Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
Bedford-Stuyvesant, popularly known as Bed-Stuy, is located in central Brooklyn, nudging up against ultra cool Williamsburg to the north and complex Crown Heights to the south. Its charming and renovated brownstones have been attracting newcomers priced out of Brooklyn hotspots. Bed-Stuy's past unsavory reputation has improved greatly and a strong neighborhood community is blooming. There's plenty of fast food and bargain shopping on Fulton St., while foodie restaurants continue to pop up at an ever increasing pace.
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It's all Goodness…E F
Bedford Stuyvesant is one of the last genuine neighborhoods of New York. It is ethnically diverse and accepting of newcomers. People are extremely friendly and constantly greeting strangers and friends alike from their stoops. I have been in a lot of “brownstone” Brooklyn and there is no stoop culture quite as active as in Bed-Ford. Call it the public living room it’s where families will hangout saying hi to neighbors, enjoying a coffee, reading the paper and strike up a conversation with many total strangers. Passerby’s say good morning, good afternoon, good day and smile, while others sit for hours as if on watch and records the day’s passage. I have seen the neighborhood continue to change for the better even despite the recession, it’s really remarkable. Artists continue to move here, it’s starting to become a creative haven along side Bushwich as the artists are priced out of Willamsburg. Boutiques and new restaurants continue to open, along with the arrival of students looking for affordable housing. They will mix with families who have lived here for 2 or 3 generations and can tell you stories of yesteryear, who lived in your house, what they ate and the sent of their sweet perfume.
The Historic factor is Bedford Stuyvesant is also remarkable, the neighborhood is stocked with block after block of Brownstone townhouses covered in tree lined streets. Several new districts of Bedford are being considered for Landmark Preservation Districts because of their rich architectural heritage. One things for sure if you spend enough time in here you understand a great deal about life in real New York. There is crime and you have to be careful as anywhere in NYC, there are limited restaurants of trend and organic markets. However you’ll be able to leave your pretentiousness at home, forget about needing your triple latte macchiato, learn to cook, learn to garden and learn how to be a good neighbor and that’s something you can’t get at Starbucks
I have lived here for 4 years now and have seen steady improvement in this area. When I first moved in there were no dinning options and maybe 1 cafe. In the last 4 years over 100 new businesses (yes I have counted) have opened and you can find just about any type of food here: Thai, Japanese, Filipino, Italian, Indian, French, Soul Food, Southern, Creole, BBQ, Brunch, pizza, bakeries, specialty (dough)nuts, Caribbean, etc. Yelp is a great tool to find new places in the neighborhood: http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=&find_loc=Bedford+Stuyvesant%2C+Brooklyn%2C+NY#bbox=-73.96459579467773,40.67198047947061,-73.93876075744629,40.68831821478072
The bar and lounge options have increase dramatically as well, as have the grocery options. Still we are lacking a great organic market but the Greene Hill Food Coop will change that when it opens in Sept 2011 and there are a handful of smaller markets, plus the BED STUY farm share and delis are starting to carry organic foods as well. Food Town is a suburban style grocery that has a large organic section and there are fresh fruit and vegetable stands along Fulton Street between Classon Ave and Stuyvesant Ave.
However, I think the most important decision is what part of Bed Stuy to live in as some blocks and areas are still a little sketchy. As a general rule of thumb the safest areas are the Southwest part of the neighborhood. If I was to do a broad base analysis I would say the most desirable and safest blocks are South of Gates Ave. and West of Malcom X Blvd. However you still have to look at each individual block as things can vary block to block. These areas contain the most beautiful historic architecture and are well kept blocks generally occupied by homeowners. Crime is higher East of Malcom X Blvd. and North of Gates Avenue as these are the major concentrations of housing projects in the neighborhood and surrounding blocks have less organization and community fabric.
