An immersive audio journey into the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York. The walk features the long-term residents of Williamsburg's Southside Community.
Experience Southside Stories, an immersive audio journey into the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York. The walk features the long-term residents of Williamsburg's Southside Community.
Discover how residents are preserving a sense of identity, community and connection to "home" amid exponentially rising rents and a landscape rapidly undergoing transformation.
Explore new places. See the city from another perspective. Meet local residents. Experience the community and diversity of the neighborhood.
Listen with headphones
"This is our neighborhood. This is where we grew up. People look at us like we're foreigners, and they don't realize that if it wasn't for the Spanish people that stood here, this wouldn't be a neighborhood. Because we stood here when it got bad."
"I wish I had someone tell me, that block you used to sell at, all those abandoned buildings, those little three family houses? They were only going for $15,000 back then. Today, they're worth a million dollars. I could have bought the whole block!"
"This is a community that helps each other... I believe in drug free, get a job, get a little education, get some training, go back to the world, be somebody and be proud."
This overgrown lot on Bedford Ave is worth millions of dollars, but its owner, Luis Savage, refused to sell it. Carmen, a retired woman living a block away, reached out to take care of Luis every day before he passed away. She still tends the lot to this day.
Maria recounts the lines that would form around the beloved La Villita Bakery. After being in business for 17 years, their landlord doubled rent overnight. Unable to meet the price jump, they were forced to move out. The store, however, stayed closed and shuttered for more than a year afterwards.
A century ago, the Fourteenth Ward, as Williamsburg was then more commonly known, was a densely populated, working-class district, where the various ethnic groups—Irish, German, Italian, Jewish, Polish—lived elbow to elbow and constantly clashed. In author Henry Miller's many recollections of growing up on this block, he described the neighborhood as "tender with violence," filled with both warmth and sudden ferocity.
The Caribbean Club has been in the neighborhood since the early 1970s.
The last remaining Puerto Rican social club in Williamsburg is Toñita's. It is named after the beloved owner who makes dinner on Sunday evenings for all patrons. This is the final destination of the walk. Watch the trailer for the documentary Toñita's by Beyza Boyacioglu & Sebastian Diaz and take a look inside.