The Last Bohemia by Robert Anasi
Scenes from the Life of Williamsburg, Brooklyn

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A firsthand account of the swift transformation of Williamsburg, from factory backwater to artists' district to trendy hub and high-rise colony

Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is now so synonymous with hipster culture and the very idea of urban revitalization--so well-known from Chicago to Cambodia as the playground for the game of ironized status-seeking and lifestyle one-upmanship--that it's easy to forget how just a few years ago it was a very different neighborhood: a spread of factories, mean streets and ratty apartments that the rest of New York City feared and everyone but artists with nowhere else to go left alone.

Robert Anasi hasn't forgotten. He moved to a $300-a-month apartment in Williamsburg in 1994, and watched as the area went through a series of surreal transformations: the warehouses became lofts, secret cocaine bars became sylized absinthe parlors, barrooms became stage sets for inde-rock careers and rents rose and rose--until the local artists found that their ideal of personal creativity had served the aims of global commerce, and that their neighborhood now belonged to someone else.

Tight, passionate, and provocative, The Last Bohemia is at once a celebration of the fever dream of bohemia, a lament for what Williamsburg has become and a cautionary tale about the lurching transformations of city neighborhoods throughout the United States.


About Robert Anasi

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Robert Anasi has boxed in San Francisco and Munich as well as in the Golden Gloves Tournament. He lives by the East River in the warehouse district of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Published August 7, 2012 by FSG Originals. 241 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History. Non-fiction

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Left to lament the uncanny transformation and the passing of his youth, the author found himself roaming Williamsburg’s sanitized waterfront as a literary wraith intent on reanimating the untamed lives of those he once knew.

Jul 01 2012 | Read Full Review of The Last Bohemia: Scenes from...

Publishers Weekly

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Fortunately, Anasi keeps the focus on an immersive account of the feel and look of the early neighborhood with sharply drawn, novelistic profiles of Williamsburg’s original denizens and landscapes: pioneering artists, ghetto entrepreneurs, teen heroin addicts, grungy cocaine bars, and the compl...

May 21 2012 | Read Full Review of The Last Bohemia: Scenes from...

Book Forum

Such is the case with The Last Bohemia: Scenes from the Life of Williamsburg, Robert Anasi's aggressively insecure memoir-cum-travelogue spanning his fourteen years as a resident in that most memetastic of neighborhoods.

Aug 30 2012 | Read Full Review of The Last Bohemia: Scenes from...

The Coffin Factory

Unlike other neighborhoods in Brooklyn, people did not move to Williamsburg because it was ‘charming’ or ‘architecturally significant,’ but because it “was so close to the city and so cheap!” After Anasi left, stock-brokers were paying a million dollars for one of the thousands of new condos that...

Aug 20 2012 | Read Full Review of The Last Bohemia: Scenes from...

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