Published June 2013 on NewYork.com
Bedford-Stuyvesant (often shortened to Bed-Stuy, pronounced “beds-tie”) is one of Brooklyn’s largest neighborhoods. It’s so big, in fact, that the A and C trains make six stops along its southern edge and the J train makes six stops on its northern border. Classon Avenue separates it from Clinton Hill to the west. To the north, Flushing Avenue and Broadway divide it from Williamsburg and Bushwick. Atlantic Avenue is the southern border, across which is Crown Heights.
The Dutch originally settled the area in the 17th century, but developments starting around the turn of the 20th century shaped its identity. A flurry of construction in the late 19th century established its distinctive brownstone blocks and solidified it as a bedroom community for families looking to escape Manhattan’s crowds. In the 1930s, African-Americans flocked to the area and it eventually earned the nickname of “Brooklyn’s Harlem.” (Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey Boulevards are major thoroughfares in the neighborhood.) In the 1960s, racial tension erupted into riots. For decades, absentee landlords, drugs and crime plagued the neighborhood. Slowly, but surely, Bed-Stuy has been experiencing a rebirth.