Bedford-Stuyvesant or Bed-Stuy, as it is more commonly known, is one of the largest neighborhoods in Brooklyn and filled with Black-owned businesses. It is the epicenter of rich African American culture and very diverse. Bed-Stuy was the home of baseball legend Jackie Robinson when he first broke the sport’s color barrier as a member of the then Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. The neighborhood also birthed rap icons Jay-Z, Biggie Smalls, and Lil’ Kim.
NYC & Company, the official destination marketing organization and convention and visitors bureau that represents the five boroughs of New York City, wants locals and visitors alike to consider the historic neighborhood when planning staycations and visits to the Big Apple.
“As we continue along the path to recovery, a primary focus at NYC & Company is working toward and maintaining a more equitable future for the culturally diverse neighborhoods across the five boroughs that so prominently represent the dynamism of New York City,” said Fred Dixon, President and CEO at NYC & Company. “Black-owned businesses in Bed-Stuy have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, and we’re encouraging locals and visitors to explore and support the neighborhood’s vibrant restaurants, shops, and cultural and wellness attractions that embody the Black diaspora.”
“An always-shifting landscape coupled with the effects of the pandemic have impacted Black-owned businesses in Bed-Stuy, like in the rest of New York City and the US,” said Rondel Holder, Senior Director of Multicultural Content at NYC & Company. “One way to lend a hand while immersing yourself in local culture, is to patronize Black-owned restaurants, bars, retailers and cultural attractions; it will do wonders to stimulate the senses, spark creativity and show much-needed support.”
Here are some of the ways to spend a day in Black-owned Bed-Stuy.
Where to stay
The Brooklyn Hotel is a boutique hotel right in the heart of Brooklyn, a stone’s throw away from landmarks like the Barclays Center, Prospect Park, BAM-Brooklyn Academy of Music and downtown Manhattan. They offer personalized service and a host of amenities.
The Akwaaba Mansion is a restored 1860s Italianate villa just 15 minutes from Manhattan featuring four guest rooms, luxury amenities, and a personal concierge.
Where to eat
Brooklyn Beso is the place to be for a Caribbean and Latin fusion of flavors. Dishes include arepas, empanadas, tacos and house specialty plátanos rellenos.
Alfonso Wright’s Jamaican heritage informs his passion for tea. He and Jamila McGill have made Brooklyn Tea a tea lover’s haven and have made fans out of Shonda Rimes and Beyoncé.
Where to shop
Sincerely, Tommy is a store with a cause. It leans towards minimalist clothing from emerging womenswear designers while also supporting initiatives like a free food fridge, anti-ICE campaigns and Building Black Bed-Stuy.
For the men, Moshood/Afrikan Spirit offers unique Nigerian garments and accessories.
Where to explore
Richard Beavers Gallery is a hub for both established as well as up-and-coming Black artists whose art reflects issues in the Black community. The Bed-Stuy location was intentional due to its importance during the Civil Rights movement and to make art accessible.
Dive into Bed-Stuy’s history at the Macon Library, which opened in 1907 and features an African American Heritage Center.
Lavender Blues pulls double duty as an interactive music and dance studio for babies and toddlers as well as a thrift store with custom-embroidered clothing all for less than $20.
Decompress at the Life Wellness Center with acupuncture and massage treatments. One of the unique features is a botanical experience where custom bouquets are created based on each individual’s energy.
Visitors to the five boroughs are encouraged to wear masks, practice physical distancing and frequently wash/sanitize hands, as indicated in NYC & Company’s Stay Well NYC Pledge. Check with individual businesses for current operating status and hours, as well as health and safety protocols, prior to visiting. For more suggestions on what to do across the five boroughs visit nycgo.com/press.