Ian, who is originally from Wisconsin [UPDATE: Ian is from Michigan. I always get Michigan and Wisconsin mixed up.], the but now has a home in Brooklyn, joined the RDNY.com Listings Dept yesterday (June 19, 2008). When I found out that he lives in Bushwick, I immediately asked him to tell me all about his neighborhood. Here is what he told me:
My neighborhood has a true Old New York feel, in a Pre-Giuliani, gritty, for adults only way that is getting much too rare in Brooklyn.
Bushwick is the kind of neighborhood that speaks to adventurers. It’s still cheap, it’s getting safer, there are reliable trains running through it. The fallout from the Williamsburg real estate explosion has effectively pushed many artists and musicians (you know, the real ones who can’t afford $3000-a-month loft on Kent Street) to the east of East Williamsburg. Many of us congregate at places like Goodbye Blue Monday, a music venue/internet cafe where you’ll see experimental live music acts every night, no cover.
There’s no Whole Foods yet, the trade-offs can be substantial. For example, my very big (we’re talking 1200+ square feet) floor-through three bedroom apartment includes a patio and rents for $1500, and you can bet that it was substantially cheaper for the previous tenant.
It is positively pleasant to come home to this quiet tree-lined street when you’ve just left the bustle of Manhattan and other places West. There are some gorgeous old buildings in Bushwick on certain blocks, from houses to brownstones to townhouses. And there are a few pocketed sections of the neighborhood that feel like Queens, which is fitting because we are near the border.
There are also sections that haven’t recovered yet from the ’77 riots during the famous blockout, during which much of the neighborhood burned.
Northwest Bushwick is where you’ll find the first locations to be populated by artists and musicians crawling (or sprawling?) away from the neighborhoods that got too expensive. The loft buildings on Northwestern Bushwick are probably converted factories and warehouses, relics of Bushwick’s receding industrial character. (BTW: Realtors who charge a commission are calling this part of Bushwick East Williamsburg so you’ll pay a bigger commission because the Realtors think East Williamsburg is higher class than Bushwick)
A noisy, arts-based community has sprung up around Northwest Bushwick, a collective that will surely produce artists, musicians, dancers, actors and activists who you’ll know about in 10 years. Or sooner.
If you decide like me to live in Bushwick, expect to meet people who are your long-lost spiritual twin plus people who are in your neighborhood only because they are priced out of Williamsburg. The latter will sincerely yet steadily contribute to the bittersweet suburbanization of Brooklyn, and the former will help you resist the trend.
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