Bed Stuy/ Bushwick

Real estate agent re-imagines Bed-Stuy without black people

Fun fact: White people all have that weird Waking Life animation, at all times

It’s been a little while since we got to talk about “Bed-Stuy is the new Williamsburg,” so it’s a good thing that real estate agent Robert Earl decided to bring it up again. It’s also a good thing that in his brochure trying to attract fancy restaurants to properties running from 1347 to 1361 Fulton Street that he acted like black people don’t live here anymore. If gentrification had a playbook, this thing would be it.

The brochure was brought to everyone’s attention by the Daily News, who talked to the retail tenants along the strip in question, who had no idea they were going to get pushed out. Pushed out for what exactly? Some kind of six-storefront monstrosity that becomes “THE destination place in BedStuy [sic] for foodies and unique shops.”

Which is all well and good (it’s not well and good at all), but the brochure, which seeks to “bring the neighborhood together on an artisanal plane” has three pictures of humans. Not one of these humans being used to hype up investment in this historically black neighborhood that has “tough streets immortalized in the hip-hop genre” is a black person. This is not Robert Earl’s first time at the awful rodeo; a different News story pegs him as the broker advertising East New York as “the next frontier.


  1. Dev Toure

    I really wish that white people wouldn’t move to Bed Stuy and other historically black neighborhoods (not going to happen) or at least realize how their presence and white privilege affects the black and brown residents of that area.

    Gentrification is erasure, and it’s also a form of violence. This seems to be the generational pattern: move brown and black folks out of an area, raise the prices and increase policing, rename the neighborhood, and repeat. To be honest, white people have been reimagining spaces, states, whole countries without black or brown people forever. *points to literally any moment in post-colonial history*

    • Hey, they’re immigrants to a new neighborhood just like the Mexicans in California and Texas and should be welcomed. You surely wouldn’t criticize Mexicans for “taking over” historically white neighborhoods?
      (And by the way, “Mexicans” are primarily immigrants from Europe, Spain and Portugal )
      Me thinks you need some diversity training.

      • R. Wright

        You must be the funniest guy at the parties because Mexicans are not immigrants from Europe, Spain and Portugal. They’re a mixture of Aztec and European. Also, they were in Texas before the white people were, so please get your history straight.

        And did David Rosado say they didn’t want white people in the neighborhood? Yeah, but you know what if you weren’t so quick to get butthurt you’d realize that they also asked that if you do then to think about the effect it has on the lives there. You’re acting like gentrification doesn’t effect black and brown people, that it’s just a case of “reverse racism” and that when the real estate prices shoot up along with rent prices that people won’t be forced out of their homes.

        Man, get off your high uneducated horse and go home.

        • R. Wright

          Correction: The reply you’re responding Greg was made by Dev Toure. My mistake, but my comment still stands.

          Also, Mexicans owned California before white people did because they tried to run out the Native tribes in that area along with Texas and several other areas.

          You know what, go read “Lies My Teacher Told Me” and “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee”. Get yourself educated.

          • Mexicans owned California?
            I suspect the Native American tribes would disagree with you on that!!!
            Actually Spain, a white European country, “owned” California first.
            And it was the white Spaniards who “ran out” the Native tribes (and interbred with them).

            And this one “You must be the funniest guy at the parties because Mexicans are not immigrants from Europe, Spain and Portugal. They’re a mixture of Aztec and European”
            OMG! European … seriously? You seriously don’t know that 1.) Spain and Portugal are part of Europe. 2.) Mexico and California were settled originally by the Spanish, i.e. people from Spain which is in Europe!!!

            Talk about needing an education!!!

            • Manny

              You do realize that you just proved him right and how wrong you are? Lol If Mexicans are a result of Spaniards(Spain/Portugal) mixing with the Natives(Aztec…you know the NATIVE AMERICAN civilization)? Then Mexicans were never immigrants & YES California and Texas were part of Mexico at a point. You seriously are the “funniest guy at the parties” and apparently haven’t realized it yet, fool.

            • ENYbklyn718

              The Spanish settled it using other Natives from Mexico, the Spanish weren’t here in numbers that would allow for only them (spanish citizens) to settle, they used native and mixed race people as their armies. The spanish did not have such an issue with racial mixing and started mixing right away. You must not know about Juan Garrido who was an African-spanish conquistador who with Cortes helped conquer a lot of land for the Spanish. There were also many Arabs who were given the right to settle in latin America in the name of Spain .

        • ” Mexicans are not immigrants from Europe, Spain and Portugal. They’re a mixture of Aztec and European” So like where did this “mixing” occur, in Europe or Mexico? So Spaniards immigrate to Mexico, mix with Natives and have kids. They’re children of immigrants. Now, my forbearers, immigrated to America, had kids, What makes one set of kids of immigrants “non-invaders” and the other “invaders”? Do we perform DNA tests and if you have more than 25 percent European DNA you’re and invader? Sorry, Mexicans are predominately the children of Spanish immigrants from Europe.

