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Real EstateCity LivingBrooklyn

City Living: Bed-Stuy's beautiful brownstones are attracting newcomers

In recent years, Bedford-Stuyvesant, the sprawling, historic brownstone neighborhood in northern central Brooklyn, has become a sought-after area for real estate.

Residents there say it should be no surprise that it is once again blossoming to be what it was before its downfall in the 1980s. They say its housing stock -- mainly filled with 19th century brownstones and row houses (some with gas lamps out front) -- matched with its diversity of residents and businesses, proximity to Manhattan (30-35 minutes), and progressive decrease in crime over the last 20 years is what always made it a hidden gem. It is now becoming less hidden.

"Bed-Stuy is the forgotten about part of brownstone Brooklyn. For years Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Park Slope and Fort Greene got the shine," said Citi Habitats Real Estate Agent Kyle McCullers whos lived here since 2011. "But you can get these really charming historical homes for a lot less than you would in those neighborhoods. Now word is out and people are buying."

Michael Lambert, executive director of the Bed-Stuy Gateway Business Improvement District agreed.

"Over the past five to 10 years, we've seen a significant level of change. People are starting to take stock of what Bed-Stuy has to offer," he said.

Bed-Stuy is populated predominantly with African Americans and Caribbean Americans but a range of ethnicities call it home. Lambert calls it "a literal melting pot." Though many new and younger residents are moving in, he said it's not uncommon to go to a community board meeting and find people who have lived on the same block for 45 years.

Many of the side streets are tree-lined with brownstones dating back to 19th century architectural styles. This includes the ornate Alhambra apartment building at Nostrand Avenue and Halsey Street, one of the first things people see when they step out of the Nostrand Avenue A train station, designed by Brooklyn architect Montrose W. Morris and built in 1889.

The commercial corridors have distinct personalities, for example Lewis Avenue, which offers a quaint retail experience and Fulton Street, where it's common to hear reggae music wafting out of a small clothing store or a Caribbean shipping business.

Part of the area was given the status as a historic district by the City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2013. This district consists of Macon Street, Halsey Street and Jefferson Avenue to the north, Fulton, Chauncey and Decatur Street to the south, Tompkins Avenue at the west and Malcolm X Boulevard at the east. It was an expansion of the Stuyvesant Heights historic district, designated in 1971.

Bed-Stuy is also known for its role in hip hop culture, being the home town of big names like rappers Jay-Z and The Notorious B.I.G.

Today many of the old brownstones are being renovated and new buildings are being built with modern amenities, catering to buyers and renters who are looking for something traditional or contemporary.