Known as much for its cuisine as its street art, Bushwick is one of Brooklyn’s most colorful and exciting neighborhoods. Offering everything from authentic tacos whipped up in the heart of a tortilla factory, to art splashed walls born from tragedy, here’s how to spend a day in Bushwick.
Where to eat in Bushwick
Pizza is as ubiquitous to the streets of NYC as rats are to the MTA subway. Roberta’s in Bushwick, is a wood-fired oven pizza joint which is known as being one of the best. The warm-lit restaurant features cafeteria-style seating with long, wooden tables that create a familial-style dining scene. The menu features classic Italian pizzas with organic toppings taken from the restaurant’s own backyard garden.
Tacos in New York are an omnipresent favorite, but how to find the best? Los Hermanos is a good start. Los Hermanos is a small, nondescript taqueria that lives within a functioning tortilla factory in Bushwick. Less of a restaurant and more of a fast food stand, the tacos are simple and devastatingly fresh – warm, soft tortillas topped with fresh cilantro, lime and your choice of chicken, pork or beef.
Syndicated Bar Theater Kitchen
Movie theaters in New York are constantly pushing the envelop of traditional movie-watching. Whether it’s cocktails and a movie, a theater with a gourmet menu, plush arm chairs or Bushwick’s Syndicated Bar Theater Kitchen that combines eating, drinking and films. Syndicated Bar Theater Kitchen is a gastropub that features an Art Deco bar and a full dinner menu, ultimately redefining the ‘dinner and a movie’ date night experience.
Gaby’s Bakery is the sort of blink-and-you’ll-miss-it storefront in NYC you’ll never walk into unless recommended. There is nothing eye-catching about Gaby’s, which looks like any other Latin-style bakery in the area, but step inside and you’ll find some truly delicious treats. Open now for over 18 years, Gaby’s serves fresh guava pastries, traditional Latin cakes and other desserts.
Where to grab a drink
Hops & Hocks
Unbeknown to many, Bushwick was once a beer-making epicenter, and the neighborhood is still home to many abandoned breweries left over from the era. Bushwick is now known for its German beer, and Hops & Hocks adds to this reputation, blending quality lager with savory charcuterie tastings.
Can’t miss: The Bushwick Collective
The Bushwick Collective
Found just off of Flushing Avenue, the Bushwick Collective is a street artist’s mecca. Blocks and blocks of colorful, paint-splashed walls have made this area a photographer’s dream. What many don’t know is that the street art was born from the family tragedy of Joseph Ficalora, a native of Bushwick who is the curator of the Bushwick Collective.
In 1991, Joseph’s father, Ignazio Ficalora, was killed on his way home from the family’s steel business. With just a few dollars in his wallet and a gold chain around his neck, Joseph’s father was robbed and murdered on the mean streets of Brooklyn. A few years later, in 2011, Joseph lost his mother who had been battling brain cancer for four years. As a healing experience from the deaths of both parents, Joseph began to transform the gritty, crime-ridden neighborhood of Bushwick into the colorful, outdoor gallery it is today.
As always, the best way to experience a new destination is with a local by your side. If headed to New York for the first time, Culture Trip recommends booking a photography tour with travel blogger and photographer, Jessie Festa, whose photo tours take travelers around New York to both discover local cuisine, learn some history and walk away with professional snapshots.