Though it's most frequently associated with urban blight, Bushwick has evolved into a haven for artists and other creative types, with a budding gallery scene, indie music venues and foodie-approved restaurants—and on foot, you can explore much of the neighborhood in a day. We suggest heading out on a Saturday; that way, you can sit down to brunch at Northeast Kingdom(18 Wyckoff Ave at Troutman St; 718-386-3864, north-eastkingdom.com), where house favorites like the gooey French-toast bread pudding ($9) will sate your rumbling belly. Feeling stuffed afterward? Take a detour down Irving Avenue to tree-filled Maria Hernandez Park(Knickerbocker Ave between Starr and Suydam Sts; nycgovparks.org), a lush oasis surrounded by graffiti-covered brick buildings, to walk off some of the meal.
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Now that you've fueled up, stroll to the Shops at the Loom(1087 Flushing Ave at Porter Ave; 718-930-2642, shopsattheloom.com), a minimall housed in an old textile factory, for a little window shopping. Indie boutique Better Than Jam Handmade Co-Op(betterthanjamnyc.com) stocks quirky finds from local designers, including hand-cut sterling silver necklaces shaped like hearts—the organ, not the cutesy icon—by Caja Jewelry ($84). Or drool over the stylish bikes at Orphanage Moped Shop(718-389-1979, orphanagemopeds.com), which is devoted to the stylish rides. A vintage Puch Maxi or Motobecane bike (starting at $900) may not be practical, pricewise, but you'd sure look cool riding one.
Stop for a snack at tiny Mexican joint Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos(271 Starr St between St. Nicholas and Wyckoff Aves; 718-456-3422), located inside a tortilla factory. That means fresh, made-to-order shells for your tostadas ($2.50) and tacos ($2.25). (Don't stuff your face too much—you've still got some walking to do.)
The neighborhood's giant warehouses (and cheaper rents) provide the setting for Bushwick's emerging art spaces. Start off at Jason Andrew's humble apartment gallery Norte Maar(83 Wyckoff Ave at Suydam St, No. 1B; nortemaar.org), where "Boys of Bushwick," an examination of the male form, is on view through April 30. Next, head down Flushing Avenue until you hit Vandevoort Place(between Flushing Ave and Thames St), where "Bushwick Art Park," a kaleidoscopic mural by artists Jaque Fragua and Yatika Starr Fields (and curated by local gallery Factory Fresh) occupies a wall. Finally, stop off at English Kills(114 Forrest St between Central and Flushing Aves; 718-366-7323, englishkillsartgallery.com) to see "Grab Bag Sack," which features Brent Owens's intricate woodcarvings and imaginative, beastly wooden sculptures. Stick around for the exhibit's closing-night party on Saturday 16 (6--9pm) to sample some of the artist's homemade moonshine.
By now, all that walking has probably stirred up your appetite again. Grab a seat at Momo Sushi Shack(43 Bogart St between Moore and Seigel Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-418-6666, momosushishack.com), hidden behind a garage door on the Williamsburg-Bushwick border. Communal tables (which were cut from a black-walnut tree from Pennsylvania) and dim lighting create a boisterous atmosphere, while the food—like the Pork Betty, a serving of slow-cooked pork belly served with a wasabi cream sauce ($9)—is inventive.
You've got an evening of dancing ahead of you, so a little pregaming is in order. Cocktail den The Narrows(1037 Flushing Ave between Morgan Ave and Vandevoort Pl; narrowsbar.com) lives up to its name in scale, but not in the scope of its drinks. Try the Babushka, a springlike quaff that combines vodka, ginger syrup, lime juice and club soda ($7); if the weather's warm enough, sip your drink in the bar's back garden.
Boogie down at the '60s-inspired Mods Love Rockers bash on Saturday 16 (Beauty Bar, 921 Broadway between Arlon Pl and Melrose St; 347-529-0370, thebeautybar.com; 10pm; free), where soul, garage rock and rockabilly tunes are spun by DJs Jaime K (of the Nouvellas) and Captain Heartlock. If your well-crafted buzz from the Narrows is starting to wear off, console yourself with a $4 well drink.
Wind down (and sop up some of that booze) with a heavy serving of carbs at hole-in-the-wall storefront Arancini Bros.(940 Flushing Ave between Central and Evergreen Aves; 718-418-6347), which doles out Italian-inspired rice balls to a late-night crowd. Six varieties ($3 each) of the fried delicacy are always available—if it's on the lineup, grab a Nutella-stuffed treat to nibble as you head back to the subway.