Also these southern blocks have excellent transit with the A and C subway lines that run along Fulton Street. For instance the Nostand A train stop is only 15 mins to Lower Manhattan. Fulton Street is finally implementing the long awaited Business Improvement District (BID) this summer (2011) and $10 million dollar capital improvement will go along way to help improve the general appearance of the corridor and to attract new Businesses. See link: http://bedstuygateway.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/bed-stuy-gateway-streetscape-project/#comment-42
All in all, I agree that the community is a very tight knit and that people here are really friendly, more so that any other neighborhood I have experienced in NYC. It’s something about where this neighborhood has been, which has kept people caring and humble. They are excited about the renaissance the area is going through and have great hopes towards the future. It’s kind of cool to be living here and watching all the changes around you. It’s an experience you could never get anywhere in Suburban America.What's awesomeMatt S.
Friendly neighbors, community, many new businesses, improving, historic architecture, tree lined streets, interesting funky people, artists, architects, designers, vintage store, authentic NYC, new business opportunities
Bed Stuy is becoming the next WillamsburgJill A.
I almost didn’t recognize this place! It’s been several years since I have attended Pratt Institute, and I am amazed at the transformation of Clinton Hill and Bed Stuy. Tons of new restaurants, cafes and shops have sprung up every where. Every block I walk down especially in Bed Stuy I see a greater diversity of races, from Black to White, Asian, Hispanic, Indian and Hipster. (Well I guess Hipster is the new Brooklyn Race) Hasdic Jews are taking over Northwest Bed Stuy block by block, I guess they found out how friendly people are there. And I see more and more hipsters on bicycles every where I turn in the neb. Boutique clothing stores in Bed Stuy? I never thought I’d see that, how cool! Rents are still relatively cheap (by NY standards) and transit is great a long the A / C subway with G train serving the north part. As always there are some beautiful blocks in this neighborhood. It’s really become a vibrant community with many new renovated brownstones and warehouses, covered with roof top gardens and artist coolness inside. WOW! I would love to buy something out here some day and convert it into an amazing loft. In the mean time I will continue to visit friends out here! Hurray for the new Bed Stuy!
A Smooth RenaissanceJade S.
I got off the G train at the Bedford-Nostrand stop and looked around. The first thing I saw was a fast-food chain restaurant, and I immediately had mixed-feelings about the location. However, as soon as I turned the corner onto one of the residential streets and saw the huge, well-aged brownstones framing the quiet street lined with trees, I was in awe. I walked up this street and saw families sitting on their stoop talking. Children were playing on the sidewalk, and all around me people said, “Hi,” as I walked by. I found myself at a tiny café that served the most amazing breakfast food for cheap. I could see myself spending hours there talking with friends or writing on my laptop with a cup of freshly brewed coffee.
I had heard that Bed-Stuy was the Harlem of Brooklyn, and I would agree. Although, even to this day I feel like it is experiencing a renaissance. Not only did great artists like Notorious BIG, Spike Lee, and Chris Rock come from here, but the neighborhood itself is like a rising star. Everywhere farmer’s markets, community gardens, and healthier grocery stores are popping up. But with all of this change there is still a sense of “old brooklyn” here. Bed-stuy is a wonderful blending of cultures, with an open mind towards change.
Today, after living here for a couple months eating nothing but healthy food, I actually had a craving for some fast-food. I popped into the chain restaurant I saw when I first got there. “Man, I love living here,” I thought.
beautifying Bedstuy might still mug you
Bedstuy’s filled with brownstones (and at all stages of upkeep!), some new lofts, a bit of grit, and a lot of character. While it’s in the midst of extreme gentrification (safety and residents have changed drastically in the past few years), Bed-Stuy still maintains a lingering sense of its depiction in Do the Right Thing back in the late 80s.
I’ve recently made the hop over the borderline from Clinton Hill to living in Bed-Stuy. The people on my block are incredibly friendly and neighborly (think block parties, communal leaf sweeping), and while there’s a local drunk, he’s really nice too and a lot more down to earth than the local crackhead stationed outside my last apartment.
While safety here has definitely improved, I think Bed-Stuy looks safer than it actually is. Some beautiful blocks can actually be quite dangerous still. When people are considering moving to this area, I usually advise them to keep close to the Clinton Hillborderline: the deeper you go into Bed-Stuy, the higher your risk factor.What's awesome
beautiful brownstones, fewer yuppies/strollers/expensive organic things, cool restaurants/stores popping up, slightly cheaper rent, friendly folkWhat's not so awesomeKatie P.
still quite dangerous in some parts and not a very safe place at night. aesthetics and safety levels often vary here from block to block here as well. It’s really important to visit an apartment before you make a decision here. I’d also really recommend speaking to locals to see what safety’s like on your block.
