For our time in New York, as Rob’s mentioned, we stopped at a hostel in East Williamsburg – NY Moore Street. Now, everyone I spoke to before we arrived raved about the area – numerous people telling us how much we’d love it and how cool it was, so perhaps my expectations were set a little too high but whilst we enjoyed it I’m not 100% sure I’d stay here again. There are plenty of things to do in East Williamsburg though, so read on to see if it’s your kind of place…
Couple of reasons we chose to stay in East Williamsburg – firstly, price; obviously we’re on a backpacker budget so when visiting one of the most expensive cities in the world, we figured cheap accommodation was the way to go which limited us to places mostly outside of Manhattan. Secondly, with this as our first stay in a hostel we wanted to pick somewhere that had good reviews, this hostel had great ratings and came recommended through Hostelworld (our main hostel booking site) and a few other websites we checked.
Plus point of East Williamsburg is that it’a pretty interesting district of New York – if I had to compare it to somewhere in London it would probably be Shoreditch to give you an idea of the vibe, although probably a little more like Shoreditch a few years back when it was more ‘up and coming’. Street art and hipsters everywhere. More hipsters than I’ve ever seen before actually, but friendly hipsters so it’s all good!
NY Moore Hostel – http://www.nymoorehostel.com/
The hostel was pretty chilled, good for us as we weren’t looking for a party, and well located, just a few blocks from Morgan Avenue or Montrose Avenue Subway stations which were around a 15 minute journey into Manhattan. Free decent coffee, clean rooms and a well equipped kitchen, computer room and area for socialising made this a pretty good first place to stay – I’d recommend this place to anyone looking for a budget place to stay outside central New York. It’s near to all of the main things to do in East Williamsburg and the staff were really friendly as well, giving us loads of tips about the area and travelling to Manhattan from here.
Eating & Drinking
Starting off with the most important one when it comes to things to do in East Williamsburg – food and drink! There are loads of bars and restaurants located around this area – so whether you want sushi, green juices, taco, pizza, or pretty much anything, you’ll definitely find what you’re looking for. Again, on our budget we didn’t get the opportunity to try as much as we probably would have liked, but what we did try we really enjoyed.
We stumbled upon Roberta’s Pizza early on as it’s so close to the hostel, and had an incredible pizza, I’d go so far to say one of the best I’ve ever had. It wasn’t until we looked it up after that we realised it held such a great reputation and set of reviews – appearing on plenty of essential New York restaurants lists. For a little over $25 we enjoyed an “Axl Rosenberg” pizza and some beers in a busy courtyard round the side of the restaurant. If we do come back to NYC, I will definitely come back and sample more of these kookily named hipster pizzas, well worth the visit!
For beers and cocktails, I’d recommend Pine Box Rock Shop – loads of different craft beers, a fantastic cocktail list and a really friendly atmosphere. Also dog friendly and home to two of the cutest French Bulldogs I’ve ever seen whilst we were there 🙂
I think the main thing to do in East Williamsburg is definitely to explore the local street art – one of the best places to see artistic graffiti in the city, almost every wall is covered and there are some seriously impressive works. There are loads of tours available to guide you through the neighbourhood, although we didn’t get a chance to join one, and just enjoyed wandering the streets and seeing what we could find. If you want to take time to see all the famous street art in New York, this article is a good starting point and we’ve included our favourite pictures below.
So in summary, East Williamsburg is ridiculously hip, full of the coolest people I’ve ever seen, and a great place to stay if you like that kind of vibe. For us, I’m glad we got to experience it and it’s definitely worth seeing if you’re in the city, but next time I’d probably try to find somewhere a little more central as a base. If you’re happy to stay on the outskirts though and are keen to save some cash there are lots of cool things to do in East Williamsburg that help to make it a good base outside of Manhattan.