About East Williamsburg
Originally occupied by the Lenape people, Dutch settlers purchased the land from the Native Americans in the mid 1600’s and named the land Boswijck. Soon the English takeover transformed the name to what we know as Bushwick. By the early 1800’s with a large population of Germans and later Jewish settlers, the village of Williamsburg was carved out from the town of Bushwick.
During the industrial revolution of the late 1800’s entrepreneurs led by Elwin S. Piper created the Grand Street Board of Trade, which focused on enhancing business by constructing better pavements, more ferries, and better railroads. This was a time when Grand Street was thriving and Williamsburg even rivaled Wall Street in business recognition. Later in the 1900’s, the area saw waves of immigrants into Williamsburg including Italians, Hasidic Jews, Puerto Ricans, African Americans, and Dominicans. A downturn took place as many factories and manufacturers closed which resulted in high unemployment that led to blight and high crime rates throughout the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.