Bed-Stuy remains true to its reputation
Bed-Stuy has a reputation of being a hard-edged wasteland of violence and gangs. This is a hold over from the nineties and is only partially true today. The nabe is till one of the edgier ones in Brooklyn, especially in the middle of it, and there is still gnag violence and a depth of other crime. For example, I got jumped by six dudes at noon on a saturday who wanted nothing more than to beat my ass. They didn’t rob me or anything, just slapped me around. The police told me it was likely a gang initiation type of thing. Regardless, there is still obviously some safety issues here if a six foot plus man gets jumped in broad daylight, and no one responds in any way shape or form.
Beyond the safety issues, the grime, the rundown buildings, and a general high level of poverty, what you will find in Bed-Stuy is real New York families who have owned their house for generations, massive block parties, and some very friendly and caring neighbors. Even if you are the gentrifiers moving in and driving rent up (like me), the vast majority of the people are lovely and interesting, and almost always willing to talk to you. There is not a ton of food unless you find yourself on Nostrand or Fulton, and even then the options are not always superb (Vegetarian might be a dirty word in this nabe). Bars are similarly lacking, though there are a few gems strewn on Broadway and on Fulton.What's awesome
Nice Neighbors, Transportation options, Quiet (most of the time), Cheap rentWhat's not so awesomeZachary Walker
Gangs, Violence, Grity, Dirty, Lack of food and boozing options.
Caring CommunityPolina M.
As much heat as Bed Stuy gets for its crime, people forget how small, close and tight knit this neighborhood is. In November a long time Bed Stuy resident needed a marrow transplant, and the large African American population was quickly able to find her a match. Yeah, some people still want to keep themselves armed, but never forget that the toughness of this community has also made its members extremely caring and helpful to one another.
Changing Rapidly…John W
Great neb, friendly people despite the negativity surrounding the name, new cafes, restaurants and bars springing up monthly, this Neb is in full renaissance. New Condo buildings, renovated brownstones, beautiful blocks… Get in before it’s too expensive!
The new Artist kingdom!Johnny B.
This neb is crawling with hipsters, students and artists. Western edge of Bed Stuy has become the new hipster heaven. I’m not talking about Willamsburg posers with trust funds, I’m talking about real artists and creative types that are stuggling to make it! The Edgy environment and beautiful architecture provides a ton of inspiration to myself and my friends and the people are so friendly! WOW! Trasporation is good with the A and C trains in the south along Fulton Street and G train in the North. I would suggest the Nostrand stop being the fastest way to Manhattan. It’s still a little gritty around there on Fulton but a few blocks north lie some beautiful blocks on Hancock, Jefferson, Macon and Halsey Street. Most of my friends live here or around the G Train stop at Bedford, although I think Nostrand A is a much better location. Fav hangout in the hood’ Sweet revenge on Franklin is packed on the weekend! Ms. Daliahas cafe on Nostrand and the Black Swan swanky irish pub on Bedford, not to mention Peaches hothouse has the best ribs ever! Once you look beyond the negative hype, you find a real authentic new york! You gotta luv it!
A sense of happiness!Eduardo G.
Great sense of community, new people are welcomed as brothers and sisters. I have never received so many smiles and hellos, plus total random welcoming conversations with total strangers in NYC. The people hear have really great hearts. It’s funny how incorrect the reputation this neb has as rough, well it maybe rough around the edges but at the core its all love.
Another interesting note about this neighborhood, is it’s really four seperate neighborhoods in one. You have Bedford around Bedford avenue and Fulton street that is a very mix of Middle class African American, hispanic white, asian etc. Strong beautiful brownstone blocks great subway access and abundant shops along Fulton. This section is the closest to Clinton Hill and where housing prices are higher and stronger community. You find a number of artists and hipster in this area because the subway access is excellent with the A train at Nostrand 15 mins to Tribeca and C train at Franklin Ave 25 mins to Tribeca. Personally I think this is the best place to invest in a new business or home because of the transit, strong community and beautiful architectural heritage, yet affordable rents.
