competing elements of flavor that it did more than just stimulate the tongue with spice. 

The best part of visiting is the hot sauce sommelier who lets customers try as many hot sauce samples as many times as they want. This meant I was able to try the store's spiciest hot sauce and feel my eyes well up with painful tears as heat scorched the inside of my mouth. 


Julia Rosenbaum

Our final stop was Bakeri, a small café with homemade pastries and an adorable aesthetic known for its freshly baked bread. The walls are painted with large looping flowers and the employees wear matching blue jumpsuits and white bandanas evocative of farmers' clothing. The space is filled with antique items that each play a role in the narrative behind the founding of the bakery. Some desserts are unique such as the apple cider flower or the lavender sugar cookie, but others are simple and delicious for just being so.

Nina Brondomo, the Norwegian owner who opened the shop in 2009, was quoted expressing her one wish for the shop, "I wanted the neighborhood to have good bread."

beer, cake, pizza
Julia Rosenbaum

Incredible street art served as the backdrop to our exploration of Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

tea, beer, ale, coffee, cranberry
Julia Rosenbaum
beer, tea, coffee, cake
Julia Rosenbaum
beer, coffee, pizza, tea, wine
Julia Rosenbaum
beer, coffee, tea, pizza
Julia Rosenbaum

So, if you find yourself exploring Greenpoint or Williamsburg, you'll see that there are a multitude of experiences to indulge in that give you a flavor of its interactive, expressive culture.