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The real Bushwick is a neighborhood in the northeastern part of the New York City borough of Brooklyn. It is bounded by East Williamsburg to the northwest, Bed-Stuy to the southwest, the Cemetery of the Evergreens and other cemeteries to the southeast, and Ridgewood, Queens to the northeast.[1] The neighborhood, formerly Brooklyn's 18th Ward, is now part of Brooklyn Community Board 4. The neighborhood is served by the NYPD's 83rd Precinct.[2].

Knickerbocker Avenue, a main shopping street south of Maria Hernandez Park



Bushwick's population in 2007 was 129,980, 38.9% of that population was foreign born.[3] Though an ethnic neighborhood, Bushwick's population is relatively homogeneous, scoring a 0.5 on the Furman Center's racial diversity index, making it the city's 35th most diverse neighborhood in 2007. The neighborhood's median household income was $31,531, making it the 45th highest earning neighborhood in the city. 32% of the population falls under the poverty line, making Bushwick the 7th most impoverished neighborhood in New York City. 40.3% of students in Bushwick read at grade level, making it the 49th most literate neighborhood in the city in 2007. 58.2% of students do math at grade level in Bushwick, 41st best in the city. Bushwick experienced 0.0252 violent crimes per person in 2007, in line with the city's overall rate of 0.0250 violent crimes per person.[3]


Bushwick's diverse housing stock includes six-family apartment buildings and two- and three-family converted townhouses.

Vacant land fills 4.1% of Bushwick, making it the 21st emptiest neighborhood in the city. The median age of the housing stock is 76 years. Over 91% of housing units are within 400 yards of a park, and over 97% of housing units are within 800 yards of a subway.

About one out of six rental units is subsidized, and greater than one out of three units is rent regulated. Median rent in 2007 was $795, the 40th highest median rent in the city. 4% of renters live in in severely overcrowded conditions.

In 2007, the neighborhood had a 18.7% home ownership rate, though roughly 1 out of 20 owners of a 1-4 unit building received a notice of foreclosure.[3]


Take the J-Train

Major subway stops include, Jefferson Street, DeKalb Avenue, Myrtle–Wyckoff Avenues and Halsey Street on the BMT Canarsie Line (L), Central Avenue on the BMT Myrtle Avenue Line (M), and Flushing Av, Myrtle Avenue, Koscuisko Street, Gates Avenue, and Halsey Street on the BMT Jamaica Line (J) and (Z). Bus lines serving Bushwick include the B15, B26, B38, B52, B54, and B60. The Myrtle Avenue/Wyckoff Avenue bus and subway hub was renovated into a state-of-the-art transportation center in 2007.


Bushwick Township[edit]

Four Villages[edit]

In 1638, the Dutch West India Company secured a deed from the local Lenape people for the Bushwick area, and Peter Stuyvesant, chartered the area in 1661, naming it "Boswijck," meaning "little town in the woods" or "Heavy Woods" in 17th century Dutch.[1][4] Its area included the modern day communities of Bushwick, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint. Bushwick was the last of the original six Dutch towns of Brooklyn to be established within New Netherland. The community was settled, though unchartered, on February 16, 1660, on a plot of land between the Bushwick and Newtown Creeks[1] by fourteen French and Huguenot settlers, a Dutch translator named Peter Jan De Witt[5], and Franciscus the Negro, one of the original eleven slaves brought to New Netherland who had worked his way to freedom.[6][7]. The group centered their settlement around a church located near today's Bushwick and Metropolitan Avenues. The major thoroughfare was Woodpoint Road, which allowed farmers to bring their goods to the town dock.[8] This original settlement came to be known as Het Dorp by the Dutch, and, later, Bushwick Green by the British. The English would take over the six towns three years later and unite the towns under Kings County in 1683.

At the turn of the 19th century, Bushwick consisted of four villages, Green Point, Bushwick Shore[9], later to be known as Williamsburg, Bushwick Green, and Bushwick Crossroads, at the spot today's Bushwick Avenue turns southeast at Flushing Avenue.[10].

