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Real EstateCity LivingBrooklyn

City Living: Young and creative types are building a friendly community in Bushwick

As rents continue to rise in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, young people and creative types have packed and moved further east along the L train in droves.

Their destination? Bushwick, where they have found cheaper living prices, a rich Hispanic culture, and plenty of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

The neighborhood began to take shape in the early 20th century as a booming population of German immigrants settled in Bushwick and opened warehouses in its western half.

Many of these warehouses were beer breweries, where Brooklynites of days past brewed German-style Pilsner, cementing the neighborhood as one of America's chief post-prohibition brewing centers.

As the 20th century progressed and the industries and factories that built up the neighborhood either went out of business or moved elsewhere, Bushwick became notorious for abandoned buildings and crime-ridden streets.

The neighborhood was among the hardest hit in New York during the crime waves of the 1970s and 80s. Locals said its revival and present-day status as an up-and-coming neighborhood and haven for artists may seem like nothing short of a miracle to the residents who lived through those days.

Today many of Bushwick's old warehouses have been converted into unique loft apartments that have become a signature feature of the neighborhood.

The McKibbin Street Lofts, for example, are located in two factory-turned-loft spaces across the street from each other at 255 and 248 McKibbin St.

Lofts have given rise to unconventional and unique living spaces that are a signature of Bushwick.

Ive definitely seen lofts where people have created their own living space," said Dave Beegun, a real estate agent with Citi Habitats who both lives and sells in the neighborhood.

As renters look further east in Bushwick they will find multi-family row homes and railroad-style apartments that rent for anywhere from $1,600 to $2,700 for a fully renovated one-bedroom, and $1,700 to $3,500 for a two-bedroom. Three-bedrooms tend to start at about $2,200, according to Beegun.

The heightened interest in the neighborhood in the last five years has resulted in a rising number of new restaurants, bars, and shops opening on the busy commercial corridor of Knickerbocker Avenue, and around subway stations like the Morgan, Jefferson, and DeKalb stops on the L train.

"Everything's been changing a little bit rapidly," said Jared Eggers, 34, a musician and native New Yorker who has lived in Bushwick for seven years. "I knew it was going to happen, I just didn't know it was going to happen this fast. There are more restaurants and bars, even each [train] stop has its own identity."

"It's very livable, theres plenty of things to do at night," said Eggers.

Many popular haunts in Bushwick, like Old Stanley's Bar at 226 Wyckoff Ave. and Pearl's Social and Billy Club at 40 St. Nicholas Ave. play host to a convivial social scene where everybody knows each other, and everybody loves their neighborhood.

"I really like Bushwick because now people are being friendly," said Amanda Vega, 21, who was born and raised in the neighborhood. "People would keep to themselves, it used to be dangerous, but now all that has disappeared."