In 1638, the Dutch West India Company secured a large land deed from the local Lenape people. Later, in 1661, Peter Stuyvesant charted the area that would have contained the modern-day communities of Bushwick, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint as Boswijck, meaning “little town in the wood” in 17th-century Dutch.
Following the war, a changing economy and influx of migrants began to reshape Bushwick’s cultural fabric. The neighborhood was particularly devastated during the New York City blackout of 1977 when fires, looting, and vandalism destroyed many businesses in the city’s commercial hub along Broadway. It wouldn’t be until the mid-2000s that resources began flowing into Bushwick in the forms of housing and quality-of-life programs designed to lift the neighborhood from the poverty and crime that had become rampant.
Today, Bushwick has not only become home to a thriving artist community with dozens of studios and galleries dotting its landscape, but was also recognized by Vogue as one of the world's coolest neighborhoods. Many New Yorkers will also testify that this neighborhood, the little sister of hip neighbor Williamsburg, boasts the best Latin food in all of New York City. Many, however, will agree that Bushwick boasts convenience other neighborhoods only dream of with 91% of houses within a quarter mile of a park and over 97% within half a mile of a subway.
Bushwick is serviced by the J, L, M, and Z trains on three primary lines running through the neighborhood (BMT Jamaica Line, MBT Myrtle Avenue Line, and BMT Canarsie Line). Bushwick also offers a state-of-the-art transportation center at the Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenue Station for both subway and bus access.
Given the ragtag history of the ‘nabe, it’s no surprise that Bushwick dive bars are plentiful. These single-room affairs provide the perfect location for those looking for a night with a heavy pour on fun but without the heavy pretense and $14 cocktail crowd (sorry Manhattan). And, to be honest, you could probably still find a $14 drink.
Alongside delicious restaurants, corner bars and art galleries, small boutiques and shops present more than what first meets the eye. Shopkeepers from all trades have carved out their nooks in this Brooklyn nabe, and there’s a store for just about everyone. From classic comic book shops to trendy vintage stores, the variety of places you can explore in Bushwick is astounding. After you’re done hitting the shops, green parks and playgrounds throughout this neighborhood present the perfect place to lie down and relax under the Brooklyn sun.
While Bushwick’s art scene is not new, it is turning a definitive corner. You won’t see packs of high-end art buyers crossing the East River to wander these galleries, but intrepid collectors from Manhattan are absolutely making the journey. Of course, there are some pretty amazing artist-run boutique shops as well.
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