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Bed-Stuy brownstoners tour

For once I have a lot more to write about than I have time to write. I decided to check out a stoop sale on Jefferson that I had seen advertised as well as visit some more data points on the map I have. I am used to garage sales in Texas, and thought this would be similar. Not exactly. They did have some Wallace and Gromit videos that I wanted to buy, but they were on VHS and I have no present or future plans to purchase a VCR. =/

I then wanted to try Common Grounds, a local cafe/coffee/waffle/food place. I have been hankering for a waffle ever since I left Texas and realized there were no Waffle Houses in New York City. My hankering was fulfilled by a Belgian waffle smothered in caramel and apples as well as a great strawberry smoothie. It’s a bit of a walk from the MYNT, but it was worth it. I didn’t take my computer (they too have free wifi), but there was a more-exciting-than-I-expected college football game on that I watched. They automatically get extra points because their board game collection included my personal favorite: Scrabble. I would like to know would be interest in a Bed-Stuy Scrabble group, or if one already exists.

After I stepped out of Common Grounds, I looked down the block and saw what looked to be more along the lines of what I was expecting at the stoop sale so I decided I’d check it out.

As it turns out, it was the Bed-Stuy Brownstoner Bazaar for the Annual House Tour! I had really wanted to go to this during the week, but I thought I found out about it too late. Fortunately for me I was able to buy a ticket and start right then! Not only that, the proceeds go to a local scholarship which is something I definitely feel like supporting. I started around 1:30 which was too late to see all the houses, so I started at the end and worked my way down the list.

There was a bus ready to take me to the furthest abode from the bazaar on the tour so I got on and waited. I met an enchanting volunteer and asked her about the tour and her part in it.

She told me that she had been on her first tour three years ago (after living in Bed-Stuy for about 20 years) and that it reinforced her view of the neighborhood as the “hidden gem” of New York City. Paraphrasing, she said:

You see the stories on the news about bad things going on “here” (because they often place things that don’t happen here here), but you really have to come here to see for yourself.

For the record, I have found this to be the case.

Bed-Stuy has had a certain reputation, but it’s working on improving it.

I hope that I have a part in doing just that.

Every stop was magnificent, each involving a great deal of patience and effort on the part of the owners.

Since Bed-Stuy blog covered the bases on the first eleven stops, I want to talk about the first stop I went to (the last on the tour) which was my favorite. Sadly, I don’t have all the detailed information in front of me, but I will update this post later with it.

This stop was actually an apartment, but it was a great example of what someone can do with the resources available if they put their mind to it. The whole apartment was decorated in what the owner called “African Modern” which formed some of my preconceived notions about the place that later turned out to be wrong. You really have to see it to appreciate what he means by that moniker. The most interesting thing to me about how he set up the space was that many areas were repurposed to maximize the living space. Overall, the apartment was shaped like a phone receiver with both ends being separate living spaces. In the hall there was a walk-in closet where he had the bed, which I thought was an inspired decision. The bathroom was arranged in such a way that he didn’t need a shower curtain which really made me reconsider my idea of what a bathroom could be. In one end of the apartment there was a large curtain covering a wall, and this was his new closet. The curtain neatly covered up all the clothes and he had arranged the table and chairs in the room at angles to open up the space, but this also made the clothes accessible. It was great! When I got back to my apartment I measured my closet to see if I could possibly fit my bed in. The dimensions weren’t even close =)

I was really bugged by not having a camera on this tour, and after talking to a friend about it I decided I’d get one. So I did.

A picture of Bedford Stuyvesant from the roof of the MYNT

P.S. rofl