I am sitting in the living/dinning room of a gorgeous brownstone in New York, looking over the back gardens filled with greenery and chirping birds.
We are smack dab in the middle of blocks and blocks of brownstones, on a quiet street in . . . Bed-Stuy!
And you saw that correctly. We are staying in a charming one bedroom apartment on the top floor of a brownstone in the heart of Brooklyn in the predominantly African American neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant, commonly referred to as Bed-Stuy.
Turns out that this has been a middle class African American community for over 100 years. Now it is changing and becoming a more racially mixed with young white singles and families moving into these wonderful and relatively speaking, affordable, homes.
We have been here for three days and will be here for a week, total. To be an obvious minority is an interesting and enlightening experience, one that I’ve never had, it turns out..
A bit of a transforming experience, actually, since there are so many stereotypes about African American neighborhoods. Am I slightly out of my comfort zone? A bit on the first day, but surprisingly, just like all the other times we have stayed in an apartment, we are beginning to feel at home.
We took the subway into Manhattan our first day and came home at about 10 pm, also by subway. By the time we got to our end of Brooklyn, we were the only white people on the train. We got out at the Utica Avenue stop, about a 5 minute walk from the apartment and headed home along the well lit streets, with many pedestrians still about.
Last night we ate in a local, but well known restaurant, just around the block called Peaches. Reminded us a lot of the nice restaurant in our small village in Ohio, and the food was fabulous. Great service, nice atmosphere, and filled with families, singles, couples — all Black — and us. And, as usual, we were the oldest in the room. (Now that’s another interesting minority/majority experience).
You think you grow up with the minimal amount of prejudice, but we live in a racially charged society. And I am not immune.
So staying in this quiet, peaceful and charming neighborhood has been a bit of a life-changing experience.
And did I tell you that we found a parking place right on the street?
And did I tell you about the gorgeous murals in the Utica Avenue Station which is also spacious, well lit, and clean?
Here’s some photos to give you an idea of this part of New York City.