Updated: Jul 22, 2021
With its proximity to Manhattan, art scene, and wide selection of nightlife and dining, Bushwick is easily one of the most popular up-and-coming neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The transformation seen in the neighborhood over the last 10-15 years has achieved international recognition, with people from all over the world flocking to Bushwick to live, paint, and play.
The Neighborhood's Evolution
For a two-square-mile neighborhood, Bushwick’s past has been dynamic, with the neighborhood seeing many phases of development. Starting in the ’60s, for instance, the then-blue collar, family-centered neighborhood faced social unrest and economic challenges that took a toll on the community over the next five decades. Even by the 1990s, Bushwick was still deprived of the fresh development seen in other areas of Manhattan and Brooklyn.
This all changed, however, by the early 2000s. Climbing Manhattan real estate prices pushed artists and young professionals into converted warehouse lofts and townhouses in Bushwick. An initiative taken on by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development soon followed—and it proved to be very successful. Crime was quickly reduced and buildings were built and converted throughout the neighborhood’s central areas.
The Bushwick Collective
Bushwick as it is known today would not be possible without the efforts of Joseph Ficalora, an artist born and raised in the neighborhood who is credited with curating its overall aesthetic and reputation. Motivated by the sudden loss of his father and a desire to uplift and revitalize this hometown, Ficalora set out in 2013 to transform the streets and buildings of Bushwick into an outdoor canvas, eventually organizing The Bushwick Collective.
Ficalora welcomed artists from around the world to add murals to the streets, particularly at the intersection of Troutman Street and St. Nicholas Avenue. Today, the collective is still going strong and welcoming artists from around the world for commissioned street-art projects. The result is a dynamic outdoor gallery with as many as 50 murals at any given time. Visitors and locals can often be seen strolling the streets and taking pictures of the jaw-dropping art.
Dining, Nightlife, and More
From rooftop music venues and authentic Latin restaurants to vintage and thrift stores, there is no shortage of things to do and explore in Bushwick.
To shop for a wide selection of unique finds, explore the neighborhood’s selection of thrift and vintage stores, such as L Train Vintage and Reuse America--both of which offer shoppers an array of curated fashion and furniture pieces from decades past.
Bushwick also has a vibrant Latin community, which is reflected in its cuisine. Arepera Guacuco, for instance, specializes in arepas, Venezuelan corn patties that are filled with an array of delectable ingredients. Also a must-try is Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos. Built as a tortilla factory, the restaurant now serves the freshest tacos and burritos with the original, still-active factory as a backdrop.
For the best pizza in town, locals and visitors alike will recommend Roberta’s, which offers Neapolitan-style, coal-fired pizzas with unique flavors (be sure to try the Bee Sting for a sweet and savory treat that is truly unforgettable).
Many do not realize that Bushwick was once a thriving center for breweries, and there are still a few around today, including the Kings County Brewers Collective, which has over a dozen brews on tap at any given time.
To enjoy a night of cocktails in a casual setting, make your way to Syndicated or Mad Tropical. For an unforgettable experience that continues into the early hours, head to House of Yes on Wycoff Avenue. Known for its Studio 54-esque parties that include aerialist performances along with other live acts, the funky venue embodies the eclectic spirit of Bushwick.