July 11 was a perfect day for the annual photo walk organized by Meryl Meisler and her friends Bizarre Black Box Gallery, Bridging Bushwick Sculpture Garden, Professional Women Photographers and of course, Bushwick Daily.
Nearly 40 people assembled at Bizarre‘s Black Box Gallery at 12 Jefferson St in Bushwick at 11AM. They included a diverse mix featuring some of Bushwick residents as well as many photo enthusiasts who had never been to Bushwick but wanted to explore its many hidden treasures.
We began by passing the former, and now steeple-less, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, which is being currently converted into a high-end condo building and then visited Ulmer Brewery, a beautifully preserved neo-Romanesque gem, which has been landmarked in 2010.
All photographs featured in this article have been submitted by the photo walk participants.
The Ulmer Brewery (photo by @ospaghettibrain)
Our perusal of old German Bushwick continued when we viewed what had once been Astral Hall – the home of a renowned singing society that is now, alas, also a luxury condo. The importance of this institution was such that the street on which it is located–Astral Place –was named after it!
Moving into very current times, we crossed Broadway and paid a relaxing visit to The Living Gallery’s Bridging Bushwick Garden. Founded by the gallery’s extraordinary director Nyssa Frank, the garden hosts an assortment of artwork representing all segments of Bushwick. Like the gallery itself, it is open to anyone interested in making a contribution to this community.
From the left: Meryl Meisler, John Dereszewski (author of this article) and Nyssa Frank.
We then began the heart of the tour – a visit to Bushwick Avenue’s elegant Brewers’ and Doctors’ row district. This was when the avenue was called “The Boulevard,” one of Brooklyn’s most exclusive thoroughfares. We encountered a number of terrific buildings, which produced plenty of photo ops.
Among the highlights were:
Originally built for the Ulmer family of brewing fame, this building was acquired by one of the greatest explorers – or frauds – of American history, Dr. Frederick Cook. Did he, instead of Robert Peary, really discover the North Pole, or was he a total liar? Regardless of that, his former residence is a superb reminder of Bushwick’s glory days.
Built in 1903 at the DeKalb and Bushwick Aves intersection, Carnegie Library was built by Andrew Carnegie, a great philanthropist and a former robber baron.
The great White Church is the oldest continuing operating public architecture in all of Bushwick. It was built when what we now know as Bushwick was referred to as “South Bushwick,” as the original settlement was established in what we now clearly consider to be Williamsburg. In my clearly not an unbiased view, it is the most beautiful Protestant church in Brooklyn. St. Barbara’s takes the Catholic Church honors!
Located just off Bushwick Ave, at the intersection of Greene Ave and Goodwin Pl, this is one of New York’s landmarks and a former home of Henry Bohack, the founder of a great (in its day anyway) supermarket chain, and a testament to the fact that great wood frame buildings can also be terrific landmarks.
The home of Louis Bossert who built the Bossert Hotel in Brooklyn Heights; I guess he liked to visit the Heights but loved to live in Bushwick!
Linden Street (photo by @ospaghettibrain)
This wonderful row of 1880-90’s buildings situated between Bushwick Ave and Broadway provides a phenomenal example of great architecture, which hopefully will serve as the backbone of a Bushwick Historical District.
Look at more photos from the Bushwick History Photo Walk:
By Meryl Meisler: