The great dream of wandering around Williamsburg was finally realized. It only happened because I picked the only plausible day to go within a span of X weeks and made a haircut appointment for that day, namely today. But this non-spontaneity meant going a) when it was leggings-under-jeans-level freezing out, and b) while still recovering from some variant of the seasonal ailment seemingly affecting everyone lately. I'd recommend going in a more robust state, and in better weather, but still! So much excitement!
What you, oh jaded New Yorkers, see as a so-last-season condo-filled mall, I - someone whose usual options are actual malls - see as the epicenter of cool. What, the epicenter shifted, and is now in Bushwick? (I suppose it had while I was still living in the city.) Somewhere cooler than Bushwick? Perhaps so, if you want the best parties or galleries. But Google Maps-level planning suggested that for a day of urban leisure, for glamor before 11am, the L to Bedford (but straying off Bedford itself) would do.
First there was a flat white, this special Australian cappuccino-type thing with denser foam, from a suitably New Williamsburg establishment, Toby's Estate.
Then there was a haircut at Commune Salon and Gift, whose website seems to be down. It's in any case a super-chic Japanese hair salon, where I got a super-chic Japanese haircut.
Then it was time for lunch. My initial thought had been that of course I'd get the hamburger from Diner, but with Samurai Mama, a much-recommended Japanese "tavern," right next door, that became the obvious answer. I got the yakko (cold, custard-like tofu) with seaweed tsukudani, a condiment (?) I'd never had before, but that was delicious and can now go onto the list of Japanese dishes to try to recreate at home. Then I had the vegetable gyoza, which come in the small frying pan they were (presumably) cooked in, with some kind of batter connecting all the dumplings into one pancake. This came with an amazing dipping sauce, as well as a spicy chutney (?). Fabulous, and I can already say, impossible to recreate at home. I mean, the gyoza I could manage, but who knows what the webbing between them was made out of. It was too early in the day for tavern beverages (a novelty - NJ's very BYOB, not that I can even bring any B, what with the driving needed to get anywhere), but I hope to be back and try some of those - and basically all the other dishes - as well. No idea if my Princeton friends will read this, but if you do, let it be known you will be dragged there the moment it's not this cold out.
Then came some more Williamsburg wandering around, being generally freezing and blah, navigating icy streets, noting that the beard trend (so very absent in my part of NJ) lives on. I tried on nail polish at the Woodley and Bunny "Apothecary," but didn't buy any. (The royal blue Uslu Airlines was tempting, but then I remembered I have that color from the Rite Aid in the shopping center.) I noted that the some of the shoes in a "curated" store off Bedford were a brand with a store on the main street in Princeton. As always happens, I start to see the area again through jaded-New-Yorker eyes, and start wondering if maybe I should have just gone to Zabars and been done with it. Except no - that whole bit on Grand Street was probably worth the trip.