Hip ZIP ripped! Williamsburg waterfront goes from 11211 to 11249

Hip ZIP ripped! Williamsburg waterfront goes from 11211 to 11249
The Brooklyn Paper / Mike Short

Brooklyn’s hippest ZIP is getting split.

Williamsburg’s waterfront will be cut out of the fashionably skinny 11211 ZIP code and saddled with the uglier 11249 postal code next month thanks to a booming residential and business population.

Residents learned of the decision on Wednesday, when the Post Office told the 16,046 affected customers that a new postal code would go into effect on July 1.

“Change is not always easy or convenient, but your new ZIP code will provide additional room for growth in the community and effective mail delivery for years to come,” said the unsigned postmaster’s notice.

The new ZIP code will comprise an area bounded by Kent Avenue, Flushing Avenue, N. 14th Street and Bedford Avenue, basically resembling a banana.

In essence, the 11211 ZIP code is following the hipsters, who are migrating to East Williamsburg and south side Williamsburg as housing costs have risen along the waterfront.

It is unclear how many people in the new ZIP zone still rely on old-style mail deliveries. The decline of so-called “snail mail” is, after all, a nationwide trend.

Still, the change was necessary because deliveries throughout the western portion of the neighborhood have risen with the population surge that followed the 2005 rezoning of the former manufacturing area into a high-rise residential neighborhood.

The waterfront population has jumped dramatically in the past 10 years. One census tract near N. Seventh Street rose 123 percent over the decade.

A Postal Service spokeswoman said that Williamsburg’s deliveries have been increasing even though the total amount of mail in Brooklyn has dropped over the past five years.

“New buildings have been going up, more businesses are moving in and there are more family members in same apartment dwelling,” said Post Office spokeswoman Darlene Reid-Demeo.

That said, the change will not result in an additional post office. The main postal station for the current 11211 zone is on S. Fourth Street at Marcy Avenue.

Businesses that rely on the 11211 moniker feel betrayed.

A store manager at Office 11211, the Bedford Avenue mail supplies store that is in the new zone, said the company was contemplating a name change, but had not made a firm decision.

And Ward Dennis, a community board member who runs the Brooklyn 11211 blog, said that maybe it was time to retire his website.

Of course, he was kidding.

“I’ll keep Brooklyn 11211 because it sounds better and looks better than Brooklyn 11249,” he said.

Longtime residents say they have lived with the palindromic 11211 for their entire lives, and it has become a part of the neighborhood’s identity. The last change to occur in the area was when Ridgewood, Queens got a new ZIP code in 1980.

Williamsburg residents like Gillian Fox and business like Office 11211 on Bedford Avenue better get used to a new zip code, as 11211 will be phased out in certain areas beginning July 1.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini