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Just 15 years ago, Bushwick was no man’s land. But what was once a crime-ridden, desolate neighbourhood is now a creative haven in the urban jungle. This gritty little enclave in Brooklyn is home to one of New York’s most vibrant burgeoning artistic communities.
A Perfect Day in Bushwick, Brooklyn
Stroll the industrial warehouse-lined streets and you’ll spot murals, buzzing coffee shops, hip foodie destinations and plenty of well-dressed 20-somethings. Peruse curated vintage stores such as Fox and Fawn, Worship and Friends Vintage; their unique, moderately priced clothing puts overcrowded vintage stores to shame. Stop by one of Bushwick’s many new galleries, such as Clearing or The Interstate Project, to see what’s happening at the vanguard of the art scene.
No visit to Brooklyn is complete without eating at Roberta’s, whose pizza single-handedly put Bushwick on the foodie map. You can’t go wrong with any one of their sizzling thin-crust pies, but be sure not to neglect the excellent seasonal farm-to-table options that pepper the rest of the menu. Though you’ll inevitably have to wait for a table, you won’t mind doing so in their relaxed backyard, which doubles as a local watering hole and urban garden.
Though the last thing you’d expect in Bushwick is a taste of the bucolic, get acquainted with New England pastures at Northeast Kingdom, a restaurant with some of the freshest ingredients this side of the L train. The Vermont-inspired fare here is heavy on meat, cheese and whatever the harvest has decided to bring. For a surefire bet, order the grass-fed burger.
If you’re looking to try something more exotic, don’t miss the fantastic Ethiopian food at Bunna Cafe. While the authentic coffee (infused with cardamom and cloves) is to die for, the real star here is the classic Ethiopian feast, featuring injera, a delicious sourdough flat bread, and a smorgasbord of pungent vegetables and herbs.
A little-known fact about Bushwick is that it was once home to America’s greatest breweries. (From the 1950s to the 1970s, Bushwick produced 10 per cent of the country’s beer.) Today, Bushwick can be counted on to stay true to its roots. The Narrows, a dimly-lit and, ahem, narrow cocktail bar, is a classy neighbourhood staple featuring an art deco interior and a significantly more casual backyard. The Rookery doesn’t sacrifice classy for cosy; its high wood-beamed ceilings and spectacular horseshoe bar make for the perfect spot to kick off the night. Later, head to Pearl’s Social and Billy Club, a grungy joint decorated with bizarre odds and ends that serves up cheap beer and cocktails in Mason jars.
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