      • ENYbklyn718

        Mexico was a huge hub during the African Slave trade and a huge part of the mexican population has african ancestry, whether they know it or now. PBS did a great documentary a few years back called Black in Latin America with one episode showing Mexico’s african heritage. It even showed how many people who look to be white or Black are actually much more mixed than even they thought.

        Also if people want to use the logic of the Spanish are european therefore they are white I would read up on spanish history, the moors had more of an impact on Spain other then their architecture, I’ve met tons of spanish with olive/brown skin, curly hair and other African or Arab traits. They aren’t the English and they never really had a problem with racial mixing which is why latinos/Hispanics don’t all look exactly the same. Latin America doesn’t follow the same racial definitions as the United States/English does so you can’t use the same rules.

        • Spanish are European. Now, if you are going to try to say that Spanish European’s aren’t “White” well for that matter pretty much every ethnic group in Europe is not “White”. So why do ONLY the Spanish of all the European groups get their own invent “racial” category of “Hispanic”?
          (And what about George Zimmerman’s “White Hispanic” category!)

          Sorry but the Spanish were part of the Imperialist European Conquering class, more so than the “White” Dutch, English, etc. They are just as much “criminals” as the evil Mayflower crowd and so are their descendants for that matter! The so called “Mexicans” are the conquers who stole that land from the various native tribes.

      • What me thinks Greg is that white people have no respect for other peoples culture and as they done throughout history is want to erase what was there and remake everything in their image. E.G. Spike Lees family has owned a home in Clinton Hill for maybe 50 years. His father is a known Jazz musician(wait do you know who Spike Lee is)? For 50 years this man has been able to enjoy playing his Jazz music with no complaints. Now gentrification occurs and the good white folk don’t want to hear his jazz music. Do the confer with their neighbor to work something out. NO they call the police. And when his sone addresses it on TV. They deface his property with garbage. And I have more scenarios like that. So Me thinks instead of you hiding behind subversive comments you just be a good ole boy and be a overt racist

        • Spike Lee is the rather mediocre film director who uses bigoted stereotypes of Italian Americans in his films. He hasn’t made a successful film in over two decades. Detailed enough for you?
          Oh, his underage kid was caught in a strip club.

    • Artie P.

      People of African-American descent only started moving to Bed-Stuy about 80 years ago. Before that it was all Dutch and other Europeans. It’s reductive and ignorant to say you don’t want “white people” moving into your “historically black” neighborhood.

      • Bedstuy

        You do realize that when blacks did start moving in, the people got the KKK to come up north to try to scare them away? Then when blacks moved in regardless, the whites left in droves. Now all of a sudden everyone wants to move back to Bed-Stuy like none of this happened. This like this resonate with people and make them upset. Not only do you have the audacity to move out just because we move in, you know want to come back like you never left and kick us out.

        • BedSty-you’re right. Same thing happened in Harlem and especially Newark.

          After the King riots, whites cleared out of Newark in droves-I-280 was built so they could flee west to the suburbs in quick time. Blacks were displaced/kicked out due to that highway.

          Now they’re getting sick and tired of, i.e. commuting to NYC to work, plus Newark’s close to Liberty Airport, jump on PATH and you’re in Manhattan in minutes, plus Newark Penn station, where PATH, and Amtrak run.

          The PAC (Performing Arts Center) wasn’t built for Newark’s residents, neither was the Prudential Arena, otherwise they would have been built after those riots. They were built in the mid-late ’90’s.

      • Sorry Artie P, but you are wrong. My very Afro-Carribbean father was born in Bed-Stuy (except you guys now call it Clinton Hill) in 1918. His father came to the states at the turn of the century and moved to a mixed neighborhood of poor Jews, Irish, Italians and Blacks (none of whom were considered white at the time). Take a look at old yearbook pictures from Boys High (on Marcy Avenue) or Girls High (on Nostrand) from the 20’s. There are black kids in every grade, every year. Not to mention that Crown Heights and Bed Stuy had been home to enclaves of freed slaves from the 1700s on (look up PigTown and Weeksville). In 1790, one third of the population of Brooklyn was composed of slaves, most of whom gained their freedom over the next 40 years. Don’t take my word for it, go to the Brooklyn Historical Society and take a look at the pictures, documents and records.

        Before you start spouting off about a neighborhood, learn something. I can trace my family’s roots to Bed-Stuy back a hundred years. I know each block where my grandparents lived, where my father went to school, where his sisters and brothers lived, and where he built the home that eventually housed my mother and I. We are not a fantasy or a child’s fairy tale and I refuse to have people like you claim they never were, just because you were ignorant about their existance.

    • jcarter

      I feel your pain,I was born and raised in a traditionally WHITE neighborhood in the Bronx. Then these minority interlopers came and took over and destroyed it. I wish we could pass a law to keep certain people out of OUR neighborhoods.There are very few historically WHITE neighborhoods left in the Bronx and these black and browns are trying to take over them as well. Why can’t they leave us alone?

