Hey, did you hear that one about Williamsburg? It’s dead. That’s not really news, of course. What with glass condominiums and high-end boutiques and forthcoming Starbucks, the neighborhood more closely resembles a financier’s fever-dream of a playground than whatever it used to be. It just got a little more dead, though, with the news that Verb Cafe is set to close.
An employee told Gothamist that the landlord wants to up the rent by 70 percent on the coffee shop, which has been a Williamsburg mainstay since 1999, or Before the End Times. It’s one of the last vestiges of pre-condoburgian Williamsburg, when you could actually afford to, you know, be creative and experimental while living there. Plenty of notable musicians and artists worked or hung out at Verb, including, most famously, Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio.
Arguable if that exists anywhere in North or Central Brooklyn, in 2014. Nowadays people go to Williamsburg to enjoy it or document it or patronize it, but not actually contribute to its local culture. It’s no surprise that DIY vibrancy withered. Like Manhattan before it, Williamsburg became, in the wise words of Moby, “a victim of its own photogenic beauty and success.”
No word on what’s going to replace Verb. The employee speculated to Gothamist that the landlord might attempt to “gouge some naive entrepreneurs for their life savings, and they’ll close in a year and a half.”