The Bedford Stuyvesant Gateway BID celebrated National Small Business Week by hosting its first ever Jane’s Walk in partnership with the Municipal Art Society (MAS) as part of the 100th Anniversary Celebration on the behalf of the birth of Jane Jacobs on Saturday May 7th, 2016. The Jane’s walk was inspired by Jane Jocob’s. Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) was an urban writer and activist who championed new community based approaches for over 40 years. Jane’s effort to stop downtown expressways and protect local neighborhoods invigorated community-based urban activism helped end Parks Commissioner Robert Moses’s reign of power in New York City. Ms. Jacobs approached cities as living beings and ecosystems. She suggested that over time, buildings, streets and neighborhoods function as dynamic organisms, changing in response to how people interact with them.
The walk went from Fulton Street and Brooklyn Avenue to Fulton and Bedford Avenue. Along with twelve residents of the Bed-Stuy community we visited the Slave Theater located at 1215 Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY 11216. The Slave Theater, was once a hub of civil rights activity. We visited Birdel’s Records. Birdel’s opened in 1944 where Mr. Long eventually began working in 1957 and owned the shop since the late 1960’s. Although Birdel’s has been closed since 2001 on Tuesday, September 23, 2014, Mr. Long’s dream came true: The stretch of Nostrand Avenue between Fulton and Atlantic Avenue was co-named by the City, “Birdel’s Records Way.” We were also able to hear about stores and the history of the neighborhood from the BID chair Emeritus Mr. Hardy Joe Long.
The walk lasted about an hour and a half. Several other BID businesses were showcased such as Charlie’s Calypso City located at 1273 Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY 11216 is owned by Mr. Rawlston Charles. It opened in July 1972, the store has been a hub for Brooklyn’s Caribbean community, reinventing itself for each era and Big Brothers Hardware located at 1327 Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY 11216. These businesses have been apart of the BID for several decades and has contributed to the community.
The walk also provided the participants with the opportunity to learn about new businesses that are opening or recently opened in the BID such as Planet fitness, new restaurants and coffee shops as well as numerous establishments that are under construction. The participants were also provided with the opportunity to learn first hand about the many changes taking place. You can view more photos from the Jane’s Walk at: https://www.facebook.com/bedstuygateway/media_set?set=a.2486270471398359.1073741868.100000462901205&type=3