It what was once part of Brooklyn’s thriving industrial parks. In typical Twilight Zone fashion this was my stop at Willoughby on the Morgan station off the L. The subway can take you there but I decided to walk it after Jonathan and BPro invited me to experience what the locals call Morgantown. Officially unrecognized except for those who embrace life there, this up and coming hot spot is home to hundreds of artists and hipster types who have an itch to live off the map and away from their spoiled Williamsburg neighbors.
Chancing getting murdered, raped, and robbed (in that order) I meandered through quiet desolate streets off Knickerbocker Ave to be rewarded with an ultra chic hideaway that looked like Chernobyl on the outside but housed many treats once let in by those who are on the up and up. Popping by what looked to be an old loading dock closed 40 years ago brought to light a brand new health food store with not a speck of dust to be found. I was entirely confused by this experience until I discovered why many artists from my generation have been flocking here. Cheap rent and little police force (maybe a scruffy guy in shorts on a bicycle with a flashlight will suffice) allow those to indulge in the finer things in life without going overboard.
The tenants of one building I met worked as visual merchandisers for Top Shop in Manhattan so it goes without saying these are not lazy people. They simply like being left to their own vices as they stroll along buying American Spirit cigarettes and buying vitamins at the shop down the block. Most places of business cater to this crowd and range from gorgeous, hidden coffee shops to dive bars that made even the former Mars Bar look up to code.
The crowd I mingled with brought me to the Wreck Room as they called it. I couldn’t have been happier to see a flickering red neon sign and busted car parts adorning walls. “That’s $4, love,” the short female bartender whispered with a smile. I didn’t stay long in Morgantown but I’m sure this place is keeping more secrets than first imagined. Just be sure you have the right tour guide to this new little slice of utopia. I’m certain you won’t be disappointed.
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Daily Dapper: The Secrets of Mysterious Morgantown
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