Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 3.27.20 PMThe online blog Brokelyn recently published a followup to a Daily News story that made quite an interesting observation:

Some real estate developers believe they’ll have a better chance at “selling Bed-Stuy” retail properties by whitewashing its residents.

As Brokelyn pointed out, one particular developer, Bawabeh Brothers– the owner of six storefronts along Fulton Street between Nostrand and Marcy– plans to replace the current retail tenants with trendy restaurants and boutiques.

Apparently, this particular landlord feels the neighborhood would be more attractive to would-be retailers if everyone just pretended that there were no residents of color. In fact, he has gotten so brazen about this presumption, he has printed marketing materials to support his exotic fantasy.

A photo of an actual restaurant in Bed-Stuy, Saraghina. (Wait, I think I see a person of color way in the back… Hold on, let me grab my reading glasses…)

In a special Fulton Street retail issue of the brochure, the developer gives the handbook chapters and sub-titles, such as “Bed-Stuy Reimagined,” and “Fulton Street Re-visioned,” with renderings of a totally new Fulton Street void a single person of color.

You see a brushed-up Fulton Street that is barely recognizable, with glass-encased walkways, sidewalk cafes and high-end shopping boutiques.

Some of you might ask, “So, what’s wrong with an improved Fulton Street with nice cafes and restaurants?

Nothing. But in this case, the problem lies not so much in what you show as fantasy, but what you fail to show as fact.

The truth is, Bed-Stuy is a diverse community. The even realer truth is, Bed-Stuy is still predominantly black. However, the danger is, when fantasies align with money, the line between fact and fiction can get awfully blurry.

Join the Conversation


  1. It is getting so tiring to hear outsiders that think BS needs to be restored, reimagined. Yes we needed more economic development but we don’t need to be “whitewashed” to extinction.

  2. As a long time resident of BS, long , long time resident, BedStuy gets what it deserves for electing leadership that does nothing and did nothing for years.
    DeKalb Avenue from MG Blvd. going west is a wasteland that is so filthy and nasty in the morning it turns my stomach waiting on the bus. That should be a major economic hub.
    Outdated parking rules in BS works against its working class residents who could spend better time after work patronizing businesses – many spend the evenings parking for the next day.
    There also seems to be an aversion to beautifying BS. It is one of the most treeless nabes in brooklyn (you can die of heat stroke shopping along Fulton Street in the summer) …
    I could go on an on.
    Landlords can do some house cleaning too. That is by not renting to sexual offenders and repeat offenders.
    I’m just saying.

  3. You can call Babaweh Brothers at
    539 Eastern Parkway Pedestrian Mall Brooklyn, NY 11216
    (718) 703-8403
    or the guy Earl who’s mentioned in that promotional PDF that’s linked above
    917 239 4425
    and complain. I did. It’s disgusting what they’re doing. They talk about it being “the new Williamsburg.” I lived in the old Williamsburg and saw what happened, and it would be tragic if that happened to Bed Stuy.

    1. Complaining to the people who published the brochure is quite useless. Complain to your elected officials (assemblyman/woman, council man/woman, congress man/woman, your district manager) who are supposed be working for you.

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