First New York Reading – The Last Bohemia: Scenes from the Life of Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Remember when Williamsburg was “undiscovered,” hipster-free, and gritty? Do you remember Kokies? Robert Anasi does and vividly chronicles turn-of-the-century Williamsburg in his new book The Last Bohemia with a wit and charm that never descends into mere nostalgia. Documenting Williamsburg’s arresting transformation from grit to glitz, Anasi’s book is a vivacious celebration of New York’s most adored — and despised – neighborhood.

You can see him tonight in that other last bohemia, Greenpoint, as he does his first New York reading at The Word. More information here.

From the New York Times

In 1992, New York magazine anointed Williamsburg, Brooklyn, as “the New Bohemia.” Two decades later, Robert Anasi delivers a bittersweet verdict on the neighborhood’s stunning ascent. Williamsburg may not quite be “The Last Bohemia” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $15) as he proclaims (there’s still room for Bushwick and even the South Bronx). But he vividly realizes his subtitle: “Scenes From the Life of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.”

Mr. Anasi lived in Williamsburg for 14 years, through the thick of its revival. He fetchingly explores the fluorescence of his old neighborhood as well as the gentrification and commodification of a place that, however briefly, belonged to artists. But, when he decamped at age 40 for California, where he writes and teaches journalism, the decision was an easy one. “I didn’t feel guilty about leaving Williamsburg,” he writes. “Williamsburg had already left me.”

Buy the book here and check out this great review in the Los Angeles Review of Books.