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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Local Running Club is Looking for Members

bed-stuy runners

There’s a new running club in the neighborhood and they are in search of new members. The Bed-Stuy Runners have set up a website so folks can get in contact, learn about their first two routes, as share a bit about their goal as a group. Here’s what the site says:

The goal of this Brooklyn based running club is simple: train to achieve your goals while meeting and interacting with others in the Bed Stuy neighborhood.

New routes and training sessions will be added as time goes on and more members join.

Check out their two five- and six-mile routes here, which take off Tuesdays at 6:30pm and Thursdays at 6:30pm. To get in touch with the group, just send your info through the site.

Photo courtesy of Bed-Stuy Runners

Info Session Coming Up for Block Association Grants

Bed-Stuy has no shortage of amazing block associations, so this meeting next Tuesday, October 17th might be of interest to many in the neighborhood. This is from Assemblywoman Diana Richardson:

I encourage you to take advantage of Citizens Committee for New York City’s Grant Information Session on Tuesday, October 17, 2017. This event will take place St Francis De Sales School for the Deaf at 260 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York 11225.

The aforementioned grants directly benefit the community by funding public projects, like community gardens, at a grassroots level. This event is FREE and open to the public. Utilize this free resource to aid your block association.

If you require information or need to RSVP feel free to call Raul Rothblatt, at 718-284-4700.

The Bed-Stuy BID is Hosting a Back-to-School Giveaway This Friday

the bed stuy bid

This Friday, the Bed-Stuy Gateway Business Improvement District (BID) is hosting a free back-to-school event to encourage young entrepreneurs. There will be free school supplies, giveaways, food, music and plenty of family-friendly fun between 5pm and 8pm on the corner of Marcy and Fulton. Local entrepreneurs are welcome! As the Facebook event says, “All entrepreneurs should come and serve as an inspiration to teens within our communities, that typically aren’t exposed to positive role models.” Check out event details here.

That brings us to our next order of business regarding the Bed-Stuy BID, which has started a new Facebook account and is looking to rebuild its following. You should follow the new account here for local events, happenings and general community engagement.

Small Business Spotlight: Claudette Brady, owner of Slip Stitch Needlecraft

claudette brady, slip stich needlecraft, bed stuy

Bed-Stuy is made up of some incredible, committed small business owners and Claudette Brady is one of them. She began her business, Slip Stitch Needlecraft, online after becoming ill and having to move out of Bed-Stuy. Thankfully she returned, and opened a brick and mortar location with her massive collection of yarn and books in 2015. She moved into a larger space at 450 Nostrand Avenue, between Putnam and Jefferson, last year. Anybody crafty–or anybody looking to get crafty–will find tons of supplies here: yarns, threads, floss, patterns, needles and hooks. But what makes this place really special is its community focus. “This is designed as a community space where you can sit down and be comfortable,” Claudette told me. Basically, it’s the perfect place to take a class and learn how to knit or crochet, or join a circle (held on the last Friday of every month) to sit, drink wine, meet your neighbors, talk about the world and craft away. Check out the shop’s full list of events here.

Claudette is now raising $6,000 on GoFundMe to renovate her space to begin hosting maker’s markets. As she said in her fundraising profile, “Brooklyn has become the Makers capital of the USA, unfortunately, many in our community have been excluded from the various makers markets or do not have the financial means to have a retail outlet; my goal is to be an incubator for these Makers/artisans and provide a low-cost space.”

It’s no secret that Bed-Stuy is changing rapidly and becoming un-affordable to many of our neighbors who have long called it home. Claudette would rather see community-focused retail opening up here, rather than an endless stream of bars and restaurants. Her business seeks to preserve the close-knit support system she has loved about Bed-Stuy since her arrival in 1995. “This has long been a middle class neighborhood, and was made beautiful because of all the black people who live here,” she said.

Claudette’s impact in the neighborhood surpasses the management of Slip Stitch. She was one of the most influential voices behind expanding the Stuyvesant Heights Historic District and establishing the Bedford Historic District. She has also helped organize Greenest Block submissions and It’s My Park Day at Von King Park. Claudette’s commitment to Bed-Stuy has been an incredible gift to the neighborhood, so be sure to stop by, say hello, support the business and enjoy the space on your next stroll down Nostrand.

Photos via GoFundMe

Help a Bed-Stuy Resident Facing Eviction [UPDATED INFO BELOW]

There is a fundraising campaign up to help Ms. Augusta, a longtime resident of Bed-Stuy, who was evicted from her apartment on Halsey and Thompkins this month and is now facing homelessness. Here are details about the campaign set up for her:

We are frantically pulling all resources to get Ms Augusta a room that she can afford on her own for the time being, a mover/moving truck, and a storage unit for her belongings before anything is discarded by the current property owner. We are looking to raise $1800.00, as Ms Augusta is on a tight and fixed monthly income. Any and all support will be greatly appreciated from her, and her neighbors residing in the Bedford Stuyvesant block of Halsey St between Tompkins and Throop Avenue. Thank you

Over $500 has been raised of the $1,800 goal. The fundraiser will last until Monday, July 31st, and you can donate here.

UPDATE: There are many concerns about the veracity of this fundraiser. More details were reported by DNAinfo here.

Tonight! Learn About the Central Brooklyn Food Co-Op

central brooklyn food co-op, brooklyn movement center

The Central Brooklyn Food Co-op is a member-owned and operated food store with membership open to all, now in development under The Brooklyn Movement Center. If you’re interested, there will be a new membership orientation and general meeting this evening. The group is just starting to get the co-op up and running, so now’s the time to get involved! The meeting is taking place between 7:30 and 8:30pm at the Brooklyn Movement Center’s HQ, 375 Stuyvesant Avenue. Here are details:

On Wednesday, July 19th at 6:30pm, the Brooklyn Movement Center (375 Stuyvesant Ave) will be hosting an Orientation and General Meeting for the Central Brooklyn Food Coop. The Orientation will take place first from 6:30 to 7:30 and will be designed to introduce newly-interested people to the coop. It will include a short presentation on the history of cooperatives in Brooklyn and our mission statement.

The General Meeting will be from 7:30 to 8:30, and we will update our existing members on our progress since the last meeting.

We are especially looking for folks to get involved as organizing members; people who are interested in working on committees such as Outreach & Membership, Business Development, and Fundraising to help move the coop through its planning stages. We’ll discuss this more in-depth at the General Meeting, and later in the summer we’ll be having a follow-up meeting for all who are interested in playing a more substantial leadership role with CBFC.