Meet the Bedford neighbors: A free tour grows in Brooklyn

Brooklin's Sao Paulo, where the first walk was held

Williamsburg’s rapid evolution from Katie’s junk-selling tenement neighborhood in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to today’s junk-buying arts community overrun by flea markets and studio lofts has been scrutinized from every angle. Gentrification and rezoning woes aside, the neighborhood has been through a lot since its inception as the Village of Williamsburgh in 1827, and French artist Fred Forest wants to relive this long history with you. On Sept. 8, join him for a free Sociological Walk that leads participants along Bedford Avenue to chat with store owners and in passersby in an experience curator Ruth Erickson calls “part performance, part ad-hoc school and part sociological study.”

The project started when Erickson came across footage of  Forest’s 1973 walk through a São Paulo neighborhood called Brooklin. She was intrigued by the linguistic similarity between Brazil’s Brooklin and New York’s Brooklyn and contacted Forest, who is now 78, and lives in Williamsburg and speaks no English (Ruth will be translating).

The piece is intended to “put more of a face and a distinct personality to the places [residents] already frequent,” Erickson says. In conversing with the people who live and work in Williamsburg, the walk will explore Forest’s initial question, “What could you teach us about what you do everyday?” in the hope that afterward, participants will engage with Bedford a little bit differently.

Due to the nature of the piece, RSVPs are required and can sent to It starts at the corner of Bedford Ave. and N. 7th Street at 4pm for two hours of conversation that will definitely beat another trip to the Trash Bar — or at least change the way you look at it.

Follow Kelly: @iamkellymurphy