The Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn has become well known because of famous former residents like Biggie Smalls and Jay Z but it has a history that is felt when you walk the blocks and view the many grand brownstones and once mansions that surrounds you. You feel the history and grandeur that once was one of the most prominent neighborhoods in New York. Anyone who has ever strolled down MacDonough Street and soaked up the beautifully restored row houses and mansions know that the place is something special.
Bed-Stuy has made many shifts since it’s 17th century conception. It was once inhabited by the Dutch who farmed the land. By the 18th century, the land was inhabited by mostly upper middle class families of German and Irish descent. Bed-Stuy was residential and the brownstones and mansions were developed along with this booming upper class. At the same time, there was also a prominent African American community called Weeksville in Bed-Stuy. Weeksville was recognized as one of the first free African American communities in the United States. The Great Depression hit and the upper middle class families could no longer maintain the homes and African American families from Harlem and the South flocked to Bed-Stuy where they purchased the homes that we see today.
Once again, there is a huge cultural shift happening in Bed-Stuy and in the rest of Brooklyn for that matter. Gentrification is changing the face of the neighbors that we see everyday along with the cost of housing. The brownstones, many of which got a face/body-lift, are now being sold for millions or rented for something close to that sum. The gentrification has brought about many business but many of them are owned by African Americans. The gentrification that we are sometimes overwhelmed by might have also breathed life into the entrepreneurial spirit that has always existed in the Black Community. There are some great places to sit and chat with folks from Brooklyn or those that call Bed-Stuy home.
Check out two of my favorites below:
Therapy Wine Bar
Went there with friends and had a fantastic time. It was karaoke night and even though I sucked at karaoke the crowd didn’t make me feel like I was at the Apollo Theater about to get Sandmanned. That’s how you know you are with good folk.
The artwork on the brick face wall was cool. It was all things Brooklyn and all things Soul.
Peaches and Peaches Hothouse
If you are looking for Southern fare with a cool atmosphere then please do visit “Peaches” or “Peaches Hothouse”. Do get the fried chicken or anything fried. Get the extra butter and the extra sauce. Get your food fried, with butter and slathered in sauce. Forget about the resolutions or the promise to eat your kale and just have some chicken or some grits darn it.
Have you ever visited Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn? Where do you like to eat or hang when you are there?