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Hart Street Block Burgeons Overnight

By Meredith Hoffman | August 13, 2012 9:15am

BUSHWICK — For the past 38 years Edward Dejesus has lived and worked on Hart Street, and he has been dubbed by fellow residents as "the Mayor" of the block off Wilson Avenue. But this summer, he senses the biggest shift he's witnessed yet — all he has to do is look around.

"I'm surprised, it's just totally changing," Dejesus remarked recently on his stoop.

This summer the residential block is welcoming new condos and shops that are morphing the face of the longtime residential strip, he said.

Not only did Molasses Books just arrive on the block as Bushwick's first bookstore, but a giant Deals store is about to open on the corner, and a five-story condo building has also just begun construction. The kids' shop Happy Days is also about to open around the corner on Wilson Avenue, and Dejesus said he believed the stores' and condos' investments were just the beginning.

"It's good, the people moving in are polite," he said, noting that the changes began with the Knick condos, a 49-unit, three-building development on the corner of Hart Street and Wilson Avenue that opened two years ago with amenities that include a rooftop lounge and gym.

But, he said, many of his neighbors are starting to relocate, due to the rent increases that are now reaching this section of Bushwick.

"I used to have an old jalopy here," he said, "but now this street is full of fancy cars, just look."

Marvin Mann, who has owned property for 40 years on Wilson Avenue, also noted the sudden rapid change in the slice of Bushwick by the DeKalb L train stop, as did other residents in the area, who said they were unsure how the new developments might affect their block.

"It's all an upgrade definitely," said Mann. "It's the next stop on the L train," he said, comparing it to the Jefferson L train stop where a health food store and several bars and cafes already abound.

"And you know what they call the L train? The Love train. All those young people."