Bushwick is a popular haven for artists, hipsters and New Yorkers who enjoy good grub.
This industrial neighborhood is often characterized as gritty and ultra-urban. But for some, that’s the draw.
“Bushwick is not pristine. It can be dirty, grimy and industrial. Which is part of why I like it,” said artist and designer Erin Sweeney, 38, who moved to the neighborhood in 2013 and got studio space here last year. “I was drawn to the area: Latino culture meets industrial-vibe in a neighborhood with chill bars, good restaurants and a growing gallery scene.”
“There are those moments when I’m walking down the street and [I] am stopped in my tracks by a new mural or wall piece,” Sweeney said.
Even eateries here have art adorning their walls, such as Forrest Point on Flushing Avenue, which is decorated inside with murals.
Faro, which opened on Jefferson Street last year, differentiated itself by not hanging paintings, although local artisans made everything from its tables to its light bulbs.
“We like to say, ‘the art is on the table.’ It helps us stand out from all the rest of the places that have some sort of tiny gallery space in their [restaurant] space,” explained chef and owner Kevin Adey, who lives in Bushwick.
The graffiti in the neighborhood is renowned, thanks in part to the Bushwick Collective, which since 2012 has been connecting artists with business owners willing to lend their wall space.
But some locals say they miss the old neighborhood, before it was so popular.
“My favorite things about Bushwick no longer exist,” lamented a lifelong resident and street artist who goes by AC2. He has been doing graffiti since the ’80s and was an original artist with the Bushwick Collective.
“I miss seeing the elderly sitting outside in the front playing dominoes, listening to music, watching the kids playing outside in the water pump, playing Skelly, double Dutch, kick the can,” AC2 said. “Now we got Starbucks in our neighborhood and the rent is insane. It’s out of control.”
Still, the area is attractive to those with limited budgets.
“People are moving here for more affordable options from either Williamsburg or Manhattan,” Citi Habitats rental agent Jacob Henderson said.
According to data from the real estate listings site StreetEasy, the median rental price in Bushwick in 2015 was $2,565, compared to $3,150 in Williamsburg and $3,112 in Manhattan.
On the sales side, Citi Habitats agent Daniel Rash said people head to Bushwick for the square footage.
“We’re also seeing a trend in multi-family [sales] options now. So for just over $1 million, you can get a completely renovated, sprawling five-plus bedroom [and] 3,000 square feet,” he said. “When you compare that with Williamsburg, it’s a no-brainer.”
Bushwick is bordered to the north by Cypress Avenue and to the south by Broadway and Manhattan Avenue, according to StreetEasy. It is bound to the west by Johnson Avenue and to the east by Jackie Robinson Parkway.
436 Jefferson St.
This Michelin Bib Gourmand-listed restaurant features chef Kevin Adey, of Bushwick's former famed restaurant Northeast Kingdom. He uses an on-site flour mill, a brick oven and farm-to-table ingredients to serve tasty meals. Tip: Get the salt-baked golden beet. Farobk.com
1084 Flushing Ave.
Vegan Ethiopian -- and it's good, too. Go with a group so you can try all nine dishes, served on a beautiful platter with injera, a sourdough flatbread made of teff and barley flour. Follow it up with a cup of fresh-roasted bunna (coffee). Traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremonies are also performed here. Bunnaethiopia.net
Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos
271 Starr St.
A small cantina inside a large tortilla factory, you can enjoy fresh tortillas with fillings like chorizo and carnitas as you watch workers on the other side of the Plexiglas baking and packaging their product. 718-456-3422(Credit: Linda Rosier)
This hipster-approved venue arrived in 2014 and features art and live music shows. Upcoming acts include Blackbird Blackbird and Chad Valley on March 28 and Tacocat on April 13. Palisadesbk.com
41 Wilson Ave.
From the owners of nearby Dear Bushwick, this new "cocktail laboratory" features classic cocktails on tap, allowing for cheaper prices ($8). Try the gin and tonic (Empirical Formula) with tonic water made in house, or a $4 cocktail shot like the Catalyst, mixed with mezcal, Meletti and cinnamon. Yourssincerely.co
1215 Myrtle Ave.
Bandmates and owners Holly MacGibbon and Andy Simmons drew inspiration from the 1970s for this dive bar that offers cheap drinks, pinball machines and vintage cigarette and beer ads. Facebook.com/birdysbushwick(Credit: Linda Rosier)
Soho Art Materials
36 Gardner Ave.
The second location of the Manhattan favorite, this professional art supply store carries everything from canvases to brushes and spray paint. Sohoartmaterials.com
Shops at the Loom
1087 Flushing Ave.
This basement mini-mall of sorts is home to 20 shops and galleries, including the Bushwick Food Coop, Kave Espresso Bar and North Brooklyn Cycles. There's also the Loom Yoga Center, which has aerial yoga, and the Brooklyn Creative Studio, which offers classes in sewing, cake pops and more. Shopsattheloom.com
Scumbags and Superstars
16 Wilson Ave.
Artist George Rosa opened this shop in 2014 with partners Nelson Alfonzo and Srijan Sherpa, selling street-wear they design, collectible figurines and toys and pieces by other artists. Scumbagsandsuperstars.com(Credit: Linda Rosier)
