Spring in New York City has a reputation of being quite elusive. One day will be cold and dark, followed by bright sun and skyrocketing temps the next. But as any East Coast resident can attest to, having a taste of all four seasons (and even those moments in between) are part of the joy of living in this city.
This spring looks a little different than seasons’ past, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still explore your thriving neighborhood. Here, we’ve rounded up just a few ideas to help you and your roomies get some sun, get acquainted with your surroundings, and stay safe, too.
About the ‘hood
Community is clearly at the heart of Common’s mission – isn’t loving your neighbor what coliving is all about? This is why we’re so excited to have several homes in Bushwick, which has become the epicenter of up-and-coming artistry and a nucleus for creatives in Brooklyn. But it’s important to remember that prior to this infusion, the neighborhood has long been a home to a thriving immigrant community. The 1960s in particular saw an influx of people from southern Black and Puerto Rican populations, and their cultural contribution is still a key part of the neighborhood’s fabric. This means that as a Bushwick resident, there’s loads of local, family-owned restaurants and businesses that are worth your attention!
Where to eat
Little Skips, opened in 2009, became a Bushwick institution, thanks to its mission to become a community space for artists and creatives. While the original coffee-shop-meets-arts-space has since closed, it’s little sister site Baby Skips is thriving. A woman and immigrant owned business, Baby Skips (1158 Myrtle Ave) is serving up fresh, locally-roasted coffee and vibrant vegan bowls that are the perfect way to start your day. Not only is the coffee bomb, but this local spot also seriously values sustainability and social responsibility, so visit supports their ongoing donation of proceeds to the Black Lives Matter organization.
Plant-based cafe, restaurant and – prior to lockdown, a live music venue – Bunna Cafe (1084 Flushing Ave) is required eating. The owners started their business as a pop-up that shared the tradition of Ethopian coffee ceremonies with Brooklynites, serving coffee from three of the country’s most well-known growing regions: Yirgacheffe, Harar, and Sidamo. The joy of Ethopian food is that it’s perfect for sharing, so bring your roommates along and make it a “pod” affair. Beyaynetu is vegetarian Ethiopain food, usually a mixed platter of veggies and curries that you eat by scooping it up into injera, a flat bread, with your hands. Bunna Cafe is currently serving their signature Beyaynetu in a convenient takeout pizza box, so grab a blanket and meet your roommates in Maria Hernandez park for a picnic.
After your lunch in the park, make sure you grab a paleta from Gaby’s Bakery (238 Knickerbocker Ave). Paletas are Mexican fruit popsicles, usually made with a blend of fresh fruit and yogurt or condensed milk for a refreshing treat. There’s really nothing quite like eating a popsicle in the park on a warm day. But, if you’re not in the mood for something frozen, Gaby’s is fully stocked with baked goods, so get fresh churros to go instead.
Where to drink
Evil Twin Brewing (161 George St.), while technically in Ridgewood, is just off the L train Halsey stop and is the perfect outdoor spot to gather with your roomies and catch up over drinks. This local brewery has courtyard seating or beer available for pickup, so the choice is up to you. What makes Evil Twin special is their frequent collabs with other local brewers, so it’s a great gateway to Brooklyn’s independent beer-makers.
Fun fact: Prior to breweries like Evil Twin popping up in 2010, Bushwick was the beer-producing epicenter of the East Coast, thanks to German settlers. Prior to the Prohibition era, Brooklyn was actually producing up to 30% of the nation’s beer!
If you’re looking for a midday boost that’s not of the alcoholic variety, then stop into Milk & Pull (181 Irving Ave) for a coffee. Founded by a husband and wife duo, both native to New York, this little cafe is open for pickup, so place orders for you and your roommates before you head out. Inspired by traditional NYC fare, they’re also known for their signature bagel sandwiches.
If you’re in the mood for drinks and a show, then take your pod to a rooftop comedy at The Tiny Cupboard (1717 Broadway). This venue is a self-described “hipster comedy club” that’s been able to continue to put on shows thanks to it’s spacious roof! Prior to lockdown, they prided themselves on being on the world’s smallest venues, and for cultivating a space to help local artists and creatives thrive.
Thrift your heart out
Bushwick has awesome vintage: this is a fact. Start your hunt at the vintage mecca that is Urban Jungle (118 Knickerbocker Ave), part of the family-owned L-train Vintage chain of shops just off the Morgan Ave subway stop. This location just recently expanded – as if they weren’t already big enough – to include two huge connected spaces. If you find thrifting overwhelming then this is the place for you, because products are organized in easy-to-search-through categories, so you’ll find long racks of denim jackets, blazer, or button-down shirts to help you guide your search.
Beacon’s Closet has a reputation for being the most discernible of all the buy/sell/trade chains here in the city, but that means that it’s packed with real treasures. Their Bushwick location (23 Bogart St) has been known to house high-end designer pieces (Versace, Celine) to showroom samples from cool contemporary brands (think Loeffler Randall) and a stunning assortment of leather jackets all year-round. The best strategy is to bring a friend or roommate with you and divide and conquer – assign each person a corner of the store, then meet at the fitting room to review your finds!
Where to get moving
Socially distanced? Check. Free to play? Check again! Grab a friend and some rackets and meet at the tennis courts in Cooper Park (Maspeth Ave). On the weekends, they might be claimed early by regulars, but you and your doubles partner can sip a coffee while you wait for your turn to play. And instead of ordering online with 2-day shipping, try to stop into a local sporting goods store to pick up your equipment instead. It’s the small choices like this, to support your local community, that make all the difference in the end.
Make Bushwick your home
The best place to enjoy the spring sunshine in Bushwick: your own private rooftop at Common Gates. Our Bushwick coliving home is fully-furnished and all-inclusive, with WiFi, utilities, household essentials, and more included in your rent. Without the stress of splitting bills with roommates, or spending your first few Sundays at IKEA, you can enjoy the best that Bushwick has to offer in your free time. Book a tour today!