Living in Bedford-Stuyvesant
Bedford-Stuyvesant’s coolness credentials are impeccable. Pronounced bed-sty (rhymes with “my”), New York City’s famous Brooklyn neighborhood featured in lyrics to Billy Joel’s “You May Be Right”, was practically its own character in Spike Lee’s film, Do the Right Thing, and was a source of inspiration for comedian Chris Rock’s television show, Everybody Hates Chris. Living in Bedford-Stuyvesant means inheriting, embracing, and celebrating a rich architectural and social legacy.
The annual Universal Hip-Hop Parade for Social Justice honors Jamaican-born political leader, Marcus Garvey and celebrates Hip Hop. Garvey, who led parades through Harlem in the 1920s, inspired the event.
The Marcy Plaza Farmers Market sells fresh local produce every Wednesday from 10 am to 5 pm from July to November. The event, a joint venture between Restoration Brooklyn, a non-profit organization, and the Brooklyn Rescue Mission, also offers free cooking demonstrations and music performances.
Music lovers and anyone interested in local music from Brooklyn will appreciate the Restoration Rocks Festival, a free annual that features music from a variety of artists. Established in 2007, this all-day event showcases both established and up-and-coming artists from Brooklyn.
The neighborhood’s enduring character is also evident in its shops. Shirley + Alice Vintage and Designer Boutique, for example, expresses the emerging Bed-Stuy style while preserving classic vintage flair for men and women. You can declare your Bed-Stuy love with home décor and jewelry from Peace and Riot, which offers an eclectic yet calming array of goods from vintage buckets to beautifully patterned pillows.
This historic part of Brooklyn got its unusual name through a merger. In the 1800s, Stuyvesant Heights was one village, and Bedford another. Stuyvesant was named for Peter Stuyvesant, the last Director-General of New Netherland, the colony under Dutch control prior to being provisionally relinquished to the English in the mid-1600s. The origin of Bedford is less clear, but the Dutch initially controlled the land now known as the neighborhood, Bedford-Stuyvesant.
For more than 100 years, farmers worked the land and by the late 1800s the area was still rural. However, much had changed after the Revolutionary War — and would continue to do so. Urbanization came in the form Italianate-style row houses developed for the emerging commuter demographic, followed by development in other aspects of the growing community. The appearance of churches, schools and community institutions established the area as a distinct neighborhood. In addition, transportation improved with the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883 and the Fulton Street elevated line in 1888.
By the 1930s, more significant social and economic changes had led to an influx of immigrants from the South, Latin America, and West Indies and the two villages had merged into “Bedford-Stuyvesant.” For generations, Bed-Stuy’s residents were largely African-American families. This rich history is apparent with landmarks such as the Bridge Street A.M.E. Church, which celebrated its 250th anniversary in the spring of 2016.
Organizations like Hattie Carthan Community Garden have been instrumental in preserving the area’s agricultural heritage. The garden features mushroom patches, chicken coops, herb gardens and fruit trees, with food grown there sold at the community farmer’s market.
Bed-Stuy is a haven for food lovers and the neighborhood is practically synonymous with international cuisine. Brooklyn Kolache Co. makes its Texas-style kolaches from scratch. Pair this fluffy, fruit-filled Eastern European pastry with an espresso from local Kitten Coffee, and you’re off to a good start. Neapolitan pizza from Saraghina’s brick oven, or a mile-high pastrami sandwich from David’s Brisket House just might be the perfect comfort food. If barbecue, beer, and rock ‘n’ roll are more your speed, there’s Beast of Bourbon — and, yes, they have bacon mayo. Finish off your feast with craft cocktails and chili at One Last Shag.
It’s true: the restaurant and bar names alone are worth the visit. You don’t have to look farther than Peaches Hothouse. Anyone pining for Southern fare will find authentic shrimp and grits, mac n’ cheese, blackened catfish and fried chicken there. After all that, there’s still got to be room for Doc D’s classic Southern dessert: red velvet cake. The area’s rich African-American history and culture have clearly been preserved in Bed-Stuy’s cuisine.
Bedford-Stuyvesant real estate
According to reliable sources, Bedford-Stuyvesant has approximately 8,800 buildings constructed before 1900. Best of all, these include virtually untouched or meticulously restored Victorian treasures. That means original detailing any lover of craftsmanship from this period would admire and appreciate. Gracious brownstones contain details like marble fireplace mantles and intricate wood carvings in window frames and entryways. Residential buildings -- 577 to be exact -- constructed between roughly 1870 and 1900, and spanning over 17 blocks, constitute the Stuyvesant Heights Historic District. The national historic district buildings are mostly residential row houses, but also include churches, such as the Romanesque Revival-style Mount Lebanon Baptist Church and multiple-dwelling structures.
With all this beautifully preserved craftsmanship, it’s easy to see why Bed-Stuy is such an attractive location for anyone who’s interested in 19th century architecture. There are also apartments and condos for rent and for sale, providing opportunities for would-be residents with varying budgets.
The neighborhood to watch
"Bedford-Stuyvesant has all the ingredients for being the "next" neighborhood. With it's beautiful buildings, affordable prices, convenient location, and "live-ability" factor, this is the neighborhood to watch right now."
Local tips and information for going out in the Bedford-Stuyvesant from The Corcoran Group. Explore dining, shopping and nightlife.All Bedford-Stuyvesant tips