Remember the not-too-distant past when art, food, and community news were reported to you by your neighbors who actually have stepped foot in Bushwick? That was great. We were all plugged in.
When we review local eateries, it's not just to fill in the "boroughs" index of a Manhattan-centric magazine -- these are our places. We profile you and your neighbors in all you do, bringing perspective and humanity to this realest section of Brooklyn. We've reported on political sleaze, brought you detailed community board run-downs, and explained the economics of "loosies." With us you can see at a glance what events are taking place every day in detail you will not find anywhere else.
If we have learned anything from our years in Bushwick, it's that you don't have to be a for-profit business to get things done -- in fact, this is often an impediment. Let's toss out the profit mode and fling ourselves into mutualism, inspired by the great cooperative organizations in our neighborhood.
And the best news is yet to come. When we make our goal, we plan to actually expand on what we did before. More features, more investigations, more community news.
What the HELL do you need $40,000 for??
We're not a blog (anymore). We have actual reporters spending hours writing stories unique to Bushwick. It's real journalism, it's not just spewing snark from our dining room table. That takes time, footwork, and research, so we pay our skilled writers and photographers.
Data entry -- someone's gotta do it -- is real work; filling and maintaining our interactive profile map of restaurants, bars, galleries, groceries, and more, is no simple feat. And making sure it functions correctly is also important -- our back end requires the skills of a professional programmer to keep it snappy.
We know 40K is a spicy meatball. But it's also a test of what can be done. We need to know that the community is willing to support our work. This is a huge undertaking! For more detailed budget information, please see our FAQ below.
Some of our sweet local rewards
Reproductions of real postcards from the turn of the last century, all from Bushwick. The South Bushwick Dutch Reformed Church, built in 1853, was old even when this postcard (center) was made. The others show Arion Hall (now the Opera Lofts), the entrance to the Cemetery of the Evergreens, the corner of Broadway and Myrtle, and a block of Broadway shot from Halsey. These are touched up by us and reprinted at A.J. Bart and Sons, a Bushwick lithographer's studio that's been in business on Johnson for decades. Mail them to your friends and family -- wish you were here!
All $10 and up rewards include a pack of these!
A beautiful hand-screened poster of a flight of New York Flyer pigeons over Bushwick rooftops, designed by Ray Cross of Bushwick Print Lab, adapted from a photo by Alexander Yerks. Ray will be blending the colors by hand, resulting in a slightly different August sky on each print. A signed and numbered edition on 19x25" French paper.
Skewville: the friendliest guys in street art for fifteen years, and two of the minds behind Factory Fresh (along with Ali Ha) and the Bushwick Art Park. The Bushwick Print Lab: silkscreen experts of Troutman Street and (occasionally) Zuccotti Park. Together they bring you the Bushwick News mission statement, hand screened on an American-made Tultex shirt in unisex and women's sizes.
You can also get Skewville's art on grocery-hauling raw canvas. Or go for the Stuffed Tote if you want it full of other loot!
A digital bundle of albums by some of our favorite local bands. Pass Kontrol’s latest, B38, named in honor of the bus that runs down DeKalb; Old Monk’s Birds of Belize, now with three bonus tracks; Envelope curator and Absolutely Kosher artist Chris Garneau’s El Radio; cassette aficionados I’m Turning Into’s Parcels of Marbles; NPR-featured band Mindtroll’s EP 2.
Local businesses are also offering their own products as a perk to our donors. For just $5, Little Skips will throw in a cappuccino, the best you can get in Bushwick. Also for $5, have any tap/draft beverage on the house at Bodega or Cafe Ghia, or for $10, two free desserts with your next meal at Life Cafe. And for $15, have lunch on Central Cafe: a small coffee and any of their delicious sandwiches. Quantitites are limited, so claim your prize!
See the Bodega crew's pitch for The Bushwick News!
A certified vegan combo! Any of Pine Box Rock Shop's crispy fried delicious vegan empanadas and your choice of draft beverage! There are three varieties: Philly Cheese (seitan, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, Daiya cheese), Black Bean (black beans, Daiya cheese, sweet plantains), and Jamaican Jerk (spicy veggie jerk, collard greens, rice and peas).
Circo's Bakery, a family-owned Sicilian bakery operating at the same location for over 70 years, makes everything from humble anisette toasts and sfogliatelle to elaborate cakes and giant cannoli. That last item -- the Family Cannoli -- is four dozen mini and regular-sized cannoli sealed up inside a large cannoli shell, and owner Sal was generous enough to donate 4 of them to the cause. Pick yours up for your next party, and say hi to Sal.
Yvette Ramos has a cookie obsession. She has a 9-5 job and then comes home and makes stunningly decorated confections in her kitchen, usually giving them to friends and family at various events. To help The Bushwick News get back on its feet, she's giving us 50 four packs of cookies in the image of the four subway lines that serve Bushwick - J, M, Z, and L.
A bit more about Yvette in her own words: "My parents came over from Ecuador in the 70s and raised four of us right here in Bushwick. I am now living in the same building I grew up in with my husband and my own two kids!"
Save the life of a vivero chicken! If you don't have a backyard, Bushwick City Farm will pick up your chicken and give it a home at its new Stockton Street farm. City Farm runs several mini urban farms in the area, engaging the neighbors and giving away their produce. The Stockton Street location is their largest and most ambitious and will need plenty of egg-laying chickens.
John Dereszewski, having steeped himself in the minutest details of Bushwick's history, will give a tour of the shifting borders between Bushwick and Ridgewood over the centuries. John was on the community board in the 70s and has been active in the neighborhood ever since. He has given many tours and is donating yet more of his valuable time to the cause of community news. The tour is scheduled for May 5 and again on May 12.
