Business is booming in Bedford-Stuyvesant, its commercial heart beating along Fulton Street on a retail sprawl the size of eight football fields.
Trendy boutiques, national chain stores, and long-standing mom-and-pops bustle along Fulton between Troy and Classon Avenues, and on Nostrand Avenue from Halsey Street to Atlantic Avenue. It’s a shopping depot for residents, a magnet for new transplants, and a point of discovery for tourists seeking a special souvenir — whether an exotic African curio or a sumptuous memory of a soul-food dinner savored in a cozy restaurant.
You can feel the change because people are taking a strong interest in this part of Bed-Stuy for the great opportunities that exist here,” says Michael Lambert, executive director of the six-year-old Bed-Stuy Gateway Business Improvement District that manages the commercial corridor and collaborates on such improvement projects as the $20 million Nostrand Avenue reconstruction between Atlantic and Flushing avenues, and the $22 million Fulton Street scape Beautification project with new plazas, sidewalks, trees, benches, illumination, and bike racks to enhance visual appeal.”
Lambert takes his job seriously. When contractors working on the Nostrand Avenue project left for the day with the sidewalk ripped open between Fulton and Halsey streets —posing an imminent danger to merchants and patrons —he fired off phone calls and emails to city pooh-bahs until the problem was fixed within 24 hours.
“That way businesses could engage safely with their customers again,” he says. The Bed-Stuy Gateway Business Improvement District serves close to 400 commercial enterprises, and is among the 72 such private-public partnerships with the New York City Department of Small Business Services helping to revitalize neighborhoods and spur economic development across the city through $100 million invested in programs and services.”