Once-Gritty Bushwick, Brooklyn Is Turning Into A Hipster Paradise [PHOTOS]

BushwickGent (17 of 24)Harrison JacobsThe Bushwick Collective has brought attractive street art to neighbourhood buildings.

As the rents in Williamsburg, Brooklyn have skyrocketed, young professionals have been begun to retreat deeper along the L train to Bushwick.

For better or worse, the result has been rapid gentrification.

From 2000 to 2010, the number of white residents in North Bushwick has nearly doubled and the number of Asian residents has increased nearly fivefold. Just in the last two years, the average rent for a studio has increased 27 per cent. The serious crime rate has dropped from 36% in 2000 to 24.4% as of 2011.

Now everywhere you look there are juice bars, organic markets, craft beer stores, bike shops, and more things that hipsters love. Best of all, the rents are still relatively cheap.

The pace of new restaurants and cafes opening over the last year has been furious. Cafeteria La Mejor, which serves Cuban food and specialty coffee, opened in September 2012.

Cafe Ghia was opened in 2011 by two locals who have lived in the area for nearly a decade. It is a popular brunch location.

Northeast Kingdom is one of the stalwarts of the Bushwick restaurant scene, having opened in 2005. It serves seasonal farm-to-table home-cooking and has received rave reviews from New York magazine and Timeout New York.

Owl Juice Pub, owned by Bushwick natives Leticia Castillo and Carmen Valerio, is reportedly the favourite coffee shop of actor Ben Stiller.

The two also own the popular 108 Central Cafe. Both cafes serve coffee, fresh juice, and Bushwick-themed sandwiches.

New organic supermarkets such as Hana Natural Health have begun to compete with neighbourhood staples like Associated Supermarkets and Key Food.

Inside you'll find high-priced fare such as aged cheeses, fresh sushi, organic meats, and all the specialty products that Brooklynites love (kambucha, kale, vegan substitutes).

Recently, clothing stores have begun to pop up around the neighbourhood. Worship was the fourth clothing store to open since June.

Featuring vintage clothing in addition to new fashion, Worship is run by two former members of Brooklyn punk band The K-Holes. It opened in August.

Joseph Ficalora, a lifelong resident of Bushwick, founded The Bushwick Collective, an outdoor street art gallery. As part of the project, famous NYC graffiti artists and international painters have legally tagged up buildings all over Bushwick.

The area around the Jefferson stop has attracted a lively bar scene, including Cobra Club (pictured), Pearl's Social And Billy Club, and Three Diamond Door.

During the day, Cobra Club doubles as a cafe and houses a yoga studio in the basement.

Numerous music venues have flocked to the industrial part of Bushwick. Shea Stadium, open since 2009, is one of the most popular.

No Brooklyn gentrification would be complete without vinyl records. Heaven Street Records was originally located in Williamsburg but has since moved further back into Bushwick.

Vinyl Fantasy is the newest record shop in the area, having opened last month. It will host monthly art openings and will soon boast a comics section.

Shops at The Loom is a converted textile mill that is now a mini-mall in Bushwick. In development since 2005, it finally opened in 2010.

There are 20 shops at the Loom, including a yoga studio, a community darkroom, a store that sells yarn and knitting supplies, and a screen-printing/skateboard shop.

Also in the Loom, the Kave Espresso bar doubles as an event space, hosting weekly open mics and standup. During the day, it is usually packed with freelancers typing away on their laptops.

Hops and Hocks just opened three weeks ago, serving 'artisanal provisions,' including draft beer, charcuterie, fresh breads, and other supplies.

Blake Jordan, the manager of Hops and Hocks, called the recent development a 'double-edged sword.' He said the influx of affluent people would likely bring in more customers for the store, but that a lot of Bushwick's charm comes from its mix of people.

Some Bushwick residents that used to open businesses in Manhattan are seeing the opportunity in their own neighbourhood. The Sampler, a craft beer emporium that opened this past June, is owned by Jorge Arias, a Bushwick resident who also owns The Wine Hut in Soho.

The Sampler features 250 types of beer and 18 on tap. It will be hosting brewery openings and beer tasting classes. Manager Rafael Martinez said that they hope to create 'a community around beer.'

With the influx of new residents has come new development. 1099 Willoughby opened this past year, featuring luxury apartments with granite countertops and a 23-car parking lot.

The Read Property group has recently been trying develop the former site of Rheingold Brewery (now mostly abandoned lots and unused buildings). It has met fierce opposition from those in the community.

The proposed development would include eight high-rise luxury apartment buildings that would house nearly 1,000 apartments. On the ground level would be retail space.

As Bushwick is gentrifying, so are many other parts of New York.

Park Slope is extremely gentrified. Williamsburg is so popular it may become passé. Fort Greene has become a great place for families. Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights, like Bushwick, are slightly further off, inhabited primarily by long-time residents.

Gentrification is also spreading north in Manhattan. Check out what is happening in East Harlem >

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