Land annexation[edit]

Bushwick's first major expansion occurred after it annexed The New Lots of Bushwick, a hilly upland originally claimed by the Native Americans in the first treaties they signed with European colonists providing the settlers rights to the lowland on the water. After the second war between the natives and the settlers broke out, the natives fled, leaving the area to be divided among the six towns in Kings County. Bushwick had the prime location to absorb its new tract of land in a contiguous fashion. New Bushwick Lane (Evergreen Ave), a former Native American trail, was a key thoroughfare to access this new tract suitable mostly for potato and cabbage agriculture.[11] This area is bounded roughly by Flushing Avenue to the north, and Evergreen Cemetery to the south.

In the 1850s, the New Lots of Bushwick area began to develop. References to the town of Bowronville, a new neighborhood contained within the area south of Lafayette Avenue and Stanhope Street begin to appear dating to the 1850s.[12][13]

Bushwick Shore and Williamsburgh[edit]

The area known as Bushwick Shore was so called for about 140 years. Bushwick residents called Bushwick Shore "the Strand," another term for "beach."[14] Bushwick Creek, in the north, and Cripplebush, a region of thick, boggy shrubland extending from Wallabout Creek to Newtown Creek, in the south and east, cut Bushwick Shore from the other villages in Bushwick. Farmers and gardeners from the other Bushwick villages sent their goods to Bushwick Shore to be ferried to New York City for sale via a market at present day Grand St. Bushwick Shore's favorable location close to New York City led to the creation of several farming developments. Originally a 13-acre (53,000 m2) development within Bushwick Shore, Williamsburgh rapidly expanded during the first half of the nineteenth century and eventually seceded from Bushwick to form its own independent city.[15]

Early Industry[edit]

Bushwick Branch of LIRR still carries some freight

When Bushwick was founded, it was primarily an area for farming food and tobacco. As Brooklyn and New York City grew, factories that manufactured sugar, oil, and chemicals were built. The inventor Peter Cooper built a glue manufacturing plant, his first factory, in Bushwick. Immigrants from western Europe joined the original Dutch settlers. The Bushwick Chemical Works, at Metropolitan Avenue and Grand Street on the English Kills channel, was another early industry among the lime, plaster, and brick works, coal yards, and other factories which developed along English Kills, which was dredged and made an important commercial waterway.[16] In October, 1867, the American Institute awarded The Bushwick Chemical Works the first premium for commercial acids of greatest purity and strength.[17] The Bushwick Glass Company, later to be known as Brookfield Glass Company established itself in 1869, when a local brewer sold it to James Brookfield.[18] The Bushwick Glass Company made a variety of both bottles and jars. Around the same time, in 1868, the Long Island Rail Road built the Bushwick Branch from its hub in Jamaica via Maspeth to Bushwick Terminal at the intersection of Montrose and Bushwick avenues,[19] allowing easy movement of passengers, raw materials, and finished goods.

In the 1840s and 1850s, a majority of the immigrants were German, which became the dominant population. Bushwick established a considerable brewery industry, including "Brewer's Row": 14 breweries operating in a 14-block area by 1890.[20] Thus, Bushwick was dubbed the "beer capital of the Northeast." The last Bushwick brewery closed its doors in 1976. [21]

As late as 1883, Bushwick maintained open farming land east of Flushing Avenue.[22]. In fact, a synergy developed between the brewers and the farmers during this period, as the dairy farmers collected spent grain and hops for cow feed. The dairy farmers sold the milk, and other dairy products, to consumers in Brooklyn. Both industries supported blacksmiths, wheelwrights, and feed stores along Flushing Avenue.[23]

Streetcar Suburb[edit]

Brownstones and mansions on Bushwick Ave, near Suydam St.

The first elevated railway in Brooklyn, known as the Lexington Avenue Elevated, opened in 1885. Its eastern terminus was at the edge of Bushwick, at Gates Avenue and Broadway.[24] This line was extended southeastward into East New York shortly thereafter. By the end of 1889, the Broadway Elevated and the Myrtle Avenue Elevated were completed, enabling easier access to Downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan and the rapid residential development of Bushwick from farmland.

