A Williamsburg community board meeting got pretty intense this week, as locals expressed concern over a new wine bar at the corner of Driggs and Metropolitan. And some of that concern verged on the absurd:
“We are trying to prevent gang activity in the neighborhood,” said Luis Santiago, who said he was representing tenants from 232 Metropolitan Ave. “Opening this restaurant with beer and liquor, with teenagers already going crazy here, it’s going to be an even bigger issue. I don’t think it’s a good idea for there to be tables and a cafe out on the sidewalk.”
What the hell? Wine bar=gang violence? And the one thing the nabe does need more of is outdoor cafe tables. I LOVE OUTDOOR CAFE TABLES.
I’ve lived in Williamsburg for a while, and the number of bars (and staggering-drunk bar patrons) has increased at least three-fold over the last decade. Now, seeing as I like bars (well, not really wine bars, per se), and good coffee, and nice food, I can’t say I really mind this particular aspect of gentrification. Sure, Bedford Avenue has basically become a spur of the East Village, and North 6th sometimes feels like Bourbon Street (and throngs of drunk hipsters walk by my apartment late at night, using their “I’m wasted and was just at rock show” voices), but that’s the price you pay for jap chae at 1am.
I understand there’s a point of drunk-dude saturation, and I respect some of the concerns raised about all this, but think about it this way: Maybe all the drunken frat dudes will deflect gang violence away from residents, LIKE HUMAN DECOYS IN STRIPED SHIRTS? Or maybe not. I’m going home now for a glass of beer at one of the six bars within three minutes of my apartment.