DanceAfrica Kickoff Happening This Saturday at Bed-Stuy at Restoration Plaza

This Saturday marks a pre-opening celebration of a 21-Year Partnership between Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation and BAM’s DanceAfrica program. Check out the event this Saturday, May 19th, between 10am and 3pm at Restoration Plaza (1368 Fulton Street). This year the theme focuses on “Living Your Best Life,” and there will be artisans, healthy living vendors, dance classes, music, yoga and performances by RestoratonART’s Youth Arts Academy.

According to the event press release, “Midway into the day, the DanceAfrica Council of Elders will pay homage to the ancestors with a procession throughout the campus of Restoration with community leaders and members. All are welcomed to participate.”

This event is free and open to the public. For more details, check out the Facebook event.

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Bed-Stuy Stories: Gloria Sandiford, Advocate and Real Estate Broker

GloriaBed-Stuy Blog’s newest contributor, Mikhal Weiner, is profiling interesting residents from our community for her column, Bed-Stuy Stories. Next up is Gloria Sandiford, a community activist, Real Estate Broker at Flateau Realty Corp, and president of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Real Estate Board.

If you open Gloria Sandiford’s StreetEasy profile you’ll find yourself looking into her intelligent eyes, as they beam at the camera. Underneath, a short blurb explains that she is a “Brooklynite for Life! Community advocate and activist. Deep respect and admiration for arts & culture,” but most importantly: “My service policy: knowledge, trust, honesty, integrity & top-notch service, with a little humor!” In truth, Sandiford is all this and more. We met recently at Grandchamps, a local Bed-Stuy haven of Haitian cuisine. Sandiford walked in, shaking off an umbrella, and immediately took in the room with a warm smile. Calling the servers ‘honey’ and asking how they are, she made everyone’s day brighter.

Our conversation covered a wide swath of topics, but throughout her eclectic adventuresGloria2 one thread has remained consistent and strong: people, and the connections between them. “[The] word community encompasses so many different things,” she told me, considering the idea as she spoke, “The people, the processes, the leadership. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Schools, education, children, seniors, it’s all a part of that word community.” That’s where her passion lies, in helping the public become it’s best self, whether through advocacy, outreach, education, or simply buying groceries for an elderly neighbor.

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Zaca Cafe Opens Tonight in Former Jeffrey’s Spot

Zaca Cafe, bed-stuy, bed-stuy cafe, 426 Marcus Garvey Boulevard

This evening, get ready to welcome a new business to Marcus Garvey Boulevard, a stretch that’s seen some openings as of late. The great commercial space once occupied by Jeffrey’s is now home to Zaca Cafe. The location is 426 Marcus Garvey Boulevard, between Macon and MacDonough. The owner is chef Inoussa Campaore, who you can read more about here. Inoussa immigrated to Brooklyn from Burkina Faso and worked his way up from dishwasher at Clinton Hill’s Choice Market. Here are some more details:

After a long year of planning and hard work, Inoussa is opening the doors of Zaca Cafe in Bed Stuy this Friday, 5/11 from 4-8pm. [Facebook event here.] Having spent the last 10 years as head chef at Choice Market in Clinton Hill, we’re excited to have his menu in the neighborhood. Stop by if you can to give his menu a try.

The name “Zaca” means “house” in Moore, one of the common spoken languages in Burkina Faso. It’s also a reference to Zaca Restaurant, a restaurant in Burkina Faso which played live music every night. Can’t wait to try it out!

Photo via Facebook

Open Houses Kicking Off for the Urban Dove Team Charter High School

urban dove charter school, bed-stuy

A local charter school for high-school students is kicking off open house events this Friday, May 4th. The Urban Dove Team Charter High School, according to its website, “energizes at-risk students through a program consisting of sports, health and fitness that focuses on developing teamwork, healthy competition and self-confidence for academic and life success.” The school accepts students 16 and younger with eight core credits or less. The charter also accepts under-credited students who may have not made it through the 9th grade.

The open houses are a chance for potential students and parents to tour the school, talk with teachers and get a feel for the environment. (The students can also bring in their transcript or an IEP, if applicable.) Open houses will be held every Friday between 2:30 and 4pm, just call the school at the number listed above to schedule a visit.

Also, on Saturday, June 2nd, the school will host “Dove Day,” a community fair that’s open to the public. There will be health screenings, a basketball tournament, dunking tank, rock climbing, a student talent show and more. Urban Dove will also set up a recruitment table for families to sign up. That’s happening at Banneker Playground (Lafayette and Marcy) between 12 and 4pm.

urban dove charter school

Speakeasy-Style Cocktail Bar Now Open on Marcus Garvey Boulevard

pelican bar, pelican bar brooklyn, bed-stuy, pelican bar bed-stuy, cocktail bar bed-stuy

The owner of Clinton Hill bar Hot Bird has opened a speakeasy-style cocktail bar called Pelican at 382 Marcus Garvey Boulevard, on the corner of Hancock. The owner, who lives in the neighborhood, designed much of the bar himself over a two-year period. There’s a small bar–only four seats–accompanied by cozy seating nooks and a big window looking out onto the street. It’s still in soft-opening mode (and accepting cash only), but more artwork and decor will go up in the coming weeks.

Click through for interior photos and more details!

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“Wealth Building Wednesday” Series Launches Today

The Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation is kicking off its “Wealth Building Wednesdays” series with a lineup of personal finance speakers. They will be talking about growing savings, reducing debt, improving credit scores, saving for college or home buying, asset building, and more. It’s an initiative of Restoration’s Economic Solutions Center, which is working to reduce the racial wealth gap in Central Brooklyn.

The kickoff event–happening tonight at 7pm!–will be “Money Talks: Are You Listening?” presented by Vanessa A. Lindley, CEO of The Lindley Consulting Group LLC. Then next Wednesday, May 16th, Restoration will host a speaker on “Zero Balance Budgeting.”

Follow the events over at Restoration’s calendar, where you can also RSVP for Wealth Building Wednesday talks. You can also call the Economic Solutions Center at 718-636-6994 for info.

Don’t Forget to Vote for Particpatory Budgeting!

Bed-Stuy residents represented by Council Member Cornegy have until April 15th to vote on participatory budgeting proposals. Nine proposals address improvements in parks, schools, street safety, public housing and more. Go here to read what’s on the ballot and stay tuned for polling places. Or–and this means you have no excuse not to vote–you can do it online! The process is simple and quick. You must be at least 11 years old or at least in the sixth grade and live in the district. Eligible voters must sign an affidavit to confirm age and residency.