Kate Hooker is a lawyer and writer who fled the East Village for Brooklyn a few years ago in search of outdoor space.
Williamsburg may have been ground zero for the hipstrification of Brooklyn, but its skyrocketing rents have driven a lot of the demographic farther east to Bushwick, now a tourist destination in its own right. Explore this vibrant, artistic community, and you’ll see why Vogue named it one of the top 15 coolest neighborhoods in the world in 2014.
If you’re into street art...
...a stroll around Bushwick—particularly near the intersection of Troutman St. and St. Nicholas Ave.—is a must. There you will find a giant curated outdoor art gallery, known as the Bushwick Collective, which consists of bright, imaginative murals covering every wall and roll-up garage door in sight. A rotating cast of street artists regularly paints over old pieces with new art, so each trip to the area is different—but the awesome photo ops and artistic inspiration remain.
Shoppers interested in deals on vintage wear should explore Urban Jungle, a massive, well-organized thrift store with endless racks of $5 flannel shirts. For its take on a shopping mall, Bushwick converted an industrial building into SHOPS at the Loom, which now houses a skateboard shop, natural foods co-op, gift shop selling handmade items and an espresso bar with free Wi-Fi.
Your trip to Bushwick should definitely include a stop at Roberta’s, one of the most buzzed-about restaurants on the planet. The menu is always changing to incorporate fresh, seasonal ingredients, but you really can’t go wrong with any of the thin-crust pizzas, vegetable sides or charcuterie plates on offer. If you’re looking for a less-crowded and more low-key option, you can head to Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos (271 Starr St.,718.456.3422) for a plate of the best tacos in town. And if you want to complete the gourmet-junk-food trifecta, Fritzl’s Lunch Box serves up a truly exceptional cheeseburger.
Bars of Bushwick
Bushwick may be known for its semisecret warehouse and loft parties, but there are great bars all over the neighborhood, where you can enjoy a more traditional take on nightlife as well. Cozy and dimly lit, The Narrows is a must-try for people who appreciate craft cocktails and oyster specials. The Rookery, a friendly pub, serves craft beer and snacks at its giant horseshoe bar and outdoor patio with a fire pit. For a super casual beer joint, have a seat at Pine Box Rock Shop’s bar made of concert ticket stubs suspended in clear resin. The bar also hosts occasional vegan pop-up shops.