Neighborhood News: A Tenants Rights Workshop This Week and a Scholarship Opportunity

tenants rights bed stuy

A few things of note in the nabe!

Tomorrow, Wednesday, July 11th at 6:30pm, the Brooklyn Movement Center is hosting its first-ever tenant’s rights training. Here are details:

Maybe you’re a tenant whose landlord is making it more and more difficult for you to live in your Central Brooklyn apartment.

Or maybe you’ve wondered how to go about getting repairs and improvements made in your building, or whether the rent you’re paying is legal.

The Brooklyn Movement Center, in partnership with the Community Development Project, is offering a training on tenants’ right so that you can answers these questions. During this session, we’ll also discuss BMC’s early efforts to strengthen the ability of long-time Black residents to remain in Central Brooklyn, and how you can possibly play a role in building tenant power in Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights.

It will happen at the BMC’s headquarters at 375 Stuyvesant Avenue. RSVP here.

Secondly, applications are open to graduating high school seniors in Central Brooklyn for the Elsie E. Richardson Scholarship. Here are details on that:

Elsie E. Richardson was a community activist in Bedford Stuyvesant for a number of decades. She was born in 1922 in New York, NY and following high school, where she developed secretarial skills, she put these skills to work to serve her country in Washington D.C. during WWII. Following the war she married and relocated to Brooklyn. Elsie’s involvement and activism placed her in the forefront in supporting and/or forming the following well known organizations: Crown Heights Health Center, St. John’s Recreation Center, Pratt Institute Center for Community Development, Medgar Evers College, Boys and Girls HS, Weeksville Society, and Magnolia Tree Earth Center.

Elsie, a strong supporter of education, earned her BA from Pratt Institute and her MA from the New School for Social Research. As the Co-Chair of the Bedford Stuyvesant Housing Committee in the 1960s she escorted Senator Robert F. Kennedy on a tour of the area. Following the tour upon his recommendation she formed a committee which led to the formation of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation.

Her tireless energy led to her employment as a Broadcaster on Medgar Evers College Radio and a position with the NYC Board of Education. Her family is paying tribute to her commitment to community by offering college scholarships to graduating high school seniors who meet the criteria identified below.

To check out that criteria and submit an application, go here.

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News From Around Bed-Stuy

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*Some tense signage appeared on the former Rabbit Moon storefront at 334 Marcus Garvey Boulevard. The cafe closed last year and is now up for rent again. I heard they got booted after the landlord jacked the rent–a story that this sign certainly supports.

*Down the block, on the corner of Putnam and Marcus Garvey, pizza spot Bravi Ragazzi Pizzeria is moving into the old sports bar. The pizzeria is from South London (hmmmm) and serves Neapolitan style.

*Cakeboi Shop is now open at 624 Throop Avenue, right outside of the Kingston/Throop subway. The space used to be a hair salon. The cake looks amazing!

*A gigantic Bed-Stuy rental is planned for 553-569 Marcy Avenue, 833-869 Myrtle Avenue and 90-134 Stockton Street. According to The Real Deal, the “340,000-square-foot complex would include two 10-story buildings, one nine-story building, one eight-story building and three six-story buildings. The inclusion of a 20,000-square-foot supermarket allowed the developer to expand the residential component by that much space through a city incentive.” The first three buildings are expected to be complete in the next six to eight months and the rest of the project should wrap by the end of 2018.

And get this: the developers plan to ask between $1 million and $2 million for the majority of all 301 apartments! Holy cow.

*Finally, don’t miss this Brokelyn interview about a new documentary now in the works: The Scooter Cops of Bed-Stuy. The doc will chronicle two beloved beat cops, Joe Willins and Kenny Kaufman, who “used their relationships with the community to make the 78th a safer neighborhood for all — and without once firing either of their guns in their 20 years of service.”

New York Magazine Interviews Residents of MacDonough Street to Talk About the Changing Nabe

One Block, New York Magazine

Today New York Magazine released a pretty impressive cover story titled “One Block.” It’s a look at many of the residents living on MacDonough between Patchen and Malcolm X — as the article calls it, “a brownstone block in Bed-Stuy close to the Utica stop on the A/C line that’s seen home prices nearly double in just the past five years. Those prices have brought richer and whiter residents to a block that many black families have called home for generations.”

There are great visuals of brownstone residents in front of their homes, and when you click on the image you can read their stories. As you might expect, there are many recollections of change, higher prices, memories of neighbors and block parties, the changing demographics of the neighborhood, and fear of developers coming in. That’s paired with census statistics, timelines of homeownership, historical details, and old photographs. You could probably spend the whole afternoon with this article, as it’s incredibly interactive and well done. It offers quite the snapshot of a neighborhood that’s really shaped by the longtime home owners who have loved and lived in these brownstones for years.

Bed Stuy in the News This Week

The townhouse at 126 Hancock Street is on the market for $3 million. According to the Observer, it’s the result of a high-level, two-year renovation that “heralds something of a new era for the neighborhood, in which fewer and fewer townhouses will be sold as-is or with perfunctory makeovers.”

YIMBY has the rendering for a very glassy, 11-story residential building planned for Fulton Street and Franklin. There will be 189 units and ground-floor commercial space.

DNAinfo has another rendering for 946 Myrtle Avenue, off of Throop, at the former Key Foods site. It will be a seven-story, 132-unit apartment building that also comes with ground-floor commercial space.

