Thursday, December 29, 2011
If You Don't Know Now You Know (Bed-Stuy)
While apartment browsing I ran across this interesting article about the area of Brooklyn that I live in. I grew up in Flatbush Brooklyn but I have a deep love and appreciation for the Bedford Stuyvesant area too. So here is a little history on the neighborhood. Enjoy!
Bedford-Stuyvesant was originally two separate towns: Bedford was a modest Dutch village established in 1663, and Stuyvesant was an upscale community built in the 1890s. You can see evidence of that in the landmarked area known as Stuyvesant Heights, today a middle-class African-American community with gorgeous Romanesque Revival brownstones. Bed-Stuy was one of the few places in the city where blacks could buy property. Weeksville, an historic settlement of free African-Americans, was founded in 1838. The village was named after James Weeks, a black man who purchased the land. Four small farmhouses, dating from 1840 to 1883, are all that remain of what was once a vibrant and self-sufficient community. During the draft riots of 1863, the community served as a refuge for hundreds of African-Americans who fled Manhattan. By the end of the 1800s, Bed-Stuy was a peaceful home for blacks, Irish, German, Scottish, Dutch and Jewish immigrants. The construction of the subway into Brooklyn in 1920s encouraged many more African-Americans to move into the area, hoping for a better life. (Duke Ellington's Take the A Train is about this migration from Harlem.) In the 1940s, as more working class families moved into the neighborhood, the affluent white population left, depriving Bed-Stuy of a sorely needed tax basis. This was the start of the area's decline, and the area suffered the usual problems of neglect: underfunded schools, poorly maintained housing, and few governmental services. Today Bed-Stuy is on the rebound because its cheap housing is attracting new settlers. The dramatic revitalization of the Stuy is evident in the drop in crime. In the seven major categories listed by the NYPD there was a 61 percent decrease from 1993 to 2001. Article Via RDNY.com Illustration Via Boho Bandwagon