If you’re a fan of street art, then you’re in luck. There’s no shortage of it here in New York City, and all you have to do is keep your eyes open. (Judging by how regularly people bump into me on a sidewalk, this doesn’t seem to be as regular a practice as you might think.) Thanks to its temporary nature, graffiti is both a literal and figurative fresh coat of paint — blanketing the city with different images, styles and personalities on a regular basis.
Searching for street art in the city is a fun pastime of ours. We’re fortunate that New York City attracts worldwide talents who turn our streets and alleys into art galleries. While there are treasures to be discovered all over the city, fanatics can get a huge payoff by visiting one of the most well-known hubs where street artists go to create and collaborate: the Bushwick Collective.
Bushwick is a neighborhood in Brooklyn that is easily accessible via the L Train. A trip to Bushwick takes less than a half hour from Union Square, so a quick jaunt from Manhattan is entirely manageable. It’s open year-round, so all you need to do is dress for the weather and bring a camera.
The Bushwick Collective is a non-profit group founded in 2012 by native Joe Ficalora, who still curates the walls in the area. It was the natural heir to graffiti mecca 5 Pointz which fell victim to gentrification. At the Bushwick Collective, artists submit recent work, bios and concepts for review and are awarded precious space for their ideas to come to life.
A broad range of artists are represented at the Bushwick Collective. You’ll find the work of Brazilian artist Sipros and Chilean artist Dasic Fernandez. You’ll find the distinctive signature of Austrian artist Nychos. British pop art murals by DFace will catch your eye. But the walls aren’t simply decorative: many contain social and political messages of our times. Take, for example, London-based Louis Masai’s “The Art of Beeing” series, which seeks to bring attention to endangered species. Or consider the work of Adam Fujita AKA AdamFu AKA Atoms, the creative force behind the graffiti podcast My Life in Letters. His pieces are often topical, and have included political issues like national security and impeachment.
The Bushwick Collective recently held its annual block party, which provides the masses an opportunity to actually see some of the artists at work. Food trucks line the streets, musical acts take the stage, and there is art at every turn. It’s a fun event for those interested in a big, lively outdoor party. (Follow their Facebook page for updates.) But be forewarned: it can get a little rowdy. If you’re more interested in photographing the art you’re better off coming on a different day, when there aren’t as many people around.
Troutman St at Saint Nicholas Ave
Pair it with:
For large groups: Tutu’s
Roberta’s is Bushwick’s most famous resident and it’s a lovely place, but there’s usually a wait. Tutu’s is a quaint little place nearby. Thanks to picnic table seating in the back room, it accommodates large groups nicely. Tutu’s is the definition of casual dining, with a nice selection of burgers. Time generally moves more slowly in Bushwick, so don’t expect super speedy service. On the plus side, that means you won’t feel rushed out the door either. Settle in and make a night of it.
25 Bogart St
Sun-Thu: 11:00 am -1:00 am
Fri-Sat: 11:00 am – 4:00 am
If there are just a few of you: Arepera Guacuco
This Venezuelan arepa joint has a bustling open kitchen that appears to work as rhythmically as the loud music blaring over its speakers. There are a number of creative arepas on the menu, including a vegetarian and vegan option. The Pabellon, which has shredded beef, cheese, sweet plantains and black beans is sublime. The Mariscada, a tomato-based seafood stew with an arepa on the side for dipping, is also an excellent choice. And don’t miss the popular cocada, a delightfully refreshing coconut milkshake.
44 Irving Ave
Mon-Thu: 12:00 pm – 10:30 pm
Fri: 12:00 pm – 11:30 pm
Sat:11:00 am – 11:30 pm
Sun: 11:00 am – 10:30 pm