What We’re About

August 17, 2016

Hereswilliamsburg.com – it’s pretty self explanatory really. We exist to report on Williamsburg. Its highs, its lows, the mundane, the beautiful. We take contributions from our readers and the homeless guy down the street. We believe that it is all worth listening to. That these things are what make up the rhythm, music, landscape, color, and flow of life. If you ignore them you ignore an essential piece of yourself.

Come back here to get a feel of the texture of our daily life as we live out our days in the best city on earth. Sure, we may delve into the practical things sometimes, such as details about local businesses, or where you can get a good deal, but these apparent detours are all part of the plan. You live life in the details. You live it in the grand vistas. You live it everywhere in between. We just want to be a place where you can listen and feel again.

For those who don’t already know, Williamsburg is a neighborhood in Brooklyn, which is one of the five boroughs of New York City. Right across the bay is Manhattan, the most famous of the boroughs – but don’t ignore us. For the past decade a burgeoning and vibrant art scene has developed that now is nationally recognized as leading the way. This blog is an extension of this movement. Sure, it may play into the stereotype that’s developed that we’re just a bunch of yuppies in hipster disguises living off our rich parents’ trust funds. Let them think that – they don’t understand the heartbeat of where we are.

Williamsburg – here she is. You’ll wish you were here soon enough if you keep reading.

Joe

This is one way to get here. You may have heard of it.

Closed for Business: H&R Block, 754 Grand Street

August 24, 2016

It wasn’t particularly unusual for the nine-to-five storefront to be closed at 8:30AM on a Monday morning. But when I looked a bit closer at the H&R Block at 754 Grand Street (between Humboldt Street and Graham Avenue), I noticed the sign on the door clinging to its last spout of life by one solitary corner. After I spoke with a representative at the H&R corporate headquarters, it became apparent that the closed tax service center would not be reopening for the coming April’s refund season.

The woman did not know when the Grand Street location closed, though I do recall it being open until at least the end of this summer. There is still much equipment inside (computers, keyboards, boxes of sorts), but I can only presume it’ll all be gone and the store empty soon enough. With the recent addition of Radioshack to the block, curiosity arises, calling to question if the new lease will be signed by another large corporation or, if we’re lucky, a fresh Mom-and-Pop to breath more new life in the expanding business district.

The rumor on the street is that it will become a security shop that sells safes. The potential owner has started a website reviewing gun safes, and feels that he may have the expertise to get into a brick and mortar business. Only time will tell!

About Apartment Hunting and Sublets in Williamsburg and New York

August 23, 2016

Nyc Sublet

Everyone knows that New York is the greatest city in the world. At the same time, it is also one of the most expensive ones to live in. In NYC, tenants commonly need to sublet their apartments for assorted reasons. There are several must-do activities for if you are in New York, particularly if it is your very first time. New York City is a tiny island and it can only house so many people. A common solution is to find a sublet when living in NYC.

Luckily enough, we live in the digital age. So if you don’t know anyone in the city, there are apps that can really help you out. Skylight will be your best friend in the hunt for an apartment.

Although brokers can be pretty expensive, a big advantage is that they’re familiar with the region and save you trouble. Provided you understand what you’re looking for. In most cases, a sublet is the greatest option for the two parties.

For instance, after a walkthrough and examination of the entire property, the brand new tenant may consent to change out your security deposit. Within ten days after mailing the initial request, your landlord is permitted to request additional info to allow the landlord to find out if rejection of this kind of request will undoubtedly be unreasonable. There are various reasons why you may prefer to consider subletting your home to a different tenant.

Details

The genuine landlord didn’t grant anyone permission to put an ad on Craigslist and wasn’t renting the apartments. Rent Stabilized apartments are supposed to serve as the principal residence of the tenant and profiteering is forbidden. Other buildings restrict the period of time an apartment might be subletted. Search for an apartment within the outer boroughs.

A named tenant, a rent controlled tenant, or possibly a roommate is continually eligible to have their dependent children living with them. Possessing a roommate isn’t the same as subletting and you really do not have to ask permission whenever someone moves in to you rent stabilized apartment alongside you. It would surely be really helpful to take some pictures of the whole apartment, as proof about what the apartment looked before the tenant’s move. Subletting your apartment may be a great alternative if you must move out of an apartment prior to your lease is up.