With the success of the brewing industry and the presence of the Els, another wave of European immigrants settled in the neighborhood. Also, parts of Bushwick became affluent. Brewery owners and doctors commissioned mansions along Bushwick and Irving avenues at the turn of the 20th century. New York mayor John Francis Hylan kept a townhouse on Bushwick Avenue during this period.[25] Bushwick homes were designed in the Italianate, Neo Greco, Romanesque Revival, and Queen Anne styles by well known architects. Bushwick was a center of culture with several Vaudeville era playhouses, including the Amphion Theatre, the nation's first theatre with electric lighting.[26] The wealth of the neighborhood peaked between World War I and World War II, even when events such as Prohibition and the Great Depression were taking place. After WWI, the German enclave was steadily replaced by a significant proportion of Italian Americans. By 1950, Bushwick was one of Brooklyn's largest Italian American neighborhoods, although some German Americans remained.[27]

St Barbara's Roman Catholic Church

1950s, 1960s, and 1970s: White flight and economic depression[edit]

Beginning in the mid 1950s and particularly in the 1960s, poor working class African American and Puerto Rican migrants began to move into Bushwick.[1] Small apartment buildings were built to accommodate the incoming residents. The change in demographics coincided with changes in the local economy. At the same time, locally rising energy costs, advances in transportation, and the invention of the steel can encouraged beer companies to move out of New York City. As the breweries closed, the neighborhood deteriorated along with much of Brooklyn and New York City. Discussions of urban renewal took place in the 1960s, but never materialized. In 1960, Bushwick was 70% white; by 1977 it was over 70% Black and Puerto Rican (Goodman 180). The U.S. Census records that it went from almost 90% white in 1960 to less than 40% in 1970.[2] A contributor to this drastic change was the Lindsay administration's policy of raising rent for welfare recipients, which encouraged Bushwick landlords to fill vacant units with such tenants, since they now brought higher rents than ordinary tenants would pay on the open market. By the mid-seventies, half of Bushwick’s residents were on public assistance. [28] Another contributor to the drastic change was the practice of blockbusting which encouraged speculators to buy homes from Bushwick residents for an average of $8,000 apiece and then sell them to poor blacks and Puerto Ricans at the unaffordable average price of $20,000 per home, using fraudulent appraisals and a Great Society federal mortgage program that insured home loans to low-income buyers. Many defaulted, abandoning their homes and massively depressing local property values.

According to the New York Times, "In a five-year period in the late 1960's and early 70's, the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn was transformed from a neatly maintained community of wood houses into what often approached a no man's land of abandoned buildings, empty lots, drugs and arson."[3] One out of every 8 buildings was damaged or destroyed by fire every year from 1969 to 1977 (Goodman 122).

Blackout: Riots and Looting[edit]

On the night of July 13, 1977, a major blackout occurred in New York City. Arson, looting, and vandalism followed in low income neighborhoods across the city. Bushwick, however, saw some of the most devastating damages and losses. While local owners in the predominantly Puerto Rican Knickerbocker Avenue and Graham Avenue shopping districts were able to defend their stores with force, suburban owners with stores on the Broadway shopping district saw their shops looted and burned. Twenty-seven stores, some of which were of mixed use, along Broadway had burned (Goodman 104). Looters (and residents who bought from looters) saw the blackout as an opportunity to get what they otherwise could not afford. Fires spread to many residential buildings as well. After the riots were over and the fires were put out, residents saw "some streets that looked like Brooklyn Heights, and others that looked like Dresden in 1945" (Goodman 181): unsafe dwellings and empty lots among surviving buildings. Broadway business space had a 43% vacancy rate in the wake of the riots.[29]

Late 20th century: Blight and Poverty[edit]

