|Area||94,821,084 sq. ft.|
|Rental listings||334 no-fee, 71 fee ads|
Running along the waterfront area of Brooklyn just east of Manhattan's 14th street in Manhattan is Williamsburg. Once an inexpensive artists area with plentiful illegal lofts and warehouse spaces – as well as cheap old apartments – Williamsburg has passed all stages of gentrification: from blue-collar neighborhood to artist haven to bohemian hotspot to hipster mecca and finally to simply expensive neighborhood where the young and gainfully employed prefer to live, within walking distance to a selection of trendy bars and restaurants. That said, parts of the neighborhood, especially in the East Williamsburg section, are still somewhat gritty. Generally, the most ethnically and socially diverse areas are to the south and the most gentrified to the north.
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Apartments span a wide range: from your typical old Brooklyn flats, often with the so-called "railroad" or "shotun" layouts, in which the middle rooms get very little light, to modern "condo"-style apartments in modern buildings (which tend to be mid-rise and at least somewhat upscale), to lofts of various grades of "rawness." The older buildings represent best bargains, but keep in mind that their electrical systems have not always been brought up to today's standards, which may be an issue for those relying on multiple home appliances or simply working from home.
Williamsburg was once an independent city whose main economic engines were oil and sugar refineries near the East River. In 1903, the Williamsburg Bridge was built, linking the area to Manhattan. The bridge helped many Lower East Side Jews escape the poverty and appalling living conditions of that neighborhood and settle down with more comfort and space on the Brooklyn bank of the river.