Alternatively, there is the common housing living model, in which groups of people live together in one large, mega-apartment. Common has set up a few sublets in Williamsburg and in Crown Heights.

Business of the Week: Camille Hempel Design, 317 Wythe Avenue

August 22, 2016

Like most great businesses, Camille Hempel’s start was a humble one, on the top floor of a since torn down house on South 6th and Berry Streets, right behind Diner. It was back in 1992 when Camille made the move from Wisconsin to Williamsburg, and it’s here she has stayed for nearly 20 years. After taking a few design classes in college, Camille got a job making custom jewelry in Madison, Wisconsin, where she learned a great deal about the trade of jewelry making. Following her stint there, she decided to come to New York, where, after nearly a decade of jewelry making in the house, she began finding herself knee deep in projects commissioned by people she didn’t know. The sign came when the house was set to be demolished, it was time to open her own storefront.

Like a removable tattoo, Camille said, “I think of jewelry more as self-expressive than as accessory or decoration.” Original, artistic and custom creations are what Camille Hempel Design’s are all about. “I’m more of an artist than a business person, but I’ve learned so much about business since I opened the store, enough to make it work. I just feel lucky that I have enough support that I can just keep doing what I do,” Camille said while standing in her small showroom on the corner of Wythe Avenue and South 2nd Street. In the beginning, Camille wasn’t even sure that she wanted to make jewelry on a professional level. “I didn’t want to take the fun out of it and have the pressure to sell jewelry,” she said. But a big help was not only her gaining notoriety, but it was also in finding a space that was simultaneously her showroom and workshop.

“I really emphasize stuff like joints and moving parts,” Camille told me. Her philosophy is to make truly one-of-a-kind pieces. Though she has molds for certain bracelets and rings, everything is one-of-a-kind and no two pieces are alike. In her shop, Camille will solder diamond settings onto Rose Gold rings (all diamonds are conflict free), engrave work with requested messages like anniversary dates or names, and (which is one of the most original ideas I’ve ever heard in jewelry making) imprint your or your partners fingerprint onto a ring (see top picture).

“I think jewelry should be really personal and people like my style and I help them make it just right for them. Because no matter what I can imagine, there are still differences in peoples own taste.” This is where having her own storefront really came into play because of the feedback she could receive, Camille said. “It really brought my work to a new level,” because it’s about collaboration with the customer. “They have the idea and I help them make it work,” Camille said. “Comfort is really important, practicality, stone setting.” But with that, comes a lot of creative licensing, people trust Camille with their gems and jewels and she creates intricate and innovative pieces for them. “It’s great. When do you ever get to work with a two carrot old mind-cut diamond?”

An interesting aspect of Camille’s storefront is that it used to be a diner and before that a candy store. As she took me into the shop in the back, we passed the old remnants of a different time. Recently, Camille had a wine party for friends and occasionally makes brunch for said friends, and invoked the spirit of the diner, utilizing the counter and stools that are still standing. She joked, “Sometimes it smells like bacon during shop hours. Bacon helps sell jewelry, too.” The sizeable work shop houses two benches, one for her and one for the young girl, Autumn, that helps her with finishing and other processes. Truly, Camille Hempel Design’s are one-of-a-kind and a surefire place to find something special for that special person in your life.

Who’s your Daddy Zombie Movies

August 19, 2016

I love zombie movies.  The gore and scenes of slaughter are almost filler for me, because what I really love is the variety that you just don’t see done well with other monster clichés.  Zombies truly lend themselves to a large range: comedy and slapstick, all-out gorefest, thriller (pun intended), and just about every exotic virus known or unknown to man.  Apocalyptic in scope, or just one group trapped in a cabin in the woods, these plots can occur anywhere, in any context, at any time.  So here is a wide range of some of the best.

Pontypool (2009)

Nothing is more isolated than narrating a zombie holocaust in small-town Ontario from the isolation of a morning show radio booth.  In an interesting spin on the typical “Zombie Virus” scenario, the infection in Pontypool is spread through language, Tourette syndrome gone wild.  Based on the Tony Burgess novelPontypool Changes Everything, this one makes the list.

Re-Animator (1985)

It’s more difficult to combine any other movie monster with comedy than the zombie.  Gore, zombies, and humor lend themselves so well to the screen that it’s difficult to come up with a list of ten movies and not include five of these gems.  In this one a reagent is used to reanimate bodies, but it all goes horribly awry.  Think of Weird Science, but instead of some hot chick you can summon zombies.  It’s just as exciting.  This film has also made Jeffrey Combs a cult hit to all of us who thought we were too cool for Star Trek.  (Just to clear things up… no, he did not die in 9-11.)

