Velazquez In Bushwick

Local elected officials, community activists, and various local residents woke up this past Saturday, to spot a local wall on the corner of Willoughby and Wyckoff Avenues, spray-painted with the words “Kill Elected Officials.” On the same block, sat some seven vehicles, all vandalized. The unusual act of vandalism had occurred within 24 hours of the widely-publicized attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband across the country. 

It was the subject of a press conference, convened at the spot, earlier this week. By then, the graffiti had been painted over. 

“We’re not afraid to stand up,” said Assemblywoman Maritza Davila, condemning hate speech and violence of all types. 

The image of local graffiti, taken and distributed by Assemblywoman Davila. The images of the car break ins were taken by a local resident.

“We, as a community, will stand up any time there are any hate messages, anyone getting hurt in our neighborhood,” she said. 

Said Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez: “Bushwick rose from the ashes of the 1977 blackout. Bushwick survived the crime and crack epidemic of the late 1980s […] Families stood behind and fought, with all their soul and their heart, to bring this community to where it is today.”

One subject that came up was the changing portrait of the neighborhood. In recent years, Bushwick has become more popular as a nightlife destination, to the detriment of some longtime residents. Countless venues now draw crowds from all over the city. Within the neighboring three blocks sit the House of Yes, Moonrise and the Brooklyn Beer Garden. 

A 13-year Bushwick resident described how the quality of life issues have worsened in recent years. 

“A lot of venues moved in during the pandemic, and since then it’s gotten worse and worse and worse. And then as they come they bring all these people who get wasted, get violent, piss in the streets, break windows. Like two years ago, it was one day a week, and now it’s like four nights a week,” she said. 

“The noise and the rattling are so intense that literally things fall off the wall in your home.”

Davila had emphasized personal responsibility and basic respect. “This is not an attack on the businesses. This is about bad neighbors. If you’re going to have an establishment on a block, then you should be able to respect the people that live here,” she said. 

On the issue, Velasquez had said: We recognize that [nightlife] is a $1 billion industry. What we cannot sacrifice is the wellbeing and the peace of hard working people.”

Said Sandy Nurse, a recently elected city councilwoman: “We would like to see more of these owners participate in shaping the community– doing more cleanups, painting over graffiti.”

Cassandra Acevedo, a 55-year resident of South Williamsburg, was among the last to take the stand. 

“Changes can only come from people getting involved, from residents participating, knowing what kind of services and laws are applicable, and knowing their rights,” she said. 

Top image taken by Andrea J. Wang for Bushwick Daily.

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