Meet Our Correspondent: William Smolen
Dining at Caprice in Hong Kong
As a lifestyle consultant, NYC-based William Smolen designs interior spaces and advises on travel, fashion, art, and culture to individuals around the world. As a result of spending his workaday time researching these subjects, William often finds himself editing the best of what he finds to solve a client need and sharing it with people who appreciate a hot tip: friends, colleagues -- and now us.
And what a perfect way to start than his own Brooklyn neighborhood, Williamsburg.
“Of course it’s hip to hate everything in the ‘Burg -- and I’m sure I’ll receive a strong reaction to the gentrified offerings I showcase in my shopping video -- but having been a resident for over four years, not even un-checked irony, rampant hipsterism, and imploding condo development can best the magic combination of proximity to Manhattan and creative hotspots that made it a destination in the first place. Some might think of it as an un-official annex to the East Village, a one-stop continuation on the L-train. But to me, it’s special all on its own: a creative community that manages to feel small in a place as large as New York City. There’s something to be said for that.
I base my business out of a floor of an old factory near the East River that makes up in character for what it lacks in convenience, and this is sort-of a tangible metaphor for the neighborhood. My landlord is a famous choreographer, and on my block there’s a jazz bar, an Off Broadway theater, an independent cinema, a motorcycle fix-it garage, a hardware store, some working factories, an antiques shop, a surf board shop, and the headquarters of a fashion company, all existing in spirited harmony. Whenever I have clients come to town, I always make sure to bring them around to experience something unexpected, whether that be food, bars, music -- and my favorite -- shopping. Now's my chance to share a few of my favorite places for everyone!”