Brownstoner has photos of anti-gentrification fliers that popped up in the neighborhood. Brownstoner says, “The fliers use racist imagery of watermelons and fried chicken, presumably to paint the investors who are buying up property in the neighborhood as racist. And they urge homeowners “Shut it down Bed Stuy by any means necessary.” Presumably that means not selling their homes to investors.”

Gothamist published an article that’s made the rounds this week, titled “The Brooklyn Real Estate Bubble Will Never Pop.” According to the article, there’s no end in site to these insane prices, with a restrictive sales market resulting in more pressure on rents. And here’s an interesting tidbit: “The expert, who asked to remain anonymous because his predictions were so pessimistic, pointed to Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant, two neighborhoods that have traditionally been poor and lacking in amenities but have undergone rapid gentrification. There’s no rationale for paying top dollar to live in either of these neighborhoods, he said, unless you’re so desperate to live in Brooklyn that you don’t care how much it costs.”

Bed Stuy in the News This Week

Happening today! It may be rainy but try to check out Bed Stuy’s first Saturday Art Walk, which starts at noon and lasts until 9pm. There are eight participating galleries throughout the neighborhood. If you can’t make it today, the event will happen on the first Saturday of every month through October.

We’re getting a French wine bar in the old Celestino space. Brownstoner reports that the owner of Cafe Lafayette, in Fort Greene, will call it Stuy Restaurant and serve wine, salads, paninis and cheese plates.

More news from Brownstoner: a new construction condo at 353 Jefferson Avenue has hit the market with prices ranging from $899,000 to $1,150,000 (some real estate advice: don’t pay that much to live in a condo in Bed Stuy. Just don’t.) And the Landmarks Preservation Commission will vote on designating the proposed Bedford Historic District within the next year. The district includes about 800 buildings in the western part of Bed Stuy, between Bedford and Tompkins.

Back in March, the luxury developer Bushburg Properties purchased the affordable housing development at 1711 Fulton Street, which is just off the Utica A stop. They paid $38 million, probably because the building’s Mitchell-Lama obligations will be up for renewal this year and Bushburg won’t have to maintain the affordable units. Now Gothamist is reporting that the developers fired nine of the building’s maintenance workers, “who saw their healthcare and pensions nullified and their hourly wages slashed from $22 to $12.”

Gothamist also has a video — which I didn’t watch — of a gunman opening fire in front near Malcolm X Boulevard near Halsey Street in broad daylight. He missed his intended target and instead hit a bystander, who made it to the hospital in stable condition.

Bed Stuy in the News This Week

The author of the blog Tribeca Citizen took a field trip to Bed Stuy and posted lots of photos of the trip. They didn’t know a whole lot about the neighborhood: “When I moved to New York City in 1992, all I knew about Bed-Stuy was that it stands for Bedford-Stuyvesant and Do the Right Thing was set there. Also, it was said to be dangerous enough that it never occurred to me to go. Plus, to be totally honest, I rarely ventured to Brooklyn before 2000.” Still, they came out of this recent trip impressed.

Here are horribly depressing photos over at Brownstoner of an excavator demolishing one of Bed Stuy’s oldest buildings, the pre-Civil War Carpenter Gothic church at 809 Jefferson Avenue. It’ll be replaced, of course, by apartments.

Feast BedStuy is hosting another foodie crawl, this one along Malcolm X Boulevard. It is happening on Tuesday, June 2nd and will include Casablanca, Daddy Green’s Pizza, Doc D’s Southern Desserts, Khemistry Bar and L’Antagoniste. Details here.

This is so exciting! Kafe L’Ouverture is opening up on Halsey Street at the old Chaitty Coffee Shop. The husband and wife team are planning a Haitian themed cafe with chicken, beef, fish, vegetable and shrimp patties, mangoes, fresh coconuts and salads. Story at DNAinfo.

DNAinfo also reports that a nonprofit will bring free environmental workshops to the storefront at 456A Nostrand Avenue this summer. The goal of the arts-based public programs is to raise awareness about neighborhood sustainability.

Bed Stuy in the News This Week

There are already nine CitiBike stations in west Bed Stuy, and 26 more are coming to the rest of the neighborhood by the end of this year. According to DNAinfo, docking stations will be installed as far as Utica Avenue. For the occasion, the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation will partner with Citi Bike to bring safety trainings and helmet fittings to the area.

A new bar called C’mon Everybody will open in early June at 325 Franklin Avenue, off Clifton Place. Bedford and Bowery reports there will be a separate space for live music acts and seasonal cocktails.

There’s a new blog in town called Streets of Brooklyn. Here’s the description: “Chicken bones and rubber gloves in Bed-Stuy: trash at the nexus of race and class.” Here’s what the blog author told DNAinfo about the trash in the neighborhood: “I think there is a race and class issue at the heart of it, in terms of the way the city of New York prioritizes which communities get better treatment in terms of trash pick up.”

Brownstoner profiled a renovation in Bed Stuy that transformed a wrecked row house into a sleek, modern home. The final result looks beautiful!

Saraghina, the popular pizza spot on Lewis Avenue, has opened a cocktail bar next door. It’ll serve drinks from 6pm to closing, with plans to add a small plates menu soon. More details at Brownstoner.