Ryan Babenzien of Greats Brand

Ryan Babenzien of Greats Brand

 From The Field,Friends of HS

For part one of this series, we scooted across the East River to Williamsburg, home of the HBO powerhouse 'Girls' and and the footwear industry disrupting Greats BrandAnd today our guide is non other than Ryan "RB" Babenzien, co-founder and CEO of Greats Brand.

We wanted to kick this series off right and felt like RB would be perfect in the lead off spot, like Ricky Henderson in his prime. We were not disappointed.

Now, before we dive in, we should note that New York is a big city where people are quick to dig into their neighborhood's culture and community. And while we here at Hudson Sutler lovingly call NYC home, we'd be lying if we said we knew Williamsburg well.

But that's why we travel... to visit friends, make new friends, and to see new cities with the people who know them well. And that's why we called RB. With his home, headquarters and flagship retail store all within blocks from the Bedford Ave L stop in the bustling Williamsburg community of Brooklyn, RB was the perfect Williamsburg guide.

Saying we had fun on our shoot with RB would be a wild understatement. This guy just brings a ton of energy to everything he does. It's no wonder he and his team at Greats are blowing up. When we asked RB for the low-down on Williamsburg he broke it down for us quite simply.

"Yeah, not sure if I'll ever leave Williamsburg... I have it all right here..." - RB


To-Go-Coffee and Quick Bite

Dépanneur - 242 Wythe Ave is where we grabbed coffee before popping on to the Citi Bike right next to the shop. RB says this is one of his go-to coffee spots in the morning or for a a sandwich to go.

Favorite View Around

Kent Ave Waterfront / Ferry - N 6th St & Kent. RB swears that this is the best bike path in NY. He calls it a perfect place to go, take in the view of Manhattan, and clear your head.

Retail Therapy

Pilgrim Surf + Supply - 68 N 3rd St. As we cruised through the neighborhood, we made a stop in front of Pilgrim, seen in the background of the first picture, a very cool surf shop in Williamsburg that RB's friend Chris owns. Ryan says he tries to stop in to see what's new and bother them when he can. We see why, the shop is gorgeous and got us all itching for Montauk and summer.

Home base

Greats Flagship - 240 Kent Ave. Normally only open on the weekends, RB brought us on a private tour of the Greats shop and in a word, "damn." Though the shop's not huge, it's loaded with character, from the custom build collapsable wall displays, the hand finished leather bench for shoe trying, to bronze cast of the very first Greats sneaker, this place exuded the very essence of what we're into at HS. If you're in Williamsburg next weekend, stop by the shop, say hi to John and tell him Hudson Sutler sent you.


Rooftop Bars

Are all over the place. While we often play by the "it's 5 o'clock somewhere" rule we, didn't grab a drink with RB. But he tells us that there are a few in Williamsburg he likes to hit when the weather is right. Specifically, theres a bar on the roof of Urban Outfitters on N6th that is never too crowded... welp, the secrets out now. There goes the neighborhood.


[photography by @inna.shnayder]