What more can we say about Brooklyn? I was born in Brooklyn in the Brighton Beach section. I lived there for my first year and a half in Trump Village, which was developed by the Donald’s father. The Jews in the area were mostly Ashkenazim back in the 70’s. My parents were second generation Jews and were both the first in the family to go to college. My family eventually left Kings County for greener pastures out on Long Island.
For a while Brooklyn lost its luster. Bed Sty was dangerous. In the 70’s I remember my father’s law partner, Lou Young, who was a spry 80 years of age was held up at gunpoint at their storefront office located on Dekalb Avenue. Following that scare, they moved their office to Queens Blvd. near where the boys from Entourage fictionally grew up.
But all has changed. It is clear that Brooklyn right now is one of the centers of innovation in the world. Take the food world. Adam Platt, writing in New York Magazine this week in his annual lengthy Where to Eat 2013 proclaims that the center of New York food culture has moved across the East River. Last weekend my wife and my two kids visited Brooklyn Flea, located at the old Williamsburg Savings Tower just a stone throw from my Dad’s old office. One of the draws to this shopping arcade is the start-up local food vendors that are set up in the rear basement. Restaurants serve limited menus of Chez Brooklyn cuisine. I sampled a creative fish taco from Takumitaco which bills itself as Japanese style Mexican street food. From there I ate shared a Porchetta sandwich from Porchetta (you always have to try the namesake dish) and finished with a dulce de leche donut that my 5 year old son devoured. A mere couple of blocks away is J-Z’s new home, The Barclay’s Center.
Daniel Ritort, writing in his blog notes that Brooklyn has become a hub for the Empire State’s cutting-edge crowd. Right now, Brooklyn seems just ripe for new businesses. The borough has lots of small companies started by people with an idea and passion, or just a need to find work, not least in the wake of the economic downturn.
Right now, Brooklyn Soda works sells at the Brooklyn Flea Market, but is now also selling to bars and restaurants too.
The company is part of a broader creative revival in Brooklyn which includes a range of hip, young start-up companies making artisan products, such as sodas, through to hand-made furniture.
Brooklyn also has a number of co-working spaces that are integral to the start-up scene. Places such as Work at the Yard located in Williamsburg, Post Road Coworking in DUMBO are just a few of the many places where start-ups are pounding away on Red Bull.
Look for more new businesses stating up in Brooklyn this year. Some may even change the world, even if it is only the food world.
Frederic R. Abramson is the principal of the Law Office of Frederic R. Abramson located at 160 Broadway, Ste. 500, New York, New York 10038. My office represents start-ups.