Best Photo Locations: Bushwick, Brooklyn

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Before the last of the breweries closed its doors in 1976, Bushwick was known as the “beer capital of the Northeast.” The collapse of the beer industry eroded the neighborhood’s economic base, leaving a wealth of abandoned buildings. Click through the gallery tabs above to check it out some scouting shots.

I caught up with a local friend, Amy Rollo, who lived in “Little Dominicana,” for 3 years and had her fair share of fried plantains in that time.

“Currently labeled as “hip Williamsburg’s industrial neighbor to the east,’ this area of northern Brooklyn is changing before our eyes. The local mix is a population of Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, South Americans, Hasidic Jews, and a growing swarm of hipsters the diversity factor high.
The ‘Wick still feels empty in many places, but a lively community of creative types are being pushed further east and this is where they are landing. The warehouses are becoming lofts and studios.

At night during the warmer months, the abandoned warehouses transform into a venue for DJs to blast their beats. Listen for the music — it will lead you to the party. It’s hard to imagine that the old factories will someday be renovated into trendy shops and restaurants.

But this is how gentrification works and these building have fabulous potential.”

Take advantage while this Brooklyn ‘hood remains in beautiful disrepair.

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9 Responses to Best Photo Locations: Bushwick, Brooklyn

  1. Allan Gendelman September 6, 2012 at 10:16 am #

    That was very uninteresting. Coney Island is much more interesting than Bushwick. You have the people, the places, and the sights on the Coney Island boardwalk.

  2. Rich Stokes September 7, 2012 at 6:46 am #

    in 2011, there were 18 Murders, 25 Rapes, 493 Robberies, 411 Felonious Assaults, 461 Burglaries, 501 Grand Larcenies, and 136 GLAs in Bushwick. Not bad for less than 2 square miles of Brooklyn.

    The Best camera is the one that doesn’t get robbed.

    No thank you.

    • Amy September 8, 2012 at 7:22 am #

      As a 5′ foot nothing petite white girl, I never had a problem living in this neighborhood for several years. Just sayin’.

  3. faisal September 7, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    This is one of the most interesting posts, I hope you can do a country wise series.

  4. Christy Harper September 7, 2012 at 10:15 am #

    I love this post! I had no idea the “city” looked that way…

  5. oh hai September 7, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

    Many of these photos are of East Williamsburg, not Bushwick. Bushwick proper is not really industrial; it is a residential area comprised mostly of rent-stabilized, 2-4 story tenement buildings, with a little bit of public housing and ugly new construction mixed in. Plus TONS of places to get an empanada, taco, or $.99 housewares. While you might see the occasional burnt-out car or “R.I.P.” mural, Bushwick is just a low-income, family-dense NYC neighborhood that happens to be on the media’s watch-list now that a relatively small population of artists has moved to the vicinity. Don’t come here looking for “ruin porn” or gritty shots of poverty. If you want to take photos of street art and post-industry desolation (yeah, like the ones in the above slideshow), stick to the faux-Bushwick area north of Flushing Ave, around the Morgan L train stop. Bushwick (the Jefferson L to Wilson L stops, roughly) is great for street photography and for interesting people with good stories. Be open and respectful and you’ll likely get some great people-shots. Knowing some Spanish will open many doors for you, figuratively *and* literally. Stick to daytime excursions if you’re not familiar with the ‘hood. Lots of people do get mugged here, but mostly at night, and mostly to the drunk or clueless.

  6. AP September 26, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    Having lived, worked and played in Bushwick for more than 40 years, I’d like to think I know a little something about the community. I almost don’t recognize the place you’re describing. Thanks for trying Chase, but I think you’ve missed the mark on this one.

    The factories you allude to are relegated to a small area on the outskirts of Bushwick–the community is overwhelmingly residential. In my 40+ years in the neighborhood, I have NEVER once heard it referred to as “Little Dominicana”–which makes sense considering the vast majority of residents are Puerto Rican and African American!

    As for the collapse of the neighborhood’s economic base, it wasn’t the closing of the breweries (most of their employees didn’t live in Bushwick). It was the looting and arson that erupted in Bushwick during the blackout of 1977–causing massive damage to over 130 stores up and down Broadway. It took the community decades to recover.

    As for gentrification, the harsh reality is that Bushwick is about 20 minutes from Manhattan by subway–making it a convenient option for the masses of “hipsters” that can no longer afford to live in Manhattan or other more expensive parts of Brooklyn.

    To Rich Stokes and others like him who are concerned about crime…don’t worry. Midtown Manhattan’s crime stats are actually worse–and they’ve got cameras everywhere.

    My two cents… There are far better places to go to if you want to photograph graffiti, architecture or historic sites. If you like photographing people, you’ll find plenty of interesting subjects here.

  7. Alphonse Edinger January 8, 2013 at 8:06 am #

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  8. Yoni February 20, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

    Hi there…great article. Question.. where is the old railroad track that spilts in 2, in the second picture? Also, where was the train shot taken? (The one with Manhattan in the background). Thanks.

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