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NYC & Company encourages locals to explore Bed-Stuy, creates list of go-to spots

Photo by Susan De Vries

Plan a staycation in New York this weekend, in the culturally diverse neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant (aka Bed-Stuy).

NYC & Company, a New York City-based marketing and tourism agency, encourages locals and visitors to explore Bed-Stuy and support its small businesses.

“As we continue along the path to recovery, a primary focus at NYC & Company is working toward and maintaining a more equitable future for the culturally diverse neighborhoods across the five boroughs that so prominently represent the dynamism of New York City,” said Fred Dixon, President and CEO at NYC & Company. “Black-owned businesses in Bed-Stuy have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, and we’re encouraging locals and visitors to explore and support the neighborhood’s vibrant restaurants, shops and cultural and wellness attractions that embody the Black diaspora,” he continued.

Bed-Stuy has been a hub of Black culture and activism since the early 20th century. The neighborhood is home to music icons including, The Notorious B.I.G, Jay Z, Lil’ Kim and more.

“An always-shifting landscape coupled with the effects of the pandemic have impacted Black-owned businesses in Bed-Stuy, like in the rest of New York City and the U.S.,” said Rondel Holder, Senior Director of Multicultural Content at NYC & Company. “One way to lend a hand while immersing yourself in local culture is to patronize Black-owned restaurants, bars, retailers and cultural attractions; it will do wonders to stimulate the senses, spark creativity and show much-needed support.”

Visit NYC & Company’s new content hub, The Black Experience in NYC, to learn more about Bed-Stuy and New York’s other culturally diverse neighborhoods. The content hub celebrates New York’s vibrant and diverse Black community and highlights various neighborhoods across the five boroughs to promote inclusivity and a more equitable future as travel restarts.

Below is a selection of Bed-Stuy experiences for you to enjoy during your staycation. For more information and offerings, visit NYC & Company’s Bed-Stuy Guide online.

Shop Unique Findings at Black-Owned Retailers:

For eclectic home-design goods and clothing, shop Peace & Riot known for its curated selection of items, including Moroccan poufs, Sade sweatshirts, aromatherapy candles and Brooklyn Street Art.

Support Black creators in Haiti at Byas and Leon by paying living wages for hand-crafted products, including button-down shirts, gemstone jewelry and more. The local boutique specializes in ethical and sustainable apparel and provides a safe space for creatives, intellectuals and entrepreneurs. 

Visit Moshood/Afrikan Spirit in Restoration Plaza, known for its Nigerian garments and accessories for men. The shop personifies the spirit of African pride and combines traditional African tailoring with a bit of western flair.

Dine and Sip at Black-Owned Restaurants, Cafés and Bars:

For your night on the town, visit Bed-Vyne Brew, a bar that offers ten taps of hand-crafted draft beer with DJs spinning hip-hop, dancehall, funk, soul and more.

If you’re in the mood to be healthy, stop by The Bush Doctor Juice Bar for unique juices, smoothies and food. While you’re there make sure to try the juice bar’s homemade ginger beer, ginger coffee or ginger coco.

Cajun catfish, biscuits and gravy, black-eyed peas and rice … need I say more? Stop by The Southern Comfort to fill your belly with some soul food specialties!

Enjoy Arts, Culture and Wellness Experiences:

If you’re in the neighborhood on Saturday or Sunday, stop by Richard Beavers Gallery, which showcases up-and-coming along with established Black artists who use their art to express issues at the forefront of the Black community.

Get your Bed-Stuy history lesson at the Macon Library this weekend (which also includes an African American Heritage Center featuring historical and cultural archives). The two-story building opened in 1907 and retains its original fireplaces, oak paneling, alcoves and wooden benches.

Enjoy a spa day at Life Wellness Center, an acupuncture and massage center that offers various services, including a botanical experience where custom bouquets are created based on each individual’s energy.

Rest your Head at a Nearby Hotel or Inn:

Sleep like Kings and Queens at Akwaaba Mansion, an 1860s landmark restored villa. The bed-and-breakfast inn is situated in a quiet tree-lined street and features exquisite architectural details and decor that blends antiques and Afrocentric elegance. 

After a day of exploration, get some shut-eye at The Brooklyn Hotel, located between Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights. The modern hotel offers boutique accommodations, personalized service and lavish amenities.

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