This 1978 Peugeot bike has been locked to the fence at The Bushwick News HQ for over 8 months, callously orphaned far from its mother factory in France. We rescued it and -- after a thorough check for its owner -- had the Bushwick Bike Shop soup it up for its next owner. All the original details and seals remain, but all the accessories have been upgraded -- it rides like air.
Manufactured in Shanghai since 1958, Phoenix (凤凰) is the most luxurious of the three famous bicycle brands of China, and the bike traditionally gifted to visiting heads of state. This one was hand-carried back from the vast market city of Yiwu, which we visited for the story Around the World for 99 Cents. It's brand new and tuned up by the Bushwick Bike Shop.
Not feeling quite ready to throw yourself out into New York's merciless streets? How about this 70s vintage exercise bike donated by Second Stroke Mopeds on Broadway? It's been collecting dust in a Bushwick basement for decades -- won't you give it a new home?
Bushwick art legend Austin Thomas ran Pocket Utopia gallery on Flushing Avenue for two years back in the aughts, showcasing the work of dozens of local artists. She herself has been in many exhibitions around the country and locally at Norte Maar and Storefront Bushwick.
She's donating her collage, "Under Constructed Collage, 2011" to the Bushwick News cause. The piece is currently on view at Heiner Contemporary in Washington, D.C.
11"x 8 1/2", Pen, pencil and collage on paper
Deborah Brown is a busy lady. She's the owner of Storefront gallery on Wilson, has a studio on Bogart, and is on the community board -- her husband even runs an orthodontic practice on Stockholm. In 2008 she collaborated with Austin Thomas of now-defunct Pocket Utopia, an early light in Bushwick's art scene, on a print titled "Bird in Bushwick," depicting a cardinal launching itself off a cluster of powerlines. One of the prints hangs now in The Bushwick News HQ on Central Avenue. Debbie has donated 15 of the prints to get us back up and running.
Meryl Meisler was an art teacher in early-80s Bushwick. In her time here, she photographed the blocks around her school in the heart of the neighborhood as they lay in ruins after years of fires. Fresh from the exhibit Here I Am: Bushwick in the 1980s at Soho Photo Gallery in December, this 13x19" archival print of a soon-to-be-demolished 226 Linden, between Wilson and Knickerbocker, shows a time remembered by many, but recorded by few.
Local artist and interior designer Lauren Lombardo is offering her amazing 4x4-foot abstract painting "July Anthology."
Get some Bushwick wood bling from local streetwear accessories designers GoodWoodNYC. This pendant necklace of the map of Bushwick (using official community board boundaries) includes the street grid -- look at Myrtle swoop across that tropical yellowheart wood! It's 2.5" wide with a black ball chain necklace.
Ausra Bankauskaite and Mante Maskoliunaite studied jewelry design in their native Lithuania and began their "aka Jewellery" line there. They're now based in Bushwick and are offering their completely hand-forged silver jewelry as rewards! The women's work skirts the "fine line between art and jewelry," using unconventional materials like rubber, medical glass, and even colored pencils.
"We design them, make our own silver alloy, we forge it, solder and finish, all by our own hands. So in a way every piece that we make is unique and not like any other," Ausra says. Click here see closer views of the available pieces.
Jennifer Lilya is a local fashion illustrator who dabbles in collage -- she did the collage work at Pine Box Rock Shop. She is offering two more one-of-a-kind
5 1/2" x 7" x 2 1/2" collage boxes, with UV-resistant protective gloss to prevent yellowing. The last one went instantly, so snap them up! (Preference for one or the other? When you pledge, send a note on which one you'd prefer).
Get a professional portrait shoot with our star photographer Devvon Simpson. Band shots, headshots, your own pin-up calendar, killer new Facebook profile pics, whatever you want!
Get a piece of vintage junk from DiMola Bros. Rubbish Removal, selected by Nick DiMola from his Museum of Garbage. DiMola has collected all the great stuff he's been hired to remove from homes and businesses over the years -- check out the photos in this writeup of his shop.
Nick is also offering a pew he salvaged from an old church in the Bronx, which comes with a small mystery. A plaque marks it as the Deacon's bench, but a cruciform rosette fell off of one side, revealing a Star of David carved underneath, and suggesting an older history. Ask us for more photos. 37.5" high, 17.5" wide, 100" long. Delivery included within the city!
Who are we?
Our crew is and will be much more than this list, but these are the characters directly involved in bringing this project to life:
Jeremy Sapienza, founder and editor
Jeremy started BushwickBK in 2007 as a semi-personal blog about his block, shortly after he moved to the hood. Pedigree: All four of his grandparents were from the Bronx.
Paul Cox, features editorPaul moved to Bushwick in 2009 after a stint in London, where he wrote for Londonist. He's a freelance anthropologist, and his other gigs allow him to seek out fragments of Bushwick as far away as China.
Jonathan Mena, crime and fire
Jon is from Queens and is at the scene when something burns or blows up, or someone is stabbed or smacked down. Plus he just had a baby so keep that in mind. *precious moments eyes*
Aaron Short, reporter
Aaron: local politics nerd. Character about town. Sharp dresser. He'll get the story whether you want to give it to him or not.
Amanda Farah, musicUnlike many New Yorkers, Amanda loves the loud noises her neighbors make. She writes about indie rock for various UK and US publications, but likes it best when she can write about Bushwick music in all its unsigned, rooftop, plastic-cup, DIY glory.
Devvon Simpson and Francis Damian Arpaia, photo and videoThey have the equipment, skills, and passion that bring Bushwick into full color.