Katy Golvala


In the spirit of the holiday, it’s worth mentioning how thankful we are for Bushwick. Not many neighborhoods offer you all the cultural upsides of living in New York City, while letting you avoid (most of) the pretension that typically comes with them.

But, for everything we love about it, there’s one downside to living in Bushwick: a lack of city services. Let’s start with trashcans and lousy roads.

Look around the neighborhood on any given day and you’ll likely spot garbage scattered on sidewalks and potholes that have become permanent fixtures of the streets. Walk the entire length of Bushwick Avenue between Halsey and Himrod Street and you won’t find a single trashcan. There are just six trashcans on Bushwick Avenue, which is about two miles long; five of those trashcans can be found in a 700-foot radius.

A local business owner, who declined to be named for this article, said the city’s garbage collection services have become so unreliable in the neighborhood that he no longer depends on them.

“If their guys are lazy, then I get the ticket. If the city doesn’t pick up the cans, then I get the ticket. The city could be doing a better job all around,” he explains.

Other locals have found Bushwick’s trash problem so bad that they’ve started taking matters into their own hands and organizing community cleanup events, as we reported in July

Councilman Rafael Espinal, who reps parts of Bushwick, says that he’s definitely recognized the city’s neglect of neighborhoods in the outer boroughs. In fact, it’s part of what drove him to run for office.

When asked which city services he’d like to see improved most immediately, Council Member Espinal doesn’t hesitate for a moment.

“Hands down it would be more repaving of our roads in a timely manner and more work from the Department of Sanitation picking up trash,” he says.

Over the past four years, his staff has worked to secure $20,000 in funding to purchase over 40 new trashcans for the neighborhoods in his district, which include Bushwick, Cypress Hills, Brownsville, and East New York.

The Department of Sanitation did not respond to a request for comment.

In addition to suffering from a lack of basic services, Bushwick also has yet to benefit from Citi Bike, one of the newer, most popular city programs of the past few years. There isn’t a single Citi Bike station in the entire neighborhood and, even though the bike share program is in the middle of a major expansion, which includes extended service into neighborhoods like Crown Heights and Prospect Heights, Bushwick isn’t a part of that expansion. Unless you think East Williamsburg, which got Citi Bikes two years ago, qualifies as Bushwick

A spokesperson for the Department of Transportation stated, “Although Citi Bike has not reached all areas, we will continue…with hopes of bringing bike share to more communities in the future.”

Councilman Antonio Reynoso, who represents the 34th District – including Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Ridgewood – says he’s had several requests from residents about bringing Citi Bike stations to the neighborhood, and he’s hopeful that Bushwick will be a part of the next expansion.

He disagrees with the notion that Bushwick is getting slighted when compared to other areas of the city, however. He points to examples of services that exist in Bushwick, but not Williamsburg, including after-school programs at the Ridgewood-Bushwick Youth Center.

“If there were to be inequities … I try my best to compensate for that,” said Reynoso.

Do you think Bushwick is being underserved? Which specific services would you like to see improved in the neighborhood? Leave us your comments below.

Cover image from the Bushwick Daily archives