A Visit to Bushwick: Where Art and Architecture Come Alive
Vibrant murals and graffiti, the cacophony of the elevated train, and the sound of experimental music from backroom clubs blend together in New York City’s newest arts and music center, Bushwick, Brooklyn. Once known as the Dutch village of Boswijck, or “neighborhood in the woods,” Bushwick is currently home to new generations, as well as to families who have lived there for decades.
Browsing along the local streets, we discovered galleries, bookshops, bodegas, and restaurants, as well as occasional community gardens. Lively street life by day is capped by a range of indie rock shows at night in Bushwick’s many performance spaces. Warehouses that once stored sugar, oil, and chemicals are now the backdrop for some of the best street art in the city.
Bushwick‘s population is primarily Puerto Rican and Dominican, with many African American residents and millennial newcomers. An international group of artists, musicians, techies, and creatives are drawn to Bushwick’s diversity, relatively affordable rents, and eclectic housing choices. However, the neighborhood’s appeal to many young people relocating from other parts of the city comes with an array of concerns about the effects of gentrification.
The neighborhood has a long history as a home for immigrants. Originally a farming area, Bushwick became a center of German immigration in the 1800’s. Major brewers such as Rheingold and Schaefer set up production there, and local dairy farmers benefited by using their spent grain and hops. Impressive houses along Bushwick Avenue reflect the prosperity of the brewery owners, while the rows of classical brownstones recall the brewery workers who once lived there. Adding a new twist to Bushwick’s history, the Kings County Brewers Collective opened there in 2016, offering craft beers such as Secret Smoke and Dangerous Precedent.
Visiting Bushwick on a wintery day, we found the perfect complement to our explorations: hand-painted mugs of Mexican hot chocolate topped with fresh whipped cream and torched marshmallows at New Yorktitlan on Gates Avenue. When it is safe to explore the city again after the coronavirus outbreak, we recommend this cozy café to all Bushwick visitors and residents; it’s a secret spot that deserves to be known as one of New York City’s best.