I Sell the Dead (2008)

This is a personal favorite of mine, and I would love to bump it up a few notches on the list but I know too many people would bitch.  Grave robbers run into trouble with a competing grave robbing guild, Ron Perlman is a monk, an alien circus freak corpse is somehow central to the plot, and Angus Scrimm looks as creepy as ever.  How can you go wrong?  The answer is you can’t.  Watch this movie.

The Seprent and the Rainbow (1988)

Wes Craven throws his hat into the zombie ring with this late-80’s release starring Bill Pullman as Dennis Alan, a Harvard anthropologist.  Upon hearing of a voodoo drug used to zombify people in Haiti, word gets back to the U.S. and Alan is approached by a large pharmaceutical property more than interested in this discovery.  This film is set apart from the others on the list in that an added layer of depth via political strife is crucial to the plot.  Alan is harassed, tortured, and arrested by local Haitian warlords and yet still pursues this Voodoo drug.  He is eventually kicked out of Haiti, but returns for a strange, yet satisfying, ending.

Zombie (1979)

A.K.A. Zombi 2Island of the ZombiesZombie Island, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.  Hated by the Conservative British Parliament for its gore (not saying much—a crumpet with too much jelly might make them wheeze), this is among Fulci’s best.  I always get asked, “Are you a Romero guy, or a Fulci guy?”  I tend to lean Fulci.  A zombie fighting a shark explains why.  Anyway, the island of Matool is cursed and the dead come back to life.  Obviously, the dead are zombies and a lot of people get killed.  If you’ve never seen this movie, you will be as annoyed by Paola as I… but don’t worry.  Fulci takes care of business.

Evil Dead (1981)

Honestly, I flipped a coin.  It was this or Evil Dead 2.  I consider Army of Darkness to be more in the period epic category than zombie film, belonging in the same league as Gladiator and Elizabeth: The Golden Age.  At its core Evil Dead is a classic something-dark-in-the-woods horror flick.  Made on a shoestring budget with minimal effects, the film still manages to have some great scares.  Now lauded for its cult status now as a comedic hit, but I dare anyone to make a horror film on this type of budget and not laugh at the result.

Dellamorte Dellamore, or Cemetery Man (1994)

Something is wrong in the ground at Buffalora Cemetery in the Italian countryside.  Within a week of burial, the dead awaken.  Francesco Dellamorte comes from a long line of Dellamorte’s tasked with the duty of killing these poor saps as they emerge.  Francesco, however, has big dreams and is not content with the family business after he discovers he possibly killed the love of his life.  If you know someone who thinks Twilight is the ultimate Halloween love story, show them this film.  You may just save a lost soul.

Dead Alive (1992)

Otherwise known as Braindead in New Zealand, this under-the-radar pre-LOTR Peter Jackson movie is perfect.  A Sumatran Rat-Monkey is responsible for a zombie virus spread through biting, of course.  When poor Lionel’s mum is bitten by the Rat-Monkey, Lionel takes it upon himself to see to it that she is cared for after she emerges from the grave.  Naturally zombies get out of hand and Lionel can’t control all of them.  Sedatives and zombies just don’t work that way.   It all leads up to a finale that is worth the price of admission.

White Zombie (1932)

So this is “the film that started it all.”  The original masters were lost until the 1960’s, and the film was all but forgotten.  The modern “remaster” still suffers from terrible sound, but this is definitely worth watching.  Béla Lugosi stars as Murder Legendre in this film, still on the cusp of “talkies” that the acting has the exaggerated, delayed reactions necessary to silent film.  Adapted from a play, White Zombie depicts the origins of the zombie genre—Haitian voodoo—long forgotten in our era of viral zombies existing solely to prey on live humans.

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Not “the film that started it all,” but so seminal to the genre that it absolutely must be included on any list.  The raw, black and white footage adds to the silent atmosphere, generating a more frightening effect than most modern cameras and special effects could reproduce.  (In numerous dreadful attempts, none have come close to reproducing this original.)  Add to that a complex layer of social commentary in an era of civil rights and domestic unrest and the term “classic” still does little justice.