Don’t let anyone tell you it’s creepy; people-watching is every New Yorker’s birthright. In Bushwick, camouflaged benches and low-key window seats abound for those in search of the perfect spot to observe human behavior from a safe, somewhat secret vantage point. People-watch with tact (i.e., don’t be a jerk), and you’ve got yourself an infinitely renewable source of innocent voyeuristic pleasure.
First, some people-watching best practices: Avoid stalker pics and outright invasions of privacy. Have your notebook, sketchpad or copy of Giovanni’s Room handy to signal that you don’t exist solely to gape at your fellow Bushwick dwellers. That’s about it.
HERE’S WHERE TO GO!!
#1 The ubiquitous Roberta’s (261 Moore St). Plaid as far as the eye can see, and with such close-quarters seating, this place has prime eavesdropping too.
Overhear an awkward OKCupid date between an aspiring actress and a struggling musician while you eat your pizza, because why not?
#2 The benches outside Brooklyn Natural (49 Bogart St), for those who like a breeze while they creep.
Perch on one of these, and you’ll spot a good mix of Bushwick commuters, gallery hoppers, and Manhattanites on their way to said ubiquitous.
Snag the corner seat for simultaneous views of Starr St. happenings.
#4 Bushwick’s favorite Maria Hernandez Park (Knickerbocker Ave), AKA the ideal place to catch your neighbors unguarded.
It’s spring now and soon it will be summer, so go here and go here often. The dynamic possibilities are endless!
#5 The lobby inside Shops at the Loom (1087 Flushing Ave). Enter on Flushing Ave, install yourself in a comfy tufted-leather chair and look inconspicuous.
The through traffic will keep your curiosity piqued. Wander over to Kávé when you need some people-watching fuel.
#6 The Cobra Club (6 Wyckoff Ave). Tinted window shades up front let you overlook Wyckoff Ave as unsuspecting pedestrians walk on, none the wiser.
#7 A lone bench is all you get at Hana Natural (24 Wyckoff Ave), but (s)he who sits there reigns over Jefftown from a humble throne.
#8 If you live off the DeKalb L stop, never fear. Variety Cafe (146 Wyckoff) boasts the standard front-window fare, plus copious outdoor seating.
And we do mean copious. Not one, not two, but three different styles of outdoor benches.
#9 Bootleg Bar (1438 Myrtle Avenue). Look all around you. Booth-style benches line either side of the large back room and face into the center, where pool sharks show their stuff at the billiard table.
Not into that? Station yourself at the front window and “monitor pedestrians as they enter and exit Popeye’s” across the street.
#10 GreenStreets Salads (67 Irving Ave): Plenty of stools provide an advantageous view of Irving Ave for the health conscious on your way to and from Maria Hernandez Park.
#11 Fair Weather Bushwick (274 Wyckoff Ave): For more peaceful people-watching, head straight to the backyard at this coffee shop off the Myrtle-Wyckoff L Stop.
You might actually get to peruse that copy of Giovanni’s Room or jot something down in your notebook while you steal the occasional glance at another customer, your momentary muse. Isn’t that what people-watching’s all about?
Honorable mentions: The L train (just ride it back and forth, and if you’re lucky you might even catch an impromptu fashion show); your local laundromat (hopefully they have seating); and if you really don’t feel like leaving your apartment, trek through Bushwick via Google Maps. Happy people-watching!