Williamsburg is dead.
At least, that is according to a group of artists organizing a “funeral” and dance party for the formerly hip ’hood at one of its beloved and recently doomed venues Glasslands on Dec. 6.
“This whole neighborhood is ruined now so let’s party,” said Nick Schiarizzi, a member of the party-throwing art collective Cheryl. “When I first moved to New York eight years ago, Williamsburg was very hip and cool, but now it’s a place for visitors and luxury condos.”
The event will feature a group burial rite paying respect to the dead, and attendees will have the chance to take part in the ceremony, although Schiarizzi was mum on how exactly the group plans to send off the late neighborhood.
Williamsburg’s cool factor has taken a hit in the past year with the loss of underground cultural hotspots such as 285 Kent, Death By Audio, and of course Glasslands, which will shutter at the end of the year. But Schiarizzi said the closure of these venues is really just the nail in the coffin for a district that is well past its prime.
“Williamsburg has become like a giant Hollywood set of what the rest of the world thinks Brooklyn is like,” said Schiarizzi, who lives in Bushwick.
Revelers are encouraged to come in costume. The event website offers suggestions such as “Starbucks baristas,” “goth immigrants,” and “Asian tapas.”
The artists of Cheryl know gentrification has many moving parts, and Schiarizzi acknowledged that some people might not look kindly on a group of New York transplant artists declaring a neighborhood dead. But he said the blame for rising rents and the squeezing out of older residents often lands unfairly at the feet of the creative types who moved to the neighborhood before it was cool.
“We understand this a complicated theme,” Schiarizzi said. “People were here before the artists and people did get pushed out, but a lot of people profited from the artists and the artists got screwed over as well. They put the neighborhood on the map and then were pushed out like everybody else was.”
“A Nail in the Coffin: A Dance Party Funeral for the Neighborhood of Willamsburg” at Glasslands (289 Kent Ave. between S. First and S. Second streets in Williamsburg, www.theglasslands.com). Dec. 6 at 11:30 pm. $10.