Bushwick – Brooklyn, NY

Situated in northern Brooklyn, Bushwick distinguishes itself with a gritty aesthetic, trendy dining scene and young, artsy vibe. Bordering the southern edge of Queens, Bushwick lies southeast of Williamsburg and northeast of Bedford Stuyvesant. An increasingly diverse group of residents populates the neighborhood, including large numbers of young professionals and creative types. The proximity to trendy Williamsburg and midtown Manhattan attracts residents, as well as the area’s music scene, converted loft apartments and relatively affordable rents.

Schools in Bushwick

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Restaurants & Nightlife

With several restaurants near the top of Brooklyn’s must-try list, Bushwick has become a respected dining destination. Many of the best restaurants sit on the western edge of the neighborhood near the Morgan and Jefferson Street subway stations. Nightlife revolves around this area too; plenty of bars and lounges stay open to the wee hours, long enough to keep even the most die-hard night owls entertained. A true star of the Brooklyn dining scene, Roberta’s on Moore Street near Bogart Street bakes some of the best pizza in the city in a trendy, hipster-influenced setting. In keeping with the gritty aesthetic of the neighborhood, the nondescript exterior leads to a dining room of exposed duct work and communal tables. Though pizza proves the main draw (order the Famous Original with tomato, mozzarella, caciocavallo, oregano and chili), the pasta dishes and Wagyu steak do not disappoint. In the backyard, two converted shipping containers house Heritage Radio Network, a food-focused organization that airs programs such as Cutting the Curd, a weekly show about all things cheese. For a taste of the South, check out Tchoup Shop at Heavy Woods Bar on Wyckoff Avenue. This pop-up restaurant, open seven days a week, may share space with a bar, but it pumps out food that is head-and-shoulders above many traditional restaurants. Regulars love the chicken biscuit and duck liver boudin balls, both inspired by the Creole cuisine of New Orleans. If you find yourself paralyzed by all of the options, start with the gumbo, a classic dish cooked to perfection. A little later on in the evening, grab a few friends and head to Lone Wolf on Broadway near Dodworth Street. A bit farther south of the main nightlife action, Lone Wolf sits under the J, M and Z subway tracks and offers a dark but welcoming ambiance to a young crowd. Friendly bartenders offer value-priced drinks, and a stage near the back features live music from local bands.

History & Culture

The area now known as Bushwick remained farmland for centuries after the arrival of Dutch colonists in the 1600s. Not until the 1850s did developers begin to sell the land for homes, after which the population of the area more than doubled every 20 years. Throughout the latter half of the 19th century, more than one million Germans and Austrians settled in the area, leading some to christen it “Little Germany.” These settlers built breweries that helped propel the neighborhood to affluence well into the 1900s. By the 1970s, most of the breweries were gone, and changing economic conditions left the area in relative disrepair. Another development surge came in the early 2000s, when New Yorkers from all walks of life began to settle the area. The particular prominence of artists can be seen in the neighborhood’s numerous galleries, including The Living Gallery, which holds regular music and poetry events.

Transportation

Bushwick residents find the area quite walkable, though certain streets can feel desolate, especially after dark. Biking also proves popular, especially during the summer, and several major streets have bike lanes, including Central Avenue. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) subway system provides service to Bushwick with four train lines, all of which operate 24 hours a day. The L train runs from Manhattan and eastern Brooklyn, and the J, M and Z trains travel from Manhattan to Queens. Residents also have access to numerous bus routes, which can help fill in the gaps in train service. With all of these options, the journey to midtown Manhattan can take as little as 20 minutes, though crowded trains can sometimes increase that time significantly. Car owners do not face much competition for street parking, and those looking for a guaranteed spot can pay for space in one of several area parking garages. Drivers facing longer commutes can follow Broadway northwest to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway or southeast to the Jackie Robinson Parkway. For convenience and speed, hail a green city taxi, most often found near the eastern edge of the neighborhood, or, better yet, reserve an Uber.

Cost

The cost of living in Bushwick approaches the New York City average and rivals some of the most desirable Manhattan neighborhoods. Renters face average monthly rates of $2,600, though large groups of friends often share apartments to reduce their costs considerably. Rental rates also drop significantly as you move east. Given the neighborhood’s desirability and proximity to like neighborhoods in both Brooklyn and Manhattan, prices for groceries and other everyday items hover around the New York City average. A typical beer in the neighborhood costs about $6, and hiring a car service to midtown Manhattan sets you back around $20. Gas prices sit below the New York City average but 6 percent higher than the national average.

Shopping

Though better known for its dining and nightlife attractions, Bushwick has some shopping gems, especially near the eastern edge of the neighborhood. In general, smaller businesses have the upper hand against larger chains. For vintage gear at affordable prices, Bushwick residents turn to Urban Jungle on Knickerbocker Avenue near Thames Street. With a vast selection of both men’s and women’s clothing, Urban Jungle contains countless fashion treasures just waiting to be unearthed. Regulars note the large inventory of leather garments as well as footwear for every occasion. Down on Flushing Avenue, book and oddity seller Catland represents the eclectic nature of the neighborhood. Among its curiosities, shoppers find tarot cards, herbs and various offbeat items. The friendly employees are always willing to answer questions, even if Catland is your first foray into the metaphysical. Watch for information on their regular programming, including meditation classes. Residents seeking groceries and everyday items find various options in Bushwick, including chains, such as Associated, and specialty groceries, such as Mr. Kiwi’s. Food lovers in search of farm-fresh fare should head to the various locations of Bushwick Farmers Market, the largest of which operates at Maria Hernandez Park on Saturdays from May to November.

Parks

No single park dominates outdoor life in Bushwick, though several small green spaces offer a reprieve from city life. Bushwick Playground, in the far southwestern corner of the neighborhood, has an outdoor pool, basketball courts and a shaded seating area. Just south of the Jefferson Street subway station, Maria Hernandez Park maintains handball courts, fitness paths and playgrounds. Every spring, the park plays host to the Bushwick Open Studios Community Day, a community fair featuring local artists, musicians and performers of all kinds.
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