Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rhymin' and Stealin'....

These days, I am feeling a bit unsafe in my home, in my hood, and on my walk from the train in Bed Stuy in general.

Being part of gentrifying a neighborhood can be amazing and brutal at the same time. Bed Stuy is in the middle of what I think is the most racially diverse swing in Brooklyn. Before I start, I am aware that I am "generalizing", but this is how I feel.

My take: Park Slope = white, Clinton Hill & Ft Green = blacks and whites with some money, Bed Stuy = blacks and newer whites with less money.

So here on our colorful block, crime is up this week. Cars have been getting broken into like it's Prospect Heights, people are getting jacked on the street supposedly at gunpoint early in the morning. The laundry mat got robbed 2 days ago and that's just what I heard or saw in the past few days.

Gentrification doesn't stop crime but it does lessen it, more police presence . But when a neighborhood like Bed Stuy is gentrifying for reasons not related to coffee shops and hipster bowling alleys what's gonna happen? White people who are not well off are moving here because the blocks are beautiful, it's close to the train and you can rent a huge 2 bedroom brownstone for like 1400-1500 a month. So is that even gentrification? Is it getting the best bang for your buck or is it an invasion?

I think it's an invasion and we are part of it. Sure it's a plus that the late great Frances White and Jigga are from Bed Stuy but, we moved here because it is what we could afford. Now I'm second guessing it. Our lease will come around in April and I am not sure if we will be putting in a third year in 11216. I know people are broke, unemployment is up and times are hard. I am just not fond of the idea of getting stuck up. I'm also not fond of the idea that we need to bring our light and dark brown asses to Park Slope or Carroll Gardens to feel safe.


  1. what laundrymat got robbed?

  2. The one on the corner of Halsey and Throop.

  3. Yes, you are generalizing about the neighborhoods. The recent elevation in crime rates shouldn't be the only criteria you use to make the decision to leave, especially if you love Bed Stuy... Crime is up everywhere.

  4. You may of skipped over the first sentence.... The one that relayed that I don't feel safe. I know crime is up, poverty is up, job loss is up... My concern is the safety of my family. We have signed on for another year in Bed Stuy though. We have tremendous faith in the neighborhood.

  5. Hi,
    Thanks for posting this. I literally just found your blog today. My husband and I have been looking for a house in Bed-Stuy for all the reasons you named. We are not rich, the homes in Bed-Stuy are beautiful and we need more space. But I'm constantly torn. My husband is white/arab american and I am African-American. I'm really conscience and leary of attracting negative attention being an interracial couple. However, when I walk around Bed-Stuy (and I've spent many weekends walking around and going to open houses looking at property), it feels fine, but so many blogs post so many negative things--mostly by people who don't even live there, or knew someone who knew someone who lived there 30 years ago.
    I'm thanking you for posting this because it's good to have some perspective from someone who lives there now. I want to be aware, but I don't want to move into a place looking over my shoulder...
    So you've decided to stay in Bed-Stuy which makes me feel encouraged -- but let me ask you--do you have any regrets? Would you advise someone who is looking into the area to go for it, or look elsewhere, particularly if they are looking to start a family? I am just looking for real advice from a real person who can let me know the deal. I do love Bed-Stuy and think it's something special as neighborhoods go but at the same time I'm just afraid of making a huge mistake.

  6. Hi Robin,

    I'll start off by saying this is only my expierence. I really do love bed-stuy. When we moved here 2 years ago from CT we looked at a couple of neighborhoods we could afford. Our rent is 1675 so I am not talking East NY or Brownsville, we could even live in Park Slope if we wanted to but there is no way my husband would ever do that :)

    My family is colorful and diverse and that is the kind of neighborhood we wanted to live in. We luckily moved onto a block with a community garden, a really strong block assoc. (they have a christmas decoration contest and numerous bus trips to go shopping, museums and so on through out the year....)

    My daughter who is is 16 and her friends did have there phones snatched from them about a year and half ago while walking on Throop but that can happen anywhere. It did shake me up a bit but then I read boards like or the and really there is more crime over in prospect heights and crown heights. It happened she was taught to make herself more aware and she has. Do not where your headphones or pull out your ipod at night while walking home from the subway that will solve most of the problems before they even start.

    We really try and stay in the neighborhood when we can. We eat at Peaches and Sarraghina often, We have found a great antique shop, vintage clothes store, book store, bagel shop and everything else that you need to really feel like you live in great neighborhood.

    Let me know if maybe you and your husband want to grab a cup of coffee or lunch sometime with me and mine and we can chat more

  7. I'm in love with Peaches! I've been there a bunch of times. A few times by myself and a few times with the hubby. We've also been to Saraghina. I also had a nice conversation with the lady who runs the little red boutique. I am thinking about checking out SarahJames next weekend...

    Honestly, so far I've only had gotten good vibes walking around, and I've been looking into Bed-Stuy off and on since September. Like I said I want to be educated about the area, and I understand the complexity of gentrification and how it puts people on the defense, but I am also aware that there is nothing to fear but fear itself. :) I don't want to get to caught up in the fear thing...

    We would love to get together with you both. That would be great! I'm going to try to email you seperately. Maybe we can all have a drink at SarahJames? :)

  8. can't find your email. mine is dameshe at g mail