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Who needs Central Park when you have Maria Hernandez Park? Shopping at dollar stores on Knickerbocker Ave, scenic walks on Johnson Ave and romantic counting of rats on the tracks of the L train…this is all apparently the future of New York tourism. Thank you, Mayor Bloomberg for recommending Bushwick to NYC-bound tourists. We’ll take it from here.

Bloomberg’s recommendation to explore New York’s off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods was met with a wave of disagreement by NY Post. For a second we got excited that Bushwick stood alongside the Statue of Liberty as a top destination of NYC, but then NY Post reported that Bushwick as a tourist destination essentially totally sucks.

Not only did they point out that the 83rd precinct has the same murder rate as Mongolia, they also interviewed an anonymous police officer who accused Bushwick of being “fucking chaos” and said that “it hasn’t been settled here,” which, at the very least, can be construed as racist statements. If you don’t get killed in Bushwick, you will for sure get lost, at least according to NY Post. Non-numbered streets and avenues can be pretty confusing, we agree. Guess what? That’s just like everywhere else in the world, NY Post.

Well, don’t go to Bushwick if you want to keep pursuing your fake Sex in the City dream. But if you want a bite of the real pulsating life, Bushwick will open its arms to you and show you its wonders!

So why should anybody ever go to Bushwick?

“Oh, Bushwick, will you now be a tourist attraction?” (photo by Katarina Hybenova)

1. Exploding art scene

When we say exploding, we mean oh-my-god-we-have-more-than-50-galleries-and-gazillion-artist-studios exploding. Warehouses, apartments, storefronts, and other unlikely spaces have been proudly serving to showcase art. Let’s not forget to mention Bushwick Open Studios, an annual fantastic festival organized by an all-volunteer organization Arts in Bushwick where hundreds of artists open their studios to thousands of interested people.

2. The world’s most famous pizza joint, Roberta’s

You can say whatever you want about Roberta’s. Yes, there is a 3-hour long wait and, yes, people go there to be seen, but the founders of Roberta’s have undoubtedly done something right. They practically own pizza and, on top of that, they gave jobs to about 180 people. Read this awesome NY Mag feature about Roberta’s beginnings, a truly inspiring story!

3. The McKibbin Lofts, apparently now without parties

Where else can you continue your college life after college as effectively as in McKibbin Lofts? You can live with seven roommates, a hamster and a pool table if you like. Thankfully/Unfortunately the wild days of McKibbin Lofts seem to be over, as the parties have been strictly banned. You will even be able to get some sleep there now.

Voodoo magic? Sure! (photo by Katarina Hybenova)

4. Exciting world of botanicas and voodoo magic

Let’s say you need a love potion to win the heart of your hot neighbor or a voodoo doll to show a little something to your landlord? How about even something less exotic, like incense, a statue of black Jesus or prosperity candles? Where would you go? To one of the Bushwick’s mysterious botanicas, obviously.

5. Bushwick is a foodie heaven!

Amen! Even Zagat thinks our restaurants are great! Additionally, you can stroll endlessly, eating incredible tacos from Tres Hermanons (Anthony Bourdain came all the way out here) or sipping awesome juices from Mr. Kiwi or randomly eating $1 ice cones. Bushwick = yum!

cooper holoweski

6. Semi-legal music venues and up-and-coming bands

Silent Barn, Shea Stadium, Rock Bottom, Paper Box, the list goes on and on. Follow our rich music section if you want to know which music venues and bands are hot right now.

7. Warehouse parties

Even Girls hungrily rushed to Bushwick for the world’s best party ever. And that was just TV; reality is a lot better. Check out bodypainting warehouse parties, Rubulad and get on our newsletter to learn about the ad hoc ones.

Body Painting Party (photo by Chris Stach)

8. The best street art

A street art walking tour of Bushwick promises to impress amateurs and experts alike. Some of the world’s most well-known street artists have left their mark in our area – Stik’s contribution to Bushwick’s Five Points (Troutman and St. Nicholas) and ROA’s mural outside of the Pine Box Rock Shop (12 Grattan Street) are just a few of the must-see spots in the neighborhood. (Danielle Thomson)

Jim Avignon

9. Open fire hydrants in the summer

The sun setting behind the gritty silhouette of Bushwick creates a rainbow in the splash of water gushing from the open fire hydrant. The kids squeak and yell, experiencing one of the most beautiful urban adventures ever.

10. The best community

Many Bushwick residents will swear that they have never felt so at home as in Bushwick. That is all thanks to Bushwick’s wonderful community where everybody is welcome. People of different origins and backgrounds live together in symbiosis and friendship, despite what the media may tell you. You can just stand on the street and end up talking to a stranger and/or making a new friend.

Photo by Chris Heuberger

11. The cheapest sexy clothes

How cheap can we get some sexy spring fashion from our absolute favorite Knickerbocker and Broadway chain store, Rainbow? Very cheap. Check out Urban Outfitters or Jimmy Jazz styling post.

Urban Outfitters or Jimmy Jazz, Rainbow

12. Unnamed hangouts

I stumbled upon an amazing Puerto Rican Biker club/hangout with dance parties until 5AM in the alley next door to my apartment building. It has no name but it is a bumping place! There is so many various no-name “hangouts” like this that I would just laugh if a tourist from Poughkeepsie tried to wander in! (Allison Galgiani)

13. Cheap cigarettes

One of the very best ways to keep a finger on the pulse is knowing where to find (relatively) cheap cigarettes. As any pack-a-day tourist will tell you, NYC is a killer on the pocketbook. Either you plan ahead and throw down on a carton, or you figure an extra hundred into your budget. However, there is another option…black-market smokes. Plus, nothing makes you feel more like a part of the club than slapping down eight bucks and wink for a pack of Camels. Of course, if I disclosed the exact location of my go-to wholesale butt dealer, that would defeat the point, now wouldn’t it? (Just look what happened out at Myrtle-Broadway.) Also, if you don’t live here, you gotta earn it. What I can do, though, is can give you some clues—(1) it’s almost on a corner, (2) you aren’t allowed inside, and (3) they have a boom box outside blasting one of two songs: that Rihanna song or that Gotye song. Happy hunting, and remember…smoking is cool but smoking on the cheap is Brooklyn cool. (Matthew Zing)

14. Ehm, Rat Scavenger Hunt

How about doing a scavenger hunt for rats? It’s like Easter egg hunting…but easier. (Wesley Salazar)

View from a Bushwick roof (photo by Katarina Hybenova)

15. The best views of Manhattan skyline

Whether at a roof party of your friend or on the JMZ train heading into the city, the views of Manhattan from Bushwick are breathtaking. Serenity, peacefulness, gentle breeze…the perspective from Bushwick is unforgettable.

…and a lot MORE! Leave us a comment if you think of other tourist-worthy stuff in Bushwick!

Words by Katarina Hybenova, unless otherwise stated.  Ideas contributed by Asha Chagoyen, Eric Nelson, Nekoro Gomez, Ashley Mathus, Dimitri Manousaskis, Yamil Saade, Peter Dressel.