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.

Please Help the Macon Library Raise Funds for the African American Heritage Center

Macon Street Library, macon street library fundraiser

The Macon Library Friends Group, recently formed, has launched its first fundraiser to help support our local library. (Full disclosure: I’m part of this group.) Now on Indiegogo, we are trying to hit a fundraising goal of $1,000. The library has a wish list of things it needs, but we are starting with supporting its African American Heritage Center. The center, located in the back corner of the library, opened in 2008 and contains material on African American history and culture, as well as the “Preserving Footsteps” collection. All money donated will go toward new books for the center, as well as updated technology for all patrons. If you’ve been to the library you know it’s an incredible resource for the whole community, and does *a lot* with its current funding. Our goal is to raise extra funds to bring even more resources to the library.

Any amount helps tremendously! To donate, just go here. If you’re interested in volunteering with the Friends Group, email me at

Don’t Forget to Vote for Participatory Budgeting!

The residents of District 36, which covers Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights, have a slate of great things to vote for in this year’s participatory budgeting. This is an amazing opportunity for residents to vote on how they’d like their local representative to spend $1 million of the public budget. (Our rep is Council Member Robert Cornegy.) Some ballot measures include basketball court renovations for two gyms at MS 35 on Macdonough Street, the installation of closed circuit television security at the Nostrand Avenue subway, a technology expansion at P.S. 256, P.S. 289 and P.S. 305, and also resurfacing the streets with major cracks and potholes in parts of the Community Boards 8 and 3. You can view a map with all the local ballot proposals here.

This year it’s easier than ever to vote as you can do it online. Or, find voting sites within our district here. The only voting requirements are that you must live in a participating Council District and be at least 14 years old or served as a Budget Delegate this year. Voting closes soon, on Sunday, April 2nd!

Tonight: Pizza Fundraiser for a Bed-Stuy Nonprofit

Tonight, don’t miss the chance to eat a lot of pizza and support local organization Children of Promise, NYC. This is an award-winning organization nationally recognized for its work of empowering children of incarcerated parents–and a lot of the work happens right here in Bed-Stuy. To support its work, Children of Promise is hosting a pizza fundraiser from 7pm to 10:30pm. Here are details:

The event will include all-you-can-eat gourmet pizza and your choice of two free drinks with every $20 ticket. Enjoy slices of Margherita, pepperoni and Sicilian style cheese pizza all night thanks to Fortina Pizza, as well as complimentary soda and water. $4 drinks specials throughout the evening.

100% of proceeds benefits Children of Promise, NYC, the first and only after-school program and summer day camp in NYC specifically designed to meet the needs, interests and concerns of children left behind by parents serving time in prison.

Seems like great Friday night plans to me. Purchase tickets here.