About the Community of Bushwick NYC
Bushwick is a working class neighborhood in the northern part of the New York City borough of Brooklyn. The neighborhood, formerly Brooklyn’s 18th Ward, is now part of Brooklyn Community Board 4. It is policed by the NYPD’s 83rd Precinct and is represented in the New York City Council as part of Districts 34 and 37.
Bushwick is bound by Williamsburg to the north, Ridgewood, Queens to the northeast, East New York to the southeast, Brownsville to the south, and Bedford-Stuyvesant to the southwest. It is served by zip codes 11207, 11221 and 11237. Bushwick was once an independent town and has undergone various territorial changes throughout its history.
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.
The community was settled, though unchartered, on February 16, 1660, on a plot of land between the Bushwick and Newtown Creeks by fourteen French and Huguenot settlers, a Dutch translator named Peter Jan De Witt, and one of the original eleven slaves brought to New Netherland, Franciscus the Negro, who had worked his way to freedom. The group centered their settlement around a church located near today’s Bushwick and Metropolitan Avenues. The major thoroughfare was Woodpoint Road, which allowed farmers to bring their goods to the town dock. This original settlement came to be known as Het Dorp by the Dutch, and, later, Bushwick Green by the British. The English would take over the six towns three years later and unite the towns under Kings County in 1683.
Many of Bushwick’s Dutch records were lost after its annexation by Brooklyn in 1854. Contemporary reports differ in the reason: T.W. Field writes that “a nice functionary of the [Brooklyn] City Hall … contemptuously thrust them into his waste-paper sacks” while Eugene Armbruster claimed that the movable bookcase containing the records “was coveted by some municipal officer, who turned its contents upon the floor”.
At the turn of the 19th century, Bushwick consisted of four villages, Green Point, Bushwick Shore, later to be known as Williamsburg, Bushwick Green, and Bushwick Crossroads, at the spot today’s Bushwick Avenue turns southeast at Flushing Avenue.
Parks and recreation
Bushwick Park and Pool is located on Flushing Avenue between Beaver and Garden Streets, and encompasses 1.29 acres (5,200 m2). The park which is administered by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation has a free public pool (a large pool as well as a children’s pool is available), basketball courts, a handball court and a children’s playground.
Bushwick Playground is located on Knickerbocker Avenue between Woodbine Street and Putnam Avenue, and encompasses 2.78 acres (11,300 m2). Bushwick Playground park features handball courts, spray showers, a sitting areas and a children’s playground.
Green Central Knoll Park is a 2.6 acres (11,000 m2) park located between Flushing and Central Avenues and Knoll and Evergreen Streets. The park is located on the former site of the Rheingold beer brewery. New York City took ownership of the property after the beer company closed due to failure to pay taxes but it was not given to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation until 1997. The park includes a baseball field, sitting areas and a children’s playground.
Heisser Triangle is located at the intersections of Knickerbocker and Myrtle Avenues and Bleecker Street. The triangle is named after Charles Heisser, a World War I sergeant with the 106th Infantry, that was killed in action in France on September 27, 1918. The bronze war memorial at the center of the plot was sculpted by Pietro Montana in 1921.
Hope Gardens Multi Service Center is a building located on Wilson and Linden, it serves as an elderly bingo game building, an after school program for children from kindergarten to fifth grade, a karate class host, and a summer day camp for the neighborhood children.
Irving Square Park is bound between Wilson and Knickerbocker Avenues and Halsey and Weirfield Streets. The park encompasses 2.78 acres (11,300 m2). The park is believed to be named after Washington Irving. The park features swings, a sandpit, spray shower, a handball court and a basketball court. After renovations in 2006 and 2008 the park also features a public plaza and gardening space.
Maria Hernandez Park is a municipal park in Bushwick. It is located between Knickerbocker and Irving Avenues and between Starr and Suydam Streets. It has a newly renovated basketball court, handball court, fitness equipment, spray showers and benches, and a newly built performance stage. The park encompasses 6.87 acres (27,800 m2).
Ridgewood Bushwick Youth Center is a youth activity center administered by the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation located between Gates Avenue and Palmetto Street and run by the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council (RBSCC)
Bushwick’s population in 2007 was 129,980. 38.9% of that population was foreign born. Though an ethnic neighborhood, Bushwick’s population is, for a New York City neighborhood, relatively heterogeneous scoring a 0.5 on the Furman Center’s racial diversity index, making it the city’s 35th most diverse neighborhood in 2007. Most residents are Latinos from the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico and from the Dominican Republic but more recent years have seen an increase in native-born Americans as well as other Latino groups, particularly immigrants from Mexico and El Salvador.
In 2008 the neighborhood’s median household income was $28,802. 32% of the population falls under the poverty line, making Bushwick the 7th most impoverished neighborhood in New York City. Over 75% of children in the neighborhood are born in poverty. Only 40.3% of students in Bushwick read at grade level, making it the 49th most literate neighborhood in the city in 2007. 58.2% of students do math at grade level in Bushwick, 41st in the city. In 2007, Bushwick averaged with 25 felonies per 1000 persons, the 25th, out of 55, most felonious community district in the city.
Bushwick is the largest hub of Brooklyn’s Hispanic-American community, although Sunset Park is also very large. Like other neighborhoods in New York City, Bushwick’s Hispanic population is mainly Puerto Rican and Dominican with a sizable South American population as well. As nearly 70% of Bushwick’s population is Hispanic, residents have created many businesses to support their various national and distinct traditions in food and other items. The neighborhood’s major commercial streets are Knickerbocker Avenue, Myrtle Avenue, Wyckoff Avenue, and Broadway.
Bushwick is 69.9% Hispanic, 16.8% Black, 8% White, 1.8% Asian, and 3.4% ‘other’. Bushwick is a predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhood, though the area does have a significant African American population, as well as significant populations of Dominicans and other Hispanics.
Bushwick’s diverse housing stock includes six-family apartment buildings and two- and three-family townhouses. The median age of the housing stock is 76 years. Over 91% of housing units are within one-quarter of a mile of a park, and over 97% of housing units are within one-half of a mile of a subway.
Median rent in 2007 was $795, the 40th highest median rent in the city. About one out of six rental units is subsidized, and greater than one out of three units is rent regulated. 4% of renters live in severely overcrowded conditions. Vacant land fills 4.1% of Bushwick, rating it the 21st most vacant neighborhood in the city.
In 2007, the neighborhood had an 18.7% home ownership rate, though roughly 1 out of 20 owners of a 1-4 unit building received a notice of foreclosure.
All information about Bushwick courtesy of Wikipedia.