When Williamsburg got a Toms shoe store and cafe last year, you knew a Warby Parker couldn’t be far behind. Well, here she is: Warby came to 124 North 6th Street just this past weekend. Outside is a mural by Stephen “ESPO” Powers; inside, an array of hipster-friendly glasses— including Warby’s new $195-and-up collection— and a tastefully curated selection of books by authors like Zadie Smith and David Rakoff. Naturally, you can purchase the 33 1/3 treatise on David Bowie’s Low.
Warby isn’t the only fresh face on what the New York Post has dubbed “Brooklyn’s hottest street.” In recent days, three West Coast brands have opened on North 6th, on the four-block stretch between Bedford and Kent. Those would be LA-based designer Buck Mason (126 N 6th) and two San Francisco-based sustainability-focused clothiers: Marine Layer (117 N 6th St) and Everlane (104 N 6th). On Thursday, Madewell—one of the first national chains to plant its flag on the strip, back in 2014— will expand its footprint with a men’s store at 89 N 6th. Also in the works is an outpost of Santander’s “Work Café” concept (85-87 N 6th), a hybrid coworking space, bank and “premium café.” (Never mind that there’s already a fairly premium cafe, Partners Coffee, a block away.)
These latest shops join North Face and Korean retailer Aland, which opened stores last year; Vans and Lululemon, which opened up in 2017; high-end European designers Sandro and Maje; and cosmetics shops Credo, Le Labo, and Rituals.
A year ago, the Post noted that long-in-transition North 6th had recently “emerged from graffiti-covered dilapidation to a charming thoroughfare” lined with brands willing to pay an average of $225 per square foot in search of “hipster spending.” (It’s debatable whether the street– once home to bar/venues like Black Bar and record stores like Academy, in addition to the long-gone American Apparel– is still trafficked by hipsters much. Sure, it still boasts venues like Music Hall of Williamsburg and National Sawdust, as well as the vacant lot that’s currently home to Brooklyn Flea. But at the end of the strip, on the water, are a couple of luxury high-rises that are more bobo than boho.)
The most recent developments here haven’t gone unnoticed by local storecasters:
There’s a brick+mortar evolution here in Williamsburg Brooklyn.— clayton chambers (@cechambrs) September 6, 2019
In a few months, we’ll have:
– Warby Parker
– Marine Layer
– Buck Mason (not pictured)
The $$ of real estate is about to go 📈 pic.twitter.com/VMZyqqHlju
Is Williamsburg playing catch up to the UWS? We’ve got Warby, Intermix, Marine Layer, Rag & Bone and a Madewell en route… on a single block!— Greg Baumann (@glbaumann) September 9, 2019
Don’t underestimate Williamsburg on the weekend. Tons of young tourists flock to BK for a raw “cool” factor, the same customers who wear brands like Everlane and Marine Layer.— Brandon Hoffman (@BrandonHoffmanC) September 6, 2019
Retail is back baby!
This won’t be the last of the openings on North 6th, where just a few longtimers– like Sea, Zenkichi, and Zablozki’s– improbably remain. There are vacant or under-construction storefronts at 60, 70, 76, 81-83, 91, 106, and 108-112 N 6th, among others.
So, yeah, there’s plenty more gentrification in store.