Weekend in Bushwick: Saturday

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It seems like every time we hear about a cool new bar or an out-there art project it’s happening in Bushwick. One of the six original Dutch-settled towns in Brooklyn, today the area is home to a wide variety of artists, entrepreneurs and loft-dwellers looking for a little more space for a little less money. With the latest flood of additions to the coffee shop, gallery and bar scene, Bushwick has become the kind a place you could spend a whole weekend exploring. These two day trips can be done entirely (if slightly ambitiously) on foot, but our Bushwick weekend would be even more fun on a bike.

11 AM Take the L train to the Jefferson Avenue stop or ride your bike out to Wykoff and Starr. Look for the Wyckoff-Star Coffee Shop (30 Wyckoff Ave., 718-484-9766) when you exit the station for a little latte energy. Grab a pastry or a bagel if you’re in the mood, then head up Wyckoff Avenue to Flushing Avenue. Take a right and you’ll come to a warehouse with huge banners lining the walls with gigantic pictures of nouveau antiques and chandeliers: Milan Furniture Inc. (1710 Flushing Ave., 718-821-5026) Step inside for a sparkly experience. Even if a huge chandelier won’t fit in your apartment, it’s worth a visit.

After Milan, venture a bit further down Flushing to the Vander Ende Onderdonk House (1820 Flushing Ave., 718-456-1776), the home of the Ridgewood Historical Society, (yes, this is technically Queens, but come on, it’s a historic farmhouse, and just across the border) Built in 1709, the Onderdonk House sits on a large plot of land with inviting picnic tables and plenty of room to stroll around. The sign outside says admission is just $2. Students, bring your ID, and you can visit for 50 cents–what costs less than a dollar anymore?

1 PM Walk back the way you came on Flushing and make a left on St. Nicholas Avenue. When you get to Starr, make a right. You will immediately come upon what is arguably the best tortilleria in these parts, Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos (271 Starr St., 718-456-3422). This place has been making tortillas for years and used to do a brisk trade through a tiny taco window, but they recently added the whole enchilada, setting up tables and chairs so customers can better enjoy the simple menu of tacos, tortas and taquitos. They also sometimes host rock shows. Stay for one taco, or many–carne enchilada is one of our faves.

After fueling up, make note of  Green Village Used Furniture and Clothing (276 Starr St., 718-456-8844) across the street. It’s not open on Saturdays, but you’ll want to stop back here tomorrow, at some point. Inside you’ll find aisle upon aisle of knicknacks, furniture, kitchen appliances, old school electronics and much more.  The last time we popped in great deals included a seersucker suit for $12, a vintage Polaroid camera for $10 and an antique hardwood dresser for $60.

3 PM Time to visit some galleries! Bushwick, being home to many artists, is also home to many galleries. A few of our favorites include Sugar (499 Troutman, 3rd Fl. 718-417-1180), Storefront (16 Wilson Ave., 646-361-8512), Famous Accountants (1679 Gates Ave., technically just over the border into Ridgewood) and English Kills (114 Forrest #1, 718-366-7323). These galleries tend to keep eclectic hours, so make sure to call ahead or check their websites before heading out. Right now Sugar and Famous Accountants both have interesting shows up–stroll off lunch by hitting Famous Accountants first via a leisurely walk down St. Nicholas toward the the eastern end of the neighborhood on Gates Avenue. Then, work your your way back to Sugar and The Bodega, a friendly, reasonable wine bar just around the corner.

6 PM After all that art it’s time for an afternoon buzz. Luckily, The Bodega (24 Saint Nicholas Ave.), located about 100 feet away from Sugar, opened recently. The Bodega serves artisan beers and wines as well as small plates for late afternoon–or late night–snacking. Owners Gina Leone and Ben Warren said that in the two-and-a-half months they’ve been open, they’ve served mostly locals, so the place has a real neighborhood vibe. Don’t ruin your appetite though, because Bushwick has a number of great spots to eat, and dinner is up next.

8 PM You can either walk a few blocks and head to Northeast Kingdom (18 Wykoff Ave. 718-386-3864), for the Kingdom Royale, a double-decker cheeseburger with duck fat tater tots, or take a longer stroll to Roberta’s (261 Moore St., 718-417-1118), a wood-burning pizza joint with a garden. To get to Roberta’s, walk up to Flushing and turn left, walk past the ill-smelling warehouses and trash trucks, make a right on Bogart, and walk two blocks up to Moore.

10 PM After dinner, if you’re ready to party, check out one of the many artist loft and warehouse spaces in the area. House of Yes hosts a lot of circus, dance, aerialists and burlesque (next weekend is a benefit show for the Gulf Coast clean up). There’s Shea Stadium on Meadow St. and Morgan Ave., where DIY rock shows happen on weekends. You might want to head out here on Friday night this week, for the Showpaper benefit and dance party. The Bushwick Starr (207 Starr St., 212-868-4444) is another unconventional performance space that hosts theater, dance and music. Right now they’re home to a summer concert series; the next show is Saturday, July 24 with Pass Kontrol, Doppelganger and more.

11 PM For a slightly mellower end to the evening, hit Narrows (1037 Flushing Ave., 281-827-1800) around the corner from Roberta’s, a newly opened bar that serves beers and cocktails and has a big backyard. If you’re feeling broke after a day of eating, drinking and vintage shopping, check out the $6 beer and shot special.

If you live locally, get on the L train at Morgan Ave. and see you tomorrow for day two. If you’re visiting from out of town, or taking an in-town vacation, check into The New York Loft Hostel. If you’ve ever dreamed of what it would be like to live in an artists loft or a hippie, ahem hipster, commune, this is your chance!

Click through for a Sunday’s worth of Bushwick fun>>>

Text and photos by Georgia Kral, sent by Annaliese.

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