The North West section of the neighborhood has been under going strong gentrification forces from new condo developments along Franklin Ave, Bedford Ave, and Nostrand Ave. Mostly along cross streets Gates st and Greene st. New boutiques, restaruants and lounges seem to spring up here monthly as the area experiences consistent change. This is the new hipster haven in Bed Stuy along the G train centered at Lafayette and Beford Ave and spanning south and west from that point. The very north west of bedford stuyvestant is being over run by Hasidic Jews. They have slowly buy up block after block and have permeated the area through FlushingAvenue to Bedford Ave.
Southern Part of Bed Stuy is the more affluent middle class section of the neb. Here you’ll find beautiful brownstone blocks and few housing projects. It is also protected from unresonable development by NYC’s rezoning of the neighborhood south of Quincy Street. Blocks north of Quincy are still subject to speculative condo development as of right and random cheap brick facade infill and that’s what you find there. You also find the higher density of housing projects in the North part of Bed Stuy along Gates Avenue and Marcy Projects where Jay-Z lived along Flushing Ave. Outside of Stuyvesant Heights the farther east you go in the neighborhood the less affulent the blocks become. While I wouldn’t say they are unsafe you will find the far eastern part of the neighborhood near East New York a different place then the Western edge along Clinton Hill infact they are really are two entirely different neighborhoods. And that’s what is so frustrating about the geographic size of Bedford Stuyvesant, it really is multiple neighborhoods in one with many different distinct charms and influences.
Finally I would say that the most affluent part of Beford Stuyvesant is in factStuyvesant Heights, the Landmarked neighborhood where some of the richest brownstone blocks lie. Nabe Wise breaks this out as a seperate neighborhood although they wrongly define it geographically as the other half of bed stuy. It is infact a group of 5-10 blocks with the epicenter around the Utica Avenue Subway stop moving north along Stuyvesant Avenues. In this neb, you find a handful of great cafes, restaurants and boutiques; the cute Fulton Park and breathe taking limestone and brownstone townhomes as nice as anywhere in Park Slope or Brooklyn Heights.
Bed-Stuy to the boneNYC L.
For all the talk of gentrification surrounding Bed-Stuy, I think you’re pretty much still in authentic Brooklyn out here. I’d add I think that’s great. There are plenty of new spots that are opening and more and more artists living here, but the area keeps its character. I hope Bed-Stuy actually experiences true urban renewal rather than gentrification that displaces people along socio-economic and race lines, and I think there’s a pretty good shot at that.
cheap rentsCarrie C.
Bed-stuy is stereotypically now a new home to the starving artist who has been priced out of Williamsburg or Greenpoint. The prices are right and if you have a little street smarts, then this place isnt too bad! My friend moved here a few years ago when it was just getting nicer and he likes it. His rent is dirt cheap and his commute to mid-town isn’t bad.
Not a bad areaNick G.
I regularly have to hike through the south of Bed-Stuy to get to work. I spend most of my time in Bed-Stuy on the commercial jaunts and while there are some rundown places and some eateries I wouldn’t frequent, it seems nice. The areas I’ve seen have been alright, very similar to Crown Heights although, as I understand it, slightly less West Indian. Fulton is really on the up and up and I look forward to seeing this area develop further.
Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, and Lil Kim come from here!!!! Perhaps if I was born here instead of in upstate New York I too would be a famous rapper… LOL.. Rent is cheap, train to Manhattan is easy. You can take one of several buses in or the G train and get here in about 30 minutes. There’s also access to the Long Island Railroad.Jay D.
bit sketchy, but the rent may be worth it…Amanda M.
I’ve always been a bit wary to move right into the heart of bedstuy (I love on the clinton hill/bedstuy borderline). I feel a bit less safe (esp. at night, and a bit more dirty there). That being said, Bedstuy has some amazing options when it comes to affordable real estate. I had friends that lived there for a summer in a spectacular brownstone (huge living room, fire place, cozy kitchen, roof access) and each only had to pay around $500 a month.