A taste of American culture: Bushwick Beer, Bites & Street Art #InstaWalk
*It’s important to know that this is not a paid post. I whole heartedly feel that Jessica offers quality tours and photo safaris that reveal a unique perspective of New York.
Is Brooklyn worth the hype? After moving to Brooklyn last summer I wanted to get to know the Bushwick neighborhood a bit more. I reached out to Jessie and booked her Beer, BItes & Street Art #Instawalk Bushwick tour!
Jessie is a New Yorker and certified New York City tour guide who calls Bushwick home. She was able to pinpoint details in the architecture and explain some of the history behind the ‘old Bushwick’. in a way I couldn’t appreciate merely exploring the area myself. I hate some tours for the way they parade you around like a flock of blind sheep, begging to be entertained. This, is nothing like that.
Jessie has relationships with everyone from a new local business owner to the guy working at the bodega down the street. Meeting these local entrepreneurs, artists, and everyday people helped me appreciate the identity of this sprawling, eclectic neighborhood. For me, the most important factor when exploring a new country, city, or neighborhood is getting an authentic sense of the people and the culture of that unique place. I was able to get that sense of Bushwick…and I loved the neighborhood right from the get go.
for a taste of the ever-changing NEW YORK…
When friends and family first roll through New York City, as they do, they usually want to spend the day popping from one tourist site to the next…but what their second or third visit? What about getting to know the real New York? Is that not what people want to see?
Heraclitis said, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man”. He must have been thinking of Brooklyn. This borough has been changing at an incredible rate and will continue to do so. ‘Gentrification’ is the buzz word affecting cities all over the States right now, but especially Brooklyn. This is the perfect time to try a Bushwick tour (before it turns into the next Williamsburg)!
Here’s a glimpse at some of my favorite moments from the Bushwick Beer, Bites & Street Art #Instawalk…
The DIY Cappuccino!
Call me pretentious, but I actually only drink cappuccinos when it comes to coffee! While there are a million places to find a good cappuccino in BK, you’ll be hard pressed to find a spot that’s novel enough to teach you how to make your own! The passionate, genuine baristas are so knowledgeable and really enjoy sharing their espresso knowledge with coffee-lovers like me!
A Surprising story
I don’t wan’t to spoil it, but I”ll just share a snippet of the story that Jessica shared about Bushwick that really shocked me.
It was a blackout. The power went out in Bushwick for one day in 1977 and people throughout the boroughs looted, pillaged and set the city on fire. When the power returned, Bushwick, like many other NYC neighborhoods, was left in shambles just before the crack epidemic began a few years later. Bushwick is still recovering. The ‘good news’ is that this neighborhood is being gentrified by the young professionals, artists and the creative-minded who are flooding in and rebuilding the neighborhood.
taking in eclectic homegrown art
This community art hub has a unique voice that I want to hear more of. Step through the gallery space that features anything from video installations to black and white photography to discover what might be the coolest hidden outdoor patio in BK. Art covers every inch of this secret nook. It’s an awesome spot and is highly photogenic! …and highly Instagrammable! #NYCInAFlash
Discovering bushwick’s impressive outdoor art gallery
Like street art? The beauty of exploring the Bushwick Collective‘s public pieces with Jessie is the stories and significance that she is able to share about the artists and the meaningful moments from which they were inspired. They come to life and you feel the connection between the mural and where it lives. This area feels like Berlin with its awesome art scene!
Beer Pairing, Cured Meat, & Cheeses…Is this Brooklyn or heaven?
1, watermelon/dragon eyes,
2, mac and cheese, and
3, super fine prosciutto…with wine if you’re asking!
This adorable little shop offers an amazing selection of prosciutto and other high quality cured meats and cheeses. Their craft beer selection is on tap and represents a lot of local breweries. It’s untouchable.
I’m sort of a wine-o so I’m big on wine pairings but had never experienced a beer pairing before! Welp, it turns out it’s just as incredible! These pairings are absolute perfection, some of which feel so creative, I’d never think to put together. The fatty, melt-in-your-mouth prosciutto was clearly my favorite. It was actually, hands down, the best I’ve ever had…and that beats acorn-fed jamón at some ‘fancy shmance’ place in Spain, a country where even doctors recommend eating more jamón for the sake of your health… Needless to say, I’ll be making future visits to this hidden gem!
We ended the day with organic chocolate and other secret treats, which was the best way to end my day of guided exploring! I was a bit tipsy from the beer samples and enjoying the feeling of satisfaction, having gotten a great first impression of this sprawling and diverse Brooklyn neighborhood in just a few hours.
“After decades of visiting NYC and mostly just exploring downtown to midtown, I stepped out of my comfort zone (albeit, carefully) by engaging Jessie for a custom, morning tour of Bushwick in Brooklyn. Her neighborhood knowledge is first rate and she asked what I wanted to see and photograph and adjusted the tour on the fly to make the experience even better for me that day. Give her a shot!” -Rusty, California
My best, most memorable travel experiences are always those that give me a true sense of place; when I can imagine what my life would be like if I drank coffee in that café every morning, exchanged greetings with the barista, and sat at my regular table. These kinds of experiences come from meeting locals. Swapping stories with them and becoming part of their world, even for just an afternoon, is what I love most. That
It was really nice to be able to have this kind of ‘cultural’ immersion in the very city and borough where I live, in a neighborhood that might not be my own but that I now love and want to get to know better.
I went home with a warm feeling in my belly, a smile on my face, feeling energized with my whole Saturday night in New York ahead of me.
If you want to book a ‘Bushwick Beer, Bites & Street Art #InstaWalk’ or other NYC photo safari…
Background Bio: NYC Tours & Photo Safaris was launched in 2014 by native New Yorker and travel blogger Jessica Festa as a service of her blog, Jessie on a Journey. After receiving countless emails from readers asking her to show them around NYC, she decided to become a certified guide and offer tours professionally, mainly Custom Photo Safaris (private tours that included bespoke itineraries, high res images of the group and photography guidance if requested) and Photo Follows (unguided tours with a local photographer following the group around NYC and snapping away). In 2016, she’s decided to grow the brand by giving it a new home at nycphotosafaris.co and adding a new public tour, the Bushwick Beer, Bites & Street Art #InstaWalk.