By Katarina Hybenova

Bushwick is not only a neighborhood in New York. It is a living organism that changes dynamically as the time passes every couple of months. It seems that the emotional landscape of the neighborhood reacts extremely sensitively to any kind of a development; sometimes just an idea is enough. What was true yesterday can be very different tomorrow.

What causes the change?  And more importantly will the change be to the benefit of all of the people living here? I certainly hope so. Is it even possible that everyone benefits from a change? Can you reasonably ask for a neighborhood not to change?  I know that the media are not a direct cause of a change but nobody can deny that they have a huge influence. Mainly, when a source like NY Times drops a word about the neighborhood, a community matter suddenly becomes a matter of interest to the entire city, sometimes even the entire world.

Here are some of the articles that NY Times wrote about Bushwick and what followed after them.

[dropcap]#1 Psst… Have You Heard About Bushwick?[/dropcap]

 Published on March 5, 2006 (by Robert Sullivan)

When the world heard about Bushwick for the first time….

 What was it about?

In March 2006, Magazine of The NY Times brought an article focusing mostly on real estate development in the neighborhood. The Times followed a Bushwick realtor, Tom Le, who described Bushwick as the next new neighborhood where you can still buy a family house for $500K. The article also talks about the first “cool” places that opened in the area: Life Café, Brooklyn Natural, Northeast Kingdom, Archive Café, Chez Bushwick…

You can read about the first artists who came to the neighborhood and remodeled industrial buildings into artist studios. It also mentions a predecessor to Bushwick Open Studios, Bushwick Art Project.

What happened after?

At least two dozens of “cool” places opened in the area: restaurants, cafes, bars. Sometimes it seems that a new bar opens every day.

Bushwick Art Project is dead, and we are celebrating 6th birthday of Bushwick Open Studios, a huge event to promote local art that was born shortly after Brooklyn Art Project ceased to exist.

Oddly enough, you can still buy a family house in Bushwick for $500K. Blame/ thank to the recession of 2008.


[quote]Perhaps those most affected by a neighborhood’s nextness are the people who are already living there, the people who have been living there for years and are not necessarily looking for a place to install a video-dance piece but are trying to live, maybe even raise children. In this case, these are the people living in what a real-estate agent might at this moment be calling Deep Bushwick, that place with tired but well-swept row houses along Knickerbocker Avenue or in and around Wyckoff Avenue, another old commercial strip.[/quote]

[dropcap]#2 A Bushwick Mansion Where Music Fills the Halls[/dropcap]

Published on July 16, 2010 (by Constance Rosenblum)

The Times called Bushwick the coolest place on Earth…

What was it about?

Real Estate section of The Times brought this optimistic article celebrating reinessance men and women living in Cedar House in Bushwick.  It was 2010, and the writed called Bushwick the coolest neighborhood in the world. The Times visited Cedar House on Bushwick Ave inhabited by young and creative people with lotsa interests. The original resident of Cedar House, Ben Shapiro walked the Times writer through the personal histories of the inhabitants, and thorough the events they organize in  Cedar House. The Times was very excited about these guys.

What happened after?

The line about Bushwick being the coolest place on the planet pissed off several people. However, I have to second that, and yes, I think Bushwick is still the coolest place on the planet. Maybe not in the Morgantown area anymore, but there is still a lot of cool things and inspiring people living here. Also, places like Cedar House where residents happily open their doors to musicians and artists and fellow Bushwickians still exist.

[quote]Bushwick may not be East Williamsburg. But for those seeking the newest Bohemia, this neighborhood is arguably the coolest place on the planet.  And few places are cooler than the white brick building with black trim that its residents call Cedar House, courtesy of its location on the corner of Cedar Street.[/quote]

[dropcap]#3  JUSTEN LADDA: ‘7 Mirrors and a Nose’ [/dropcap]

Published on December 16, 2010 (by Ken Johnson)

The first review of a Bushwick gallery art show in NY Times!

What was it about?

Ken Johnson was the first Times critic ever to review an art show in Bushwick. Justen Lada: 7 Mirrors and A Nose, was a show on view in Storefront gallery. This short write up appeared in Arts Beat, the Times art blog, which generally writes about experimental topics (at least according to the Times measures).

What happened after?

After this review, the Times art critics lost fear of Bushwick basement/apartment galleries, and many other art spaces celebrated a write up in NY Times. Absolutely well-deserved. Also nothing sells out a show like a shiny review, therefore in the name of support of local arts, please NY Times, come more often!

[quote]With this lovely, small exhibition, [Justen Lada’s] first solo in a New York gallery since 1998, he takes a surprising turn toward simplicity.[/quote]


[dropcap]#4 Roberta’s[/dropcap]


Published on August 23, 2011 (by Sam Sifton)

Bushwick pizza joint Roberta’s gets a review in NY Times…

What was it about?

Roberta’s, originally a hip low-key pizza place received 2 stars from poshy Times food critic.  The review took us on an amusing journey of what a Times writer thinks of a Bushwick resident’s afternoon (….collapsing into the room after a long afternoon or evening of dancing or making art…), but also talked about some interesting facts of the restaurant’s operation and food preparation (Mr. Mirarchi uses meat glue to join two breasts into a more manageable rectangle, then presses the result overnight to set the bond.)

What happened after?

Roberta’s used to be great. I will never forget my first time there.  After a photo-assistant gig, I was tired but happy biting into a delicious slice of pizza sitting on a wood bench, and everything felt so Bushwick… Well, this is over now.  Less and less of the reasonable Bushwicians are willing to wait two hours for a table. Also the crowd is not what it used to be… Artists at Roberta’s are more likely to be waiting the tables than having a dinner. Don’t get me wrong, the fame of Roberta’s is well deserved (organic farm, radio station, blah blah), but it’s just too much. It’s not Bushwick anymore.

[quote]Roberta’s pizzas are marvelous things, of no particular geographical provenance. They are just good ingredients married well, then cooked in hot, fragrant smoke and quickly served. You can always have those.[/quote]


[dropcap]#5 Next Stop, Bushwick[/dropcap]


Published on March 7, 2012 (by Jed Lipinski)

The most recent Times article celebrated 56 Bogart building.

What was it about?

Six years and two days after The Times brought Psst… Have You Heard About Bushwick?, Fashion & Style section of  NY Times, published a cover story about Bushwick as the next gallery district. We all read it and frantically shared on our social media, with a cocktail of feelings (1 part of pride, 1 part of wondering about all the things they got wrong; 1 part wondering what the future of our block will be).

Next stop, Bushwick talks about new galleries that sprung all over the neighborhood lately, and dedicates the most of its attention to the 56 Bogart building. In fact the article implies that 56 Bogart is the center of the universe. The building has only recently undergone quite a big transformation. Originally a textile factory was like many other industrial buildings in the neighborhood, turned into an artist studio building, but unlike the rest of the buildings it was turned into a gallery mall in the last 6 months.  A concept unseen in Bushwick, but frequent elsewhere, puts a number of galleries under one roof, has been perceived by the Bushwickians as bitter sweet. On one hand, you can’t deny the energy that a concentration of art spaces brings, and the openings at 56 Bogart tend to be epic.  On the other hand, DIY feel so beautiful about Bushwick, has definitely evaporated when you come in. The galleries at 56 Bogart are still quite cool, but I suggest The Times to venture to an opening at apartment galleries Centotto or Norte Maar or street art gallery Factory Fresh. I guarantee crowds comparable to those attending openings at 56 Bogart.

What happened after?

Only time will tell.

[quote]But for now, the center of the action is at 56 Bogart, and as with any gallery nexus, it comes alive during openings.[/quote]