Bushwick is full of stories. That’s probably why so much writing comes out of here. Seriously, look around you. Everyone’s got their nose in a book, or in the process of writing one themselves! Here’s your guide to navigating the lit world in Bushwick, including everything about where to read, write and shop.
#1 Human Relations, 1067 Flushing Ave
This bookstore sells used books on the cheap. You can usually pick up a classic title for a few bucks.
#2 Mollasses Books, 770 Hart St
Cafe-slash-bookstore-slash-event-space, Mollasses will perk you up with some caffeine, and then give you a spot to delve into some stories.
#3 Vinyl Fantasy, 194 Knickerbocker Ave
This is actually a record store, but the carry limited print comics and zines.
#4 Catland, 987 Flushing Ave
For the witchy-feeling reader, get all of your occult books here. They have everything from Alleister Crowley to Robert Anton Wilson.
#1 Mellow Pages Library, 56 Bogart St
Mellow Pages is a private library with a yearly membership fee of $80. HOWEVER: the membership fee is really worth it. They carry limited print and indie-published books, and have readings almost every night.
#2 DeKalb Library, 790 Bushwick Ave
This library is nestled on Bushwick Ave in a beautiful historical building built in 1905. Its quiet atmosphere and towers of bookshelves are perfect for wandering.
#3 Brooklyn Public Library, 340 Bushwick Ave
Small, but centrally located and full of classics, the Brooklyn Public Library is a necessary staple for any reader.
Things to Read:
#1 Bushwick Nightz, By Bushwick Daily & Catopolis
Bushwick Daily collaborated with Catopolis to bring you a book of short stories about the hood. In this heartfelt and scandalous collection, you’ll explore life in Bushwick today.
Vanessa Martir was raised in Bushwick and is now an established writer. On her blog she writes memoirs, essays and articles on various topics such as feminism and heritage.
#3 A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,by Betty Smith
This classic includes early scenes from Bogart Street!
#4 A Tale of Two Cities: Disco Era Bushwick, by Meryl Meisler
Although it’s a photo book, it still includes passages from Bushwick residents about the neighborhood. The book beautifully compares photographs Meryl Meisler took of Bushwick and Studio 54 in the 70s and 80s.
Great Cafes for Writing and Reading:
#1 Kave, 1087 Flushing Ave
Kave is an especially chill zone, with the perfect lavender latte to sip on while you relax in one of their big comfy chairs.
#2 Jubilee Cafe & Party Lab, 1079 Broadway
Jubilee is a place on Broadway you can sit and read at for hours. It’s quiet and full of tasty things to munch on like Jamaican Jerk Chicken and Guinness Frappuccinos.
#3 Ange Noir, 247 Varet St
This little French-style cafe serves Espresso to keep you eyes open while you read, with pastries to boot.
Great Bars for Writing and Reading:
#1 The Bodega, 24 St. Nicholas Ave
As a wine and beer bar, The Bodega sets the perfect scene for sipping some red while dishing your thoughts.
#2 Heavy Woods, 50 Wyckoff Ave
Equipped with WiFi, alcohol AND coffee, this bar on Wyckoff is a writer’s heaven.
#3 Miles, 101 Wilson Ave
Miles sets the scene for writers with a vast whiskey selection and dim lighting.
People to Know:
#1 Prospero Vega
Prospero is Bushwick’s biggest storyteller. Seriously–he’s done every reading here and knows basically everyone. He also has two stories featured in Bushwick Nightz! Find him randomly at The Bodega Bar.
#2 Matt Nelson & Jacob Perkins
The co-owners of Mellow Pages are more than just library gurus. They put together readings, and have writing published on several blogs and zines. Find them at Mellow Pages Library.
#3 Nathaniel Kressen
Kressen’s publishing company, Second Skin Books has seen great success with its first title, Concrete Fever. He runs the Greenpoint Writers Group, as well as a recurring reading titled The Loaded Cannon. Find him at his writers group.
Groups and Meetups:
Still Waters in a Storm is a program for Bushwick youth that helps them compose stories through writing as well as the arts. Get involved in the community by using your skills to tutor kids.
This play-on-words club focuses on getting through, well, long hard books like Moby Dick and The Luminaries.
This club meets once a month so musicians can delve into a new book, and then write songs about them! Even if you’re not a musician, check out their performances and talks.