Bushwick is a neighborhood located in borough of Brooklyn, New York City and physically located on the western end of Long Island, New York. It is part of Brooklyn Community Board 4. The neighborhood is fifteen minutes from Manhattan by either of the two subway lines serving it which are surrounded by East Williamsburg to the northwest, Ridgewood, Queens to the northeast, Bedford Stuyvesant to the southwest, and the Cemetery of the Evergreens and other cemeteries to the southeast. Bushwick has a population over 100,000. More than half the population lives below the poverty line and receives public assistance.
As of 2010 census, there were 129,239 people, 42,511 households, and 26,807 families residing in the area. The median income for a household in the village is $32,417. Elevation is 36 feet.
In 1638, the Dutch West India Company secured a deed from the local Lenape people for the Bushwick area, and Peter Stuyvesant chartered the area in 1661, naming it “Boswijck,” meaning “little town in the woods” or “Heavy Woods” in 17th Century Dutch. Its area included the modern day communities of Bushwick, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint. Bushwick was the last of the original six Dutch towns of Brooklyn to be established within New Netherland.
Bushwick was primarily an area for farming food and tobacco. As Brooklyn and New York City grew, factories that manufactured sugar, oil, and chemicals were built. The inventor Peter Cooper constructed a glue manufacturing plant, his first factory in the area. Immigrants from Western Europe joined the original Dutch settlers. Subsequent waves of immigration brought Italians and Latinos to the area who worked in the breweries and textile factories. Thus, Bushwick was dubbed the “beer capital of the Northeast.” In the 1950s the breweries started closing down or moving out and by the70s there were none left. Bushwick suffered a slow decline and was virtually destroyed in the arson and rioting during the 1977 blackout.
Notable people living in Bushwick include Eddie Murphy (actor), Tony Touch (rapper and DJ), Rick Gonzalez (actor), Julius La Rosa (singer), Rosie Perez (actress), Eric West (actor), and Jackie Gleason (actor). Bushwick has one of the highest concentrations of Puerto Ricans in all of New York City. The huge majority of households are renter occupied. The neighborhood is 2550% white and less than 25 percent black in the West Bushwick, above Gates Avenue, and, 5075% black and under 25% white in the South Bushwick, below Gates Ave. The Bushwick Avenue, formerly known as the Boulevard has several derelict buildings awaiting restoration.
Many of Bushwick’s old mansions are now in surprisingly good condition. Linden Street is particularly gracious and the town houses are reasonably well kept and have their original iron fences. St. Barbara’s Roman Catholic Church at Central Avenue and Bleecker Street is among the tallest buildings in Brooklyn. St. Barbara is more imposing inside than out with gilding, stonework, stained glass, and a magnificent pipe organ. Homes in Bushwick were designed in the Italianate, Neo Greco, Romanesque Revival, and Queen Anne styles by well known architects. It is also a center of culture with several Vaudeville era playhouses, including the Amphion Theater, the nation’s first theater with electric lighting.