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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development

New York City Neighborhoods
Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn

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Bedford-Stuyvesant, generally referred to as Bed-Stuy, is the larger of New York City's two major black communities. It is bordered by Flushing Avenue on the north, Broadway and Saratoga Avenue on the east, Atlantic Avenue on the south and Classon Avenue on the west. Bed-Stuy is in Brooklyn Community District 3.


The neighborhood name is derived from the joining of two 19th-century middle-income communities: Bedford to the west and Stuyvesant Heights to the east. The woodlands of Bedford were purchased in the mid-1600s by the Dutch West Indies Company from the Canarsee Indians, and the land was used as a farming village inhabited by Dutch farmers and black slaves.

Over the years, farmland was gradually divided into housing lots. By 1873, the population had reached 14,000, and included Irish, Germans, Jews, Scots, Dutch and free blacks. Further growth was spurred in the 1880s by the opening of the elevated railway and then the Brooklyn Bridge; by 1920, the population had grown to 45,000.

In 1936, the subway system reached Bedford-Stuyvesant. Soon thereafter, blacks, including recent Caribbean immigrants, became the dominant group of residents. In 1968, the area's residents elected Shirley Chisolm, the first black woman to serve in the U.S. Congress.


Bed-Stuy is a stable and moderate-income community, with tree-lined blocks of literally hundreds of well-kept brownstone, brick and masonry townhouses, many of distinguished architectural quality. The area contains several historic districts and many landmark public buildings.

The G, M, J, A and C subway lines serve the area, as well as the Franklin Avenue Shuttle and extensive bus routes.
There are 22 public elementary schools throughout Community District 3. There are five public junior high schools and four public high schools. In addition, there are 12 private or parochial elementary schools.
Housing Stock:

The southern and western portions of Bed-Stuy have some particularly fine architectural properties. Brevoort Place, south of Fulton Street between Franklin and Bedford Avenues, for example, features a full block of handsome brownstones in excellent condition, complete with original architectural details. Note also the three blocks on Jefferson Avenue between Nostrand and Throop Avenues for fine examples of Renaissance Revival brownstones built in the 1870s.

More than 2,290 middle-income homes are currently under construction or have been recently completed in the greater Bed-Stuy area, and the neighborhood homeownership rate is 20 percent.

The Saratoga Square Urban Renewal Project accounts for a major portion of new housing development in the community. Encompassing a 30-block area in Bed-Stuy and the adjoining Oceanhill/Brownsville neighborhood, the nine phases of Saratoga Square will provide a total of 1,240 residential units in a combination of newly constructed two- and three-family homes and condominium units in rehabilitated apartment buildings. All phases have been completed and the properties sold, with the exception of the final parcel of 8 two-family homes.

Where do I find my new home?
In addition to the real estate classifieds in the big dailies, try local Brooklyn papers such as The Spectator and The Home Reporter, or Home Sweet Home and the Homefinder magazines, which are distributed in local supermarkets. Another potential source of information are the privately-run real estate websites, such as Real Estate Español, Realty Times, or HomeStore.
Special Note:
Make a point to check out the Alhambra Apartments, at Nostrand Avenue and Hancock Street. This ornate terra cotta structure, with NYC landmark status, is one of the finest of many distinctive Bed-Stuy buildings designed by Morris & Freeman, Brooklyn's greatest 19th-century architects. The building has been recently rehabilitated and now houses affordable apartments.

Bed-Stuy hosts many seasonal events: the Fulton Avenue Fair, which runs for three consecutive weekends in June and July; the International African Arts Festival in July; the Brownstones of Bed-Stuy House Tour in October; and the Weeksville Family Festival in August.

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