Bushwick was left with a lack of both retail stores and housing. After the blackout, residents who could afford to leave abandoned the area. But new immigrants were coming into the area during the late 1960s and early 1970s, many of whom were from Puerto Rico, and more recently the Dominican Republic. However, apartment renovation and new construction did not keep pace with the demolition of unsafe buildings, forcing overcrowded conditions at first. As buildings came down, the vacant lots made parts of the neighborhood look and feel desolate, and more residents left. The neighborhood was a hotbed of poverty and crime through the 1980s. During this period, the Knickerbocker Ave shopping district was nicknamed "The Well" for its seemingly unending supply of drugs.[30] In the 1990s, it remained a poor and relatively dangerous area, with 77 murders, 80 rapes, and 2,242 robberies in 1990.[31]

Land use[edit]

The total land area is two square miles.[citation needed]

Parks and public land[edit]

Bushwick Pool & Park is a 1.29-acre (5,200 m2) park located on Flushing and Bushwick avenues. The park which is administered by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation has a free public pool (a large pool as well as a children's pool is available), basketball courts, a handball court and a children's playground. According to the NYC Parks Department Website the park was originally owned by the NYC Housing Authority from 1956 until 1983 when it was transferred to the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation

Bushwick Playground is a 2-acre (8,100 m2) park under the jurisdiction of NYC Department of Parks and is located at Knickerbocker Avenue and Putnam Avenue. Bushwick Playground park features basketball courts, sitting areas and a children's playground.

Bushwick Green Park, also known as "Green Central Noll Park" is a 2.5-acre (10,000 m2) park located on Flushing Avenue and Central Avenue. According to the Parks department website, the park is located on the former site of the Rheingold beer brewery. New York City took ownership of the property after the beer company closed due to failure to pay taxes but it was not given to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation until 1997. The park includes a baseball field, sitting areas and a children's playground.

Ridgewood Bushwick Youth Center is a youth activity center administered by the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation located between Gates Avenue and Palmetto Street and run by the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council (RBSCC).

Memorial Gore Park is a granite monument located in a small .066-acre (270 m2) park at the intersection where Bushwick Avenue, Metropolitan Avenue and Maspeth Avenue meet in the Bushwick / Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. It is dedicated to the Bushwick residents who fought and died in the world wars. The monument is owned and cared for by the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation.

Hope Gardens Multi Service Center is a building located on Wilson and Linden, it serves as an elderly bingo game building, an after school program for children from kindergarten to fifth grade, a karate class host, and a summer day camp for the neighborhood children.

Public housing[edit]

Three New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments are located in Bushwick.[32] They are mainly occupied by low-income families:

  • Bushwick II CDA (Group E); five three-story buildings.
  • Hope Gardens; seven four- and one fourteen-story buildings.
  • Palmetto Gardens; one six-story building.

Educational facilities[edit]

Bushwick has a robust educational infrastructure of thirty-three public and private, primary and secondary schools.[33] This includes 14 public elementary schools, one charter school, four parochial schools, seven high schools, and one secondary school.

Public School 123, Irving Avenue
Elementary schools[edit]
  • Achievement First Bushwick Charter School
  • PS 45 Horace E Greene School
  • PS 75 Mayda Cortiella School
  • PS 86 Irvington School
  • PS 106 Edward Everett Hale
  • PS 116 Elizabeth L Farrell School
  • PS 120 Carlos Tapia School
  • PS 123 Suydam School
  • PS 145 Andrew Jackson School
  • PS 151 Lyndon B Johnson School
  • PS 274 Kosciusko School
  • PS 299 Thomas Warren Field School
  • PS 376 Felisa Rincon De Gautier
  • PS 377 Alejandina Benitez De Gautier
  • PS 384 Frances E Carter School
  • Saint Brigid School
  • Saint Elizabeth Seton School
  • Saint Frances Cabrini School
  • Saint Mark's Lutheran School
Middle schools[edit]
  • IS 291 Roland Hayes
  • IS 347 School of Humanities
  • IS 349 School for Math, Science and Tech
  • JHS 111 Enrico Fermi, Starr Street
  • JHS 162 Willoughby
  • JHS 296 The Halsey
  • JHS 383 Philippa Schuyler Junior High School
  • IS 296 The Halsey
High schools[edit]
Combined middle and high schools[edit]
  • All City Leadership Secondary School

