Brooklyn-bound: the evolution of Bed-Stuy
I moved to Bed-Stuy a couple of months ago with mixed feelings. Was this part of Brooklyn going to be an unsafe area for a young travelette? Or was it going to be an inspiring environment with a unique vibe?
After a bit of online research I decided to pack my suitcase and go find out for myself. Despite the neighborhood’s bad reputation, I wanted to feed my curiosity. For an adventurous soul, that’s the only way. Get out of your comfort zone, pack your suitcase and start exploring.
To start with the end of this story: I love staying in Bed-Stuy.
The lifestyle here is much more laid-back than chaotic Manhattan. I know my edgy neighbors, and I’m able to see the sky. The overall atmosphere is sunny and welcoming. Because of my own positive experience, I want to tell you a little bit about this bubbly area with a notorious name.
Bedford-Stuyvesant, colloquially known as Bed-Stuy, is a large neighborhood in Brooklyn. For decades, Bed-Stuy has been known as the cultural mecca of African-American population. It’s home to the second largest African-American neighborhood in US, after the city of Detroit.
In 1936, African-Americans left Harlem in the search of new housing possibilities. Now, the area is in transition and has become home for people from various different backgrounds.
The best donut you’ll ever have can be purchased at Dough, a great little bakery all about the sweet treat. It’s located on 277 Franklin Avenue and specializes in donuts and luscious cafe choices. There are many different flavors available, but the plain donut gives you the taste of the famous dough. It’s indescribably mouthwatering, light and scrumptious. Get in line and prepare to wow your tastebuds.
Another fun and out of the ordinary option is Tip-Top bar & grill, on 432 Franklin Avenue. The clientele includes gold-toothed regulars sipping scotch next to art students from the nearby university. The place has no menu, so you will never know what to expect from the grill. Tip-Top has been on Franklin for 40 years, the first 30 years without a license. B.b. King and other goodies can be played from the jukebox, situated next to always blinking Christmas lights.
If you are looking for some real deal meals, power yourself up in West Indian and American restaurant called Do or Dine, on 1108 Bedford Avenue. This homelike restaurant also welcomes vegetarians to check the interestingly mixed menu.
It seems like in the past twenty years, the faces in the area have changed, but the roots have remained the same. The best things about the area are the varying arts, cultural diversity and mix of old and new. Bed-Stuy still has the remains of harsh times. Just in prettier frames.
Text, Photos Rita Maria