All photos by Katarina Hybenova for Bushwick Daily

Throwing your persone in the vortex called Bushwick Open Studios frequently comes with a creeping yet steady anxiety of missing the best spectacle of your life happening perhaps just next door…

Using the wisdom of spiritual teachers of this, as well as, past time, I’d love to tell (mostly to myself) and to you dear readers, that what you saw over this weekend was the best spectacle ever. Because we are all exactly where we’re supposed to be; the present moment is the only one that matters. So, friends, here is what I saw, and the feelings that followed.

At a studio of Ryan Ford on Johnson Ave

The 8th annual pre-summer festival serves like a barometer of the development of Bushwick. While during the causal days of living and strolling through the neighborhood, you might forget or maybe not realize so acutely that which is evident during BOS: Bushwick is developing and it is developing extremely fast. I’ll leave the labels “good” or “bad” aside, and will just ponder the intensity of human bodies swinging and swaying on what used to be desolate Bushwick streets near the Jefferson and Morgan stops. Whoever had a memory of Bushwick–whatever it was–found it shattered into a million pieces once and for all. OGs who have lived here long before you and I were born; artsy SoHo-East Village-Lower East Side-Williamsburg alumni who used to find refuge in lonely artist studios and apartment galleries while Bushwick was an emerging artsy colony; transplants who hesitantly found adulthood in over-priced railroad apartments, they all gasped for air. And I –part excited and part sad –asked Bushwick, a dear friend of mine who has become so successful so quickly: “Will you still be my friend even when you are so different?”

Guys, swallow your tears, and let Bushwick fly because nothing ever stays the same. Anicca… anicca… as Buddhists say. Nothing is permanent. What arises will pass. Everything changes, grows, evolve, matures at any given moment.

Meryl Meisler graduated to a (Bushwick) celebrity status

The leading event of this year’s BOS for me was the release of Meryl Meisler‘s spotlessly beautiful photography book and gallery show at Bizarre’s Black Box gallery. Meryl, who taught public school art  in Bushwick during the 80’s and 90’s, was one of the first people to see and document the beauty, joy and love in Bushwick–even when it was ugly, rough and forgotten. In 2007, Meryl began exhibiting her old Bushwick photographs. In 2014, she graduated to Bushwick celebrity status. No one will ever talk about Bushwick and not mention the invaluable photography Meryl Meisler has created. Disco Era Bushwick: A Tale of Two Cities juxtaposes 1970’s photographs of Studio 54’s wild party scenes against post-blackout Bushwick of the next decade, and I find the book to be a beautifully personal recollection of what our city once used to be.

Curator/artist Julie Torres in conversation with curator/artist Julia Sinelnikova.

Graduation. It was on my mind as well when I visited Do It Yourself, an art show organized together by artist Julie Torres.  I have been a personal friend of Julie for a couple of years and a witness to her curatorial initiatives within Bushwick. For BOS, Julie has been organizing a community of international as well as American abstract painters and curating their works. This year, Julie curated the curators. Visiting artists were prompted to curate Bushwick artists. The initiative culminated into a huge art show consisting of 12 beautiful art shows extending across the entire ground floor of the former 3rd Ward building at 195 Morgan Ave. It was one of the most moving and meaningful curated shows during Bushwick Open Studios, full of friendship and appreciation for one another’s work.

From Do It Yourself show

Seen under the JMZ trains studios

Kitchen at The Hotel invites you with its intimacy

While quickly leaving behind the ultimate hipster fantasy– a huge block party organized by The Bushwick Collective on the strip of Troutman between Wyckoff and St. Nicholas, I enjoyed dearly the (relative) peace of artist life under the JMZ trains on Broadway. Allowed to finally peak in on the intimately beautiful buildings I keep seeing from the train, I visited the artists of The Hotel – a live/work space on 796 Broadway, as well as Vacancy space on 929 Broadway. I sat in their kitchen, respectfully declining a slice of homemade pizza. I petted their Chihuahua. I saw their art, their lives, immersed myself in their energy…

My Saturday night belonged to Slideluck Bushwick III. “Probably Thrift Disco,” I lied to someone who asked me what party I was going to next. I was going home to fall asleep with an audiobook on my headphones, but somehow I felt like I couldn’t disappoint our readers who believe that the editor of Bushwick Daily simply does everything. Here’s a confession: I don’t. But I did enjoy Slideluck. With Casey Kelbaugh, a creator of community events of world-wide fame, we had created an Instagram scavenger hunt, and placed clues in our No BS BOS guides. I was excited to see the Instagram photos projected on the wall, as well as winners (including the famous Martha Cooper) receiving their prices. Reality slapped me in the face when a reader, prompted to photograph “the nicest community moment at Maria Hernandez Park”, submitted a scene of cops arresting men who got into a baseball bat fight. This is also my dear friend Bushwick. 

After dozens more studios, giant sculptures of macarons, hundreds of photos, and a sunblock lotion hug with Dr Lisa, I found myself sitting on the floor at The Active Space. Our Bushwick Nightz reading on Sunday nearly didn’t happen, and I was ready to give up on it. But my BOS likes to end immersed into stories and emotions, and so I was listening to four stories from the book, leaving the weekend to quietly fade into nostalgia, fatigue and perhaps a little sorrow topped with a ton of ideas for next year…  I typed them into a letter to the future me in future Bushwick, and hit “send” wondering what kind me in what kind of Bushwick will the letter find next year…

Prospero Vega, Dallas Athent and others at the Bushwick Nightz reading

Hugs and kisses

Huge macarons at Real on Rock Street