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Get to know Bedford-Stuyvesant

Running across the center of Brooklyn, Bedford-Stuyvesant (often shortened to Bed-Stuy) sits between Williamsburg to its north and Crown Heights to its south. Clinton Hill, to the west of Bed-Stuy, was long considered part of the neighborhood. Clinton Hill and Bed-Stuy still share much in common (though the latter covers a much larger area) as historically important centers of African-American life and a wealth of 19th-century rowhouses. By one count, Bed-Stuy has almost 9,000 buildings constructed before 1900. As recently as the first decade of this century, many New Yorkers were wary of Bed-Stuy, but crime rates have dropped dramatically and at the same time the neighborhood has become increasingly diverse. The appeal is obvious — tree-lined streets with stately homes waiting to be restored to their original splendor. Now the neighborhood can also boast new restaurants and bars that have made Bed-Stuy a destination alongside Fort Greene and Williamsburg.
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History & Culture

Bedford-Stuyvesant’s name comes from two historic places. The village of Bedford was established in the 17th century and was the backdrop for some important moments in the Revolutionary War, though nothing remains of it today. (It was centered around the present-day intersection of Bedford and Fulton.) The “Stuyvesant” comes from Stuyvesant Heights, long an area of farms and now a smaller neighborhood within Bed-Stuy, along its southern edge. Weeksville (located either in Crown Heights or Bed-Stuy, depending on whose borders you follow) was founded as a free-black community in the 19th century. Bed-Stuy’s role as a center of African-American life dates mostly from the 20th century, when the Great Migration and rising rents in Harlem led African-Americans to settle in Bed-Stuy. Recent decades have seen a new chapter begin, as Caribbean immigrants as well as those priced out of Brooklyn’s more expensive neighborhoods are rediscovering Bed-Stuy.

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Dine & Shop

Fulton Street, along the southern edge of Bed-Stuy, is the area’s primary shopping street, though much of it is dominated by big-box stores. Since Bed-Stuy covers a huge swath of Brooklyn, you can head to several areas when you are looking for unusual boutiques or new restaurants. They are largely centered around Bedford (near Lafayette) and Tompkins avenues, and to a somewhat lesser degree, Nostrand (which runs parallel to Bedford) and Marcus Garvey Boulevard (mostly on the blocks in the southeast corner of Bed-Stuy). The dining scene reflects Bed-Stuy’s changing demographics. Peaches and Peaches HotHouse are institutions serving Southern cuisine; Grandchamps (a Haitian restaurant), Bed-Stuy Fish Fry, and a number of hole-in-the-wall Trinidadian options are Caribbean favorites. Beyond those, there’s an abundance of restaurants serving everything from tacos to tortellini, with more opening every month.

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