40 Bogart St.
Catch a movie for just $3 a pop at this brand new theater/restaurant while you snack on some popcorn-crusted fried oysters and sip a Redrum cocktail -- Blackwell Rum, Brugal Anejo, Cynar, Aperol, lemon, simple syrup and bitters. This week, catch Oscar-nominated flicks such as "Spotlight" and "Amy." Syndicatedbk.com
56 Bogart St.
This building is home to dozens of artist studio lofts and 18 galleries, including Life on Mars and Theodore:Art. Come on the weekend when many are open to the public. 56bogartstreet.com
The Bushwick Collective
Troutman Street and St. Nicholas Avenue
Bushwick native Joe Ficalora made this outdoor street gallery possible when he lent the wall and roof space of his family's steel business to graffiti artists in 2012. Now the building, and others around it, are street canvases for artists from around the world, attracting art tour groups. Facebook.com/thebushwickcollective(Credit: Linda Rosier)
L at Morgan Avenue, Jefferson Avenue, Dekalb Avenue, Myrtle-Wyckoff, Halsey Street, Wilson Avenue, Bushwick-Aberdeen and Broadway Junction
J at Myrtle Avenue, Kosciuszko Street, Gates Avenue, Halsey Street, Chauncey Street, Broadway Junction
Z at Myrtle Avenue, Gates Avenue, Broadway Junction
M at Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues, Knickerbocker Avenue, Central Avenue, Myrtle Avenue
B20, B24, B38, B47, B52, B54, B57, B60
Bushwick is covered by the 83rd Precinct at 480 Knickerbocker Ave. In the week of Feb. 8-14, the precinct reported one rape, two robberies and seven burglaries in its CompStat report. The precinct has logged two rapes and no murders so far in 2016 as of Feb. 14.
Celebs who have lived in Bushwick:
Eddie and Charlie Murphy
Jeannie Ortega(Credit: Linda Rosier)
Bushwick community members are pushing for affordable housing to be included in a residential development going up on two empty lots that once housed the former Rheingold Brewery at Bushwick Avenue and Montieth Street.
Residents spent a year negotiating with the site's former owner, Read Property Group, to secure 30% affordable housing, only to see the 6.4-acre site sold off in two parcels -- the first to Rabsky Group in fall 2014, and the rest to All Year Management in fall 2015.
Ten percent of the affordable housing will be controlled by two non-profit groups, Churches United for Fair Housing and Los Sures, on donated land, but the two new developers are not obligated to include any more in their plans.
"The city's [law] as it stands now does not include mechanisms to ensure communities receive what was committed to [or] promised," said Brigette Blood, a member of the Rheingold Construction Committee (RCC), a coalition of civic groups.
Both developers have verbally assured the community that they will make good on affordable housing for the project, which recently started construction, but haven't revealed specifics.
"All Year has made it clear that they will abide by the affordability terms agreed to by the previous owner in 2013 during the rezoning of the Rheingold Brewery Site," said Jonathan Greenspun, a spokesman for All Year.
Representatives from All Year also recently went to a Community Board 4 meeting to discuss construction issues such as noise complaints.
Rabsky Group, however, has been less communicative.
Members of RCC said they have yet to speak with the developer, and a representative from the local councilman's office said no words have been exchanged in months.
"Regarding Rabsky, it's less clear because we haven't had a one-on-one meeting in about six months," noted Kevin Worthington, a representative from the local Councilman Anthony Reynoso's office. "Through [Rabsky owner Simon Dushinksy's] lawyer we're getting confirmation that he has every intention to build affordable housing, but unfortunately we don't have that direct line of contact."
The Rabsky Group could not be reached for comment.(Credit: Linda Rosier)
Q&A with Adam Leonti, chef at Brooklyn Bread Lab
Adam Leonti, 31, is the executive chef of the forthcoming Williamsburg Hotel, opening this spring at Wythe Avenue and North 10th Street. In the meantime, he opened the Brooklyn Bread Lab in a warehouse at 201 Moore St., where he mills fresh grain on its 3.5-ton granite mill to use in the handmade breads, pastries and pasta that he sells Wednesday to Friday.
Why did you open the Bread Lab in a low-traffic part of Bushwick?
Because if we were in an obvious place, like on the corner of North 10th and Bedford, it would be great, but the fact that you have to travel here and walk to where there's not a whole lot else going on necessarily on this particular part of the street, it kind of draws your attention to us. It becomes a destination. Now, it has impact. The location is distinct.
What do you love about this neighborhood?
I like how it's got this big industrial presence that's still vibrant. I work across from a pretzel factory that does 20,000 pretzels an hour, a wonton factory next to it. And then you've got this destination pizzeria [Roberta's] that brings Manhattanites over and does tremendous business, and Fine & Raw chocolates is right here [on Seigel Street] too. And then you have these empty spaces where something like [the Bread Lab] can show up. You have what's more like a traditional, ongoing neighborhood that has generations of people, you have the artist perspective and then you have the industry, all working.
Is there anything you don't like?
Yeah, it's dirty! There's a lot of trash on the ground.
What do you hope the Bread Lab provides to the community?
Well, we just got introduced to the charter school and another school here and they want to start bringing in their kids for tours, and I'm trying to figure out how we can donate bread to one school. ... And then we have bread-, pasta- and pizza-making classes that bring people from all over here.(Credit: Devorah Lev-Tov)
2015 Bushwick market data
Median sales price: $579,000
Number of units on market: 201
Median rental price: $2,565
Number of rentals on market: 6,036
(StreetEasy)(Credit: Linda Rosier)