Historic Locales[edit]

Bushwick Avenue Mansion

Wyckoff Heights Hospital

Senior Centers[edit]

Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Center: 319 Stanhope Street (and Wyckoff Avenue)

Hope Gardens Senior Center: Linden Street (and Wilson Avenue)

Diana Jones Senior Center

Roundtable Senior Center

Plaza de los Ancianos

Notable residents[edit]

Notable current and former residents of Bushwick include:

Current Representatives[edit]

   * City Council: Diana Reyna (34) & Erik Martin Dilan (37)
   * State Senate: Martin Malave Dilan (17)
   * State Assembly: Vito Lopez (53) & Darryl Towns (54)
   * U.S. Representative: Edolphus Towns (10) & Nydia Velasquez (12) 

All of Bushwick's representatives are Democrats.






  1. ^ a b c Kenneth T. Jackson: The Encyclopedia of New York City: The New York Historical Society; Yale University Press; 1995. P. 171.
  2. ^ 83rd Precinct, NYPD.
  3. ^ a b c "State of the City's Housing & Neighborhoods 2008: Bushwick" (PDF). Furman Center for Real Estate & Urban Policy. 2008. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ History of Bushwick, accessed November 19, 2006
  6. ^ The Rise of Slavery: New York had the most slaves in the North, and Long Island had almost half of them, Newsday, accessed November 19, 2006
  7. ^ A Black History of Jamaica, New York, accessed November 19, 2006
  8. ^
  9. ^ Greenpoint History, accessed November 19, 2006
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ Walking Tours: Bushwick, accessed December 24, 2006
  21. ^ The Bushwick Pilsners: A Look at Hoppier Days by Ben Jankowski Republished from BrewingTechniques' January/February 1994.
  22. ^ NYBROOKLYNL Archives: March 2000, accessed December 24, 2006
  23. ^ New York Food Museum: Beer, accessed December 24, 2006
  24. ^
  25. ^ Dr. Cook's Mansion and Other Bushwick Mansions, accessed December 24, 2006
  26. ^ The Bushwick Renaissance Initiative, accessed December 24, 2006
  27. ^
  28. ^ The Death and Life of Bushwick
  29. ^
  30. ^ NEIGHBORHOOD REPORT: BUSHWICK UPDATE; Rough Sailing in Wake of Drug Crackdown
  31. ^ 83rd Precinct CompStat Report
  32. ^ NYCHA locations in Bushwick
  33. ^ NYC Department of City Planning CB4 Profile
  34. ^ Staff. "Kid's Talk", News & Record (Greensboro), September 19, 1995. Accessed June 8, 2009.
  35. ^ Arispe, Rudy. "New World Man", San Antonio Express-News, June 30, 2005. Accessed June 8, 2009. "I'm from Bushwick (an area of Brooklyn)..."
  36. ^ Lovece, Frank. [ id=JtAEAAAAIBAJ&sjid=SzoDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6872,5299502 "'Beverly Hills Cop 3 - Eddie Murphy Is Back"], Calhoun Times, June 1, 1994. Accessed June 8, 2009.
  37. ^
  38. ^ Holub, Annie. "Travel Record: A trip through Asia and into the Middle East colored Firewater's music", Tucson Weekly, June 5, 2008. Accessed June 8, 2009.
  39. ^ Staff. "CITY'S HUB PLACED IN BUSHWICK YARD; Regional Plan Group Finds Geographic Center Is Far From Population Center", The New York Times, March 26, 1937. Accessed June 8, 2009. "Its best known resident in recent years was former Mayor John F. Hylan, who lived on Bushwick Avenue."


  • Goodman, James, Blackout. North Point Press. New York, NY 2003 ISBN 0865476586
  • Jackson, Kenneth T. and John B. Manbeck, The Neighborhoods of Brooklyn, 2nd ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004, 4448. ISBN 0300103107