NFT New York Bushwick


Bushwick used to be synonymous with crime and urban blight but nowadays, there's not too much anxiety on a late-night walk home. This neighborhood has been on the rise since rent in Williamsburg started sky-rocketing, and Bushwick's close location and low-rent lured over students and artists into what used to be--and, in many pockets, continues be--a family-oriented, predominantly Latino community.

Get ready for a lot of grey--much of what's considered "residential" to the Williamsburg expats of Bushwick's artist community are warehouses and factories renovated into loft spaces. But Bushwick isn't completely color-starved. Commissioned murals like the one on the corner of Central and Myrtle break up the monotony of uneven sidewalks and just-functional architecture. Get up onto any rooftop to appreciate a skyline that can move even the most jaded local. Oases like Maria Hernandez Park provide residents with much-needed green (no, not that kind).

As a residential neighborhood, Bushwick is fully functional. Youngsters out past bedtime might not be able to get their midnight skinny latte (sorry, yuppies: no Starbucks for miles), but the main thoroughfares--Wilson Avenue, Central Avenue, Knickerbocker Avenue, and Broadway--provide every service imaginable. Ninety-nine cent stores compete with music stores, pawn shops, and laundromats. ("The best" of any of these businesses is usually determined by how long it takes to walk there.) Sick of those con men across the river who charge $80 for a trim, not including tip? In Bushwick, a cut from a unisex hair salon for around $10 to $20 is right around the corner.See more.

Bushwick shows its family roots in the mind-boggling number of churches of all different denominations scattered throughout the neighborhood, many merely humble storefronts among the milieu of bodegas and take-out Chinese. For a historic parish, visit St. Barbara's for beautiful, if out-of-place, architecture and a thriving religious community. But residents, beware the bells: they have a tendency to interrupt a hungover Sunday morning sleep. Folks who want to bring a piece of their faith home can visit any number of the botanicas selling articulos religosos around the area, stocked with candles, incense, and saint-themed aerosol sprays (really!). Besides, no Bushwick home is complete without at least one glass candle-holder depicting a Catholic saint.

Bushwick's venues are never pretentious but prepare to come out smelling like Pabst and weed. Drop by the Bushwick Starr to see Manhattan-caliber performance art. Bring ear-plugs for the lo-fi squeals of Silent Barn; give those ears a rest at an acoustic set in Northeast Kingdom's cozy basement lounge.

Except for stand-out Northeast Kingdom, people looking for Michelin stars should keep it to some other neighborhoods or boroughs. Fortunately, their cuisine is so inventive and so good that we're not really complaining. Chinese take-out and Latin American cuisine dominate the scene but check out La Isla Cuchifritos for Puerto Rican soul-food 24/7. Cheap gems like Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos provide good food for the thrifty. Oh, and caffeine junkies can get their fix at the Wyckoff Starr.

Associated is everyone's grocery staple but check out Angel's Fruit Market across the street for the freshest produce and a wide variety of Mexican sodas. Rincon Musical provides low-price instruments and no Bushwick home is complete without at least one glass candle-holder depicting a Catholic saint from Botanica Santeria and Magic.


On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Caroline Shadood
Photo:  Caroline Shadood

Linden-Bushwick Community Garden
For those of us who don't live adjacent to Prospect Park (or some other expansive expensive real estate), community gardens provide the urban oasis that we pavement-stomping nature-craving Brooklynites are missing. Nothing truly fills this void like stepping foot into the Linden-Bushwick Community Garden (on the Bushwick/Bed Stuy border), a nature sanctuary that was reclaimed in recent years and is now in full swing cultivation mode. Wander through a trail muddled by greens and parked bicycles to what insiders call the Secret Garden, where one can find everything from jalapenos to mustard to strawberries, all grown by local volunteer farmers. Inhale the sweet smell of woodchips and fresh compost (if you're into that) and the clamor of Broadway traffic is all but muted. With many of its treasures being sold at the Bushwick Farmers Market, this community garden is the portrait of welcoming: smile at the right people, and you may even get hooked up with some complimentary, pesticide-free, fresh 'n local produce.

Posted By:  Caroline Shadood
Photo:  Caroline Shadood

Wyckoff Starr
Wyckoff Starr is a small space with a lot of character. You enter to find a bulletin board to your left, smattered with paper: art listings, rooftop show flyers, man-with-a-van business cards, and everything in between. You then proceed forward to the counter to find top notch coffee, pastries, and a surprisingly extensive list of bagel toppings. Equipped with free Wi-Fi and a work-friendly music selection, this is a good place to plant yourself and churn out articles and emails. I stayed for 4 hours and drank unlimited coffee for $3 (+ a decent tip), then filled up on a hummus and cucumber loaded everything bagel for another 3 bucks. Tasty. Beware: Wyckoff Starr can only seat about 8 people (with laptops) comfortably--so get there early.

Posted By:  Sarah Enelow
Photo:  Sarah Enelow

Tortilleria Los Hermanos
It doesn't get better than eating a nice, warm tortilla right off the factory conveyor belt, and that's what you'll get at Tortillería Los Hermanos in Bushwick, just steps from the Jefferson stop on the L train. Though the menu is brief, the tacos and tortas really hit the spot, the chorizo and carnitas are brightly-spiced, and you can fill up for less than $5. With fresh slices of avocado, there's nothing tastier. Seating is limited and there may be a line during the lunch rush, but who cares, this one's a gem.

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

Northeast Kingdom
The word "outpost" definitely works for Northeast Kingdom. Located on the corner of Nowhere & Nothing in Bushwick, this English Gastropub/downstairs bar is clearly a godsend to residents. Locals proliferate while munching an eclectic menu of pheasant (pictured), rabbit, deer bangers (a.k.a. venison sausage), orecchiette, branzini, meatloaf burgers, and pork scrapple. Downstairs, a local jazz trio plays is a warm, fabulously designed downstairs space. Essentially, just another uber-cool restaurant in an unlikely neighborhood in the greatest city in the world. Rock on.

Posted By:  Jennifer Keeney Sendrow
Photo:  Courtesy Roomorama

St. Barbara's Roman Catholic Church
Look up anywhere in Bushwick and you’ll probably see the tall towers of St. Barbara’s, a little piece of Europe smack dab in a gritty part of Brooklyn. We may or may not have built this city on rock and roll, but St. Barb’s was definitely built on beer. Bushwick was once home to many a thriving brewery, but those days are long gone unfortunately. But back in the day it was beer megabucks that financed the church’s construction in 1910. Apparently named for the daughter of the largest contributor, it’s beautifully ornate inside and out, well worth a peek if you’re in the neighborhood.

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