Not only is Bushwick the new Williamsburg, but a tech company is claiming the old Williamsburg is now a part of its in-vogue neighbor, city designations be damned.
The internet corporation Livestream says its new headquarters in the Morgan Avenue building that formerly housed crafts hub 3rd Ward is actually part of Bushwick despite copious evidence to the contrary. Company head Max Haot made a point of setting his enterprise apart from Williamsburg, saying that the ’hood and Greenpoint are overpriced, unlike the bohemian-friendly industrial expanses of what he calls Bushwick.
“We found that it was extremely hard in Greenpoint and Williamsburg to find a place,” Livestream head Max Haot told our reporter.
“Then I moved myself to Buswhick,” he said, referring to his pad next door to the posh pizzeria Roberta’s, which is also claiming Bushwick. “I loved the area and there is so much creativity and so many artistic entrepreneurs.”
“It’s a classic Bushwick story of more space and more creativity,” he added later in the interview.
The attempted verbal annexation marks a shift from the prevailing geographical sentiment among businesspeople in 2010, when realtors were pitching addresses on the Maria Hernandez Park side of Flushing Avenue as part of “East Williamsburg” in an effort to re-brand Bushwick as a part of the riverside neighborhood that was then synonymous with hipster cool.
Livestream’s new home between Meadow and Stagg streets, in addition to falling within the city’s East Williamsburg Industrial Zone, a designation created in 1986 to retain factories by giving their owners tax credits, sits firmly within Community Board 1, which offers opinions on issues affecting Williamsburg and Greenpoint. When our scribe pointed out the latter fact to a Livestream representative, she countered that the city has never demarcated official neighborhood boundaries and made the case for Bushwick being more a state of mind than a discrete place in Kings County.
“As you know, New York City does not have official neighborhood boundaries and some informal boundaries are often contested, as is the case with Bushwick,” said spokeswoman Alejandra Soto. “The area north of Flushing Avenue, east of Bushwick Avenue, and south of Grand Street is often referred to as ‘industrial Bushwick.’ But more importantly, the building is historically connected to the people, art community, and industrial community of Bushwick.”
This is far from the first bit of confusion over what to call the area now that many of its factory buildings house practice spaces, bars, and loft apartments. A musician we spoke to when analyzing Google’s neighborhood boundaries had zero doubt about what neighborhood his studio four blocks from Livestream’s digs belongs to.
“Of course this is Bushwick,” Kevin Hillard said then.
Google, for what it is worth, places both structures in East Williamsburg.
The debate dates back at least as far as 2007, when 20-something bohemians insisted on calling the area Bushwick.
— with Danielle Furfaro