The Beauty of Bushwick
My Instagram account is now a street art appreciation account. This blog is now a street art appreciation blog.
With spring sloooowly inching the mercury higher, I’ve been making little efforts to get out of bed and get out more. The smallest of these efforts being strolling trips out and about in my neighborhood. I could tell you why I’ve been having a hard time getting out of bed, but the short answer is depression, and this is not a depression blog (not TODAY anyway), this is a street art appreciation blog.
And with that, I take you to
BUSHWICK! BUSHWICK! We’re in BUSHWICK!!!
Trendy, trendy Bushwick. The weird thing about Bushwick is how residential and sparse it is! Having not spent a whole lot of time in Bushwick before, I didn’t have much experience beyond a few miserable visits to the House of Yes *shudder.* But after a day spent meandering through North Bushwick (or “NoBu,” for the uninitiated — WIIINK), I left with a whole new appreciation and dare I say, love for Bushwick.
Yes, love! You said it, Unicorn! The first thing I really noticed about (North) Bushwick is that the main streets are full of small businesses. Yes, much of this is gentrification. The word “Bushwick” is, today, synonymous with “hipsters.” And it’s true, there is a heavy concentration of industrial spaces-cum-artists’ lofts at the top-most edge. Bushwick is shaped like a diamond (kind of?) starting at the intersection of Cypress and Flushing Aves, down Flushing to Broadway (no, not that Broadway!), to Highland Park and all its cemeteries, then following a jagged border of Irving Ave, Wyckoff Ave, St. Nicolas and the aforementioned Cypress Aves back up. WHEW! And an M train runs through it! There are actually many subway stops inside of Bushwick, and yet, it has more than a few streets of suburban, single-family dwellings. Bushwick is… a little perplexing.
There are many ways to be a city. As a child, I had a narrow and Manhattan-centric idea of what I wanted out of life: I wanted Sesame Street, Really Rosie and the Nutshell Kids, and finally, West Side Story and Rent. Bushwick is nothing like any of those. Large industrial spaces peppered with small, bright houses. It’s like closest to Sesame Street in only one respect: Bushwick is full of colorful, whimsical art that belies a more profound message.
Take, for example, Sara Erenthal — whose work I have found in four separate locations within walking distance from my apartment, 3 within the neighborhood of Bushwick. Her work has struck a chord with me because she typically draws (check this out on her website) busts and faces of women with their (her?) inner thoughts written across their chests. At least, that’s what I surmise from seeing her work and basically perusing all of her Instagram archives. I see a lot of my own sentiments and struggles in the work she’s created, and seeing them all around is like seeing a friendly face — running into a neighbor out on the street.
Treating Bushwick the way I treat it — like an urban parkscape with hidden “Easter Eggs” of art around unsuspecting corners — turns it into a puzzle just footsteps from my front door. To be sure you’ve seen the best of everything is a challenge, one that requires you to turn your face to the wind, dodge the rambunctious children in Maria Hernandez Park, and you just might be rewarded by stumbling upon that cheap quirky thrift store that sells their vintage wares by the pound. Or, the tortilla factory that serves simple and fresh tacos, tacquitos, quesadillas and tostadas on tortillas made in-house. Bushwick may be trendy and hip, but it doesn’t have to be exclusive. And taking in the local art? That’s always free.