      • ENYbklyn718

        So did these interlopers steal the houses and apartments from whites or did your own people rent to them and sold them houses? Did whites literally flee/abandon these neighborhoods to create new white neighborhoods in the suburbs? If the americans (natives) of the Bronx were still around I’m sure they would feel the same about your ancestors (the original interlopers).

  2. Wow. Talk about misrepresentation.He would get better responses if it showed black, white, hispanic, and asian people in the Bedstuy bars and cafes enjoying themselves together.
    This real estate guy has old world notions.

  3. Chynadahl

    Thank you Greg!!! So glad you pointed that out. You go to most of these local sites and blogs popping up in Brooklyn over the last 5 years who claim to be authorities on the neighborhood, and not only are they written by 99.9 folks void of color who just got here 5 years ago, but the editorial reflects a complete lack of inclusiveness of the REAL demographic makeup. You get to hear about all the cafes and bars and stoop sales and art shows of interest to that minority that — like Robert Earl– have reimagined themselves as the majority!

  4. I am just glad that we all can’t get along. That Rodney King, what an idiot. First he gets his ass kicked by a gang of cops by being so darkly complected, then he goes and asks for people to try and accept others when the white cops are let go by a jury in Simi Valley. Who saw that verdict coming in white flight Simi?

    Why don’t we just all invest in Super Glue and start tacking people down in their current locations with that? Will that satisfy all of you? How far back are we going to go to find the era when everything was as it should be? Time passes, people come and go – get over yourselves.

    This is an amusing story about an exploitative land developer, who looks interested in screwing a neighborhood in the here and now so that he can make a pile of money. You all better hope he doesn’t have City Hall in his pocket or he may come in a just take what he wants, with the city backing him up.

    If you don’t want to see that happen, well get down to the voter registration office and get registered, because if you don’t vote, you don’t count. Stop being stupid. You can’t stop the jerks who want to throw you in the trash heap of history from here.

    That is all.

  5. T.Watson

    Well, he can imagine Bed-Stuy with white people all he wants. I’m never moving out and that’s a fact. So if white people likes this idea of moving blacks out, Keep dreaming. I’m not moving anywhere. I refuse to move down-south to encounter more racism down there.

  6. Sarita

    This is an awful reminder that while gentrification is about wealth, it is also very much about race. Maybe this guy’s omission of black people was intentional, and maybe it was just honest idiocy leaking out. Either way it’s terrifying, even more so because he supposedly (as they mention at the end of the article) has his eyes on East New York too.

    In the last year, I’ve interviewed a dozen people who watched white flight happen right before their eyes in East NY between the 1940s and 1960s, when the Federal Housing Administration actively supported the creation of separate but not equal communities all over the US. Under these policies, non-whites were restricted to living in a few communities while new housing and new communities were built for exclusively white residents all over the country. Banks blatantly stopped investing in non-white communities and property values plummeted, while property values in white communities soared. The FHA set the foundation for an ever-growing wealth gap between whites and non-whites, so that now, people of color can rarely afford to live in the same neighborhoods as whites.

    Ironically, gentrification seems to start with a lack of racism. Young, open-minded white people may not have any of the reservations their parents might have had about living in a black neighborhood. And the rent is cheaper. So they move there, maybe even laughing to themselves at all of those fools who are paying crazy rents because they’re scared of living in a black neighborhood.

    But lives in the US are still so segregated. Chances are that any given white person probably has mostly white friends. So when they tell their friends that [Bed-Stuy, Bushwick, Crown Heights] is a great place to live, and their friends decide to check it out, those friends are probably white. And once there are enough young white people, they start making it look and feel safe to the white people who might not want to move into a neighborhood if it was too black. But now its a little whiter. So they move in too. And gradually, all of these white people with their statistically higher incomes and greater wealth drive up prices, push people of color out, and even if they maybe feel slightly bad about it, they are probably, honestly, not gonna lose sleep over it.

    So yes gentrification is about race, and its about income. And it is so deeply unfair. From 1934 to 1968, the federal government actively intervened in housing policy in to support segregated communities, mainly to ensure ‘stability’ and prosperity for white communities. Clearly, when they want to, governments CAN act to affect who lives where. Now its their turn to act on behalf of people of color.

    • Way to live in the past!
      Not for nothing but to constantly bring up things that happened 50 years ago gets old.
      That whole guilt trip doesn’t play outside the hardcore progressive liberal community.

      Btw Asians “with their statistically higher income and greater wealth drive up prices, push people of” … well … color … out ! So are they “the enemy” too? Last I checked they were portrayed as victims of the evil white man but they do seem to take over neighborhoods and drive the blacks out too! And then their are the Indians!

      How about this, you want to live in a desirable area, make more money. As long as you can pay the rent nobody cares what color you are!

      • Tiggy

        @ Greg, what’s past is prologue. (Shakespeare – The Tempest)

        You’re a fool if you think what happened in the past isn’t reasserting itself today, and simplistic to believe money is the answer