by Kavita Jaikissoon

I live in the coolest place in the world, but not for the reason that most people think. Williamsburg is considered the coolest place in Brooklyn because of its street art, repurposed factories, outdoor concerts, bars, and food markets.

That Williamsburg is not my home. There is another side of Williamsburg filled with fun stuff that most people don’t know exists.

If you look on the internet for exciting things to do in Williamsburg, you will miss all the fantastic hidden gems that I see daily.

There is a hydroponic garden called Café Ponico, located at 357 South 3rd Street, 11211 that I doubt most people know exists. A hydroponic garden grows plants without soil. Instead of soil, a mineral nutrient solution is used.

Café Ponico is a part of Southside United HDFC, a social service organization. As part of a social service organization, Café Ponico distributes fresh produce free of charge. It has never been cheaper to be healthy.

Anyone can stop by Café Ponico to hangout. There is always free coffee, and it is a great place to relax. There are at least a dozen books you can read, or you can grow your own plants if you become a regular.

Anyone can get free plants if they want. You can pick from over twelve varieties of plants. In the “concrete jungles” of New York, it’s nice to have a little green oasis.

Another hidden gem of Williamsburg that is often overlooked is the bodega. If your craving an ice-cream after a visit at Café Ponico, don’t buy the nitrogen ice-cream that is all the rage.

Stop by a bodega and pick yourself up a Mamita’s icy. I recommend the coconut cream flavor. It is the best flavor, in my opinion.

You can probably find it in a supermarket, but then you won’t get to see the cat in the bodega. The unofficial rule of the bodega is that you must have a cat. I don’t recommend trying to pet it.

While you’re in Williamsburg, it wouldn’t hurt to get your hair done at Nydia’s Beauty Salon located at 263 S 2nd St, Brooklyn, NY 11211. It never hurts to support a local business.

I can get my thick one foot long, naturally wavy hair washed and blown out for thirty dollars. You get pristine results without breaking the bank. Men can also stop by for a haircut or a shave.

My last hidden gem for you is a place to eat dinner and end your day. We cannot mention Williamsburg without talking about food. In my opinion, the best place to grab dinner is the Kabob Shack, located at 182 Havemeyer St, Brooklyn, NY 11211.

The Kabob Shack is a casual Mediterranean restaurant that has both meat and vegetarian options. It is open from 11 AM to 11 PM, which makes it the perfect place for a late-night snack.

I highly recommend the falafel sandwich. It is delicious and cheap. To guarantee yourself a table, you can make a reservation online. Walk-ins are always welcome.

Check out these hidden gems the next time you’re in Williamsburg for the day.

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