A view of the former St. Catherine's hospital site, former factories and a history of the Greenpoint hospital site are just some of the reference points visitors on the Discover Williamsburg (Greenpoint and Old Bushwick) walking tour had on Sunday, May 6, as local historian John Dereszewski led them through Williamsburg, Bushwick and Greenpoint.
Tour participants studied old pictures as the learned of the neighborhood's history and stopped to take a look at old homes dating back to the 1800s.
The tour also placed emphasis on the local organization St. Nick's Alliance, which has helped the neighborhood develop throughout the years.
Highlights included Renaissance Center, Dutch Colonial, Jennings Hall, St. Nicholas RC Church, Old Bushwick Source, 3rd Ward, Cooper Park and a discussion about the rapid growth of Williamsburg from its industrial beginnings to the new artist enclave it is currently known for.
The tour ended at the Arts@Renaissance were walkers met Jill Sigman, an artist building Hut #7 in partnership with local residents.
Dereszewski was born in Greenpoint, and while he no longer lives there he often comes back to North Brooklyn to host tours.
He enjoys giving people a visual of the old neighborhood, for example when the LIRR once ran near the Greenpoint/Williamsburg border, and of when Bushwick used to be a pastural area with a population of about 1,000 people.