By Tobias Salinger
Chickens are ubiquitous in Bushwick, from its bodegas to its bistros. It’s a neighborhood where a live poultry store is not far from a Michelin-rated restaurant. This clucking resident has endured the neighborhood’s transition to a haven for foodies.
From the rotisserie birds at the local shops to the eggs distributed free on Sundays at Bushwick City Farm, the chicken appeals to residents old and new. A tour of Bushwick chickens demonstrates that this fowl won’t be migrating down the L anytime soon.
This coop on Broadway run by the Bushwick City Farm has been a surprise near the subway tracks since volunteers cleared out a vacant lot to make way for it in 2008.
Sonia Gullo receives a takeout order of "Pollo a la Brasa" at her Puerto Rican restaurant, Fiesta Chicken, on Wyckoff Avenue. She was taking a request for 30 chickens, which she said was "either for a baptism or a communion."
Dozens of chickens, guinea fowl, ducks and other birds clamor in crowded cages at one of two small live poultry stores next door to each other on Linden Street. Customers select the ones they want before workers in aprons and surgical masks take them away.
Chef Nabil Hajaji tops off his poultry in a buttery anise glaze with roasted carrots and squash. "The kitchen is open," said Hajaji. "You can see what we are cooking and the ingredients we use." The bistro serving foods from around the world on Central Avenue is one of several small eateries that have opened in recent years.
Chicken is always on the menu at the monthly Community Board meetings at Hope Gardens Multi-Service Center. The meetings don't begin until everyone's had a chance to get some free food.
Local residents say this KFC over by the Myrtle-Wyckoff station has been a fixture. "It's been here since I was 16," said Dianne Soriano on a recent Saturday. "And I'm 48 years old." The chicken franchise sits across the street from a McDonald's, a Dunkin' Donuts and city-subsidized fruit stands.
The rotisserie chickens at Fiesta chicken are seasoned in garlic, oil and salt and roasted over a spit for an hour and a half.
Another live poultry store proclaims it sells the best chicken in Bushwick on St. Nicholas Avenue by the Jefferson Street L station. Signs for chicken are all over the neighborhood.
A Dominican mainstay just across the Ridgewood line known as Caribe Star Restaurant serves up grilled chicken in garlic sauce with a side of fried plantains.
About two dozen chickens, two guinea fowl and a goose named Petunia live in two small coops tucked away on Broadway at Bushwick City Farm. Volunteer coop manager Jason Reis feeds Petunia as neighborhood resident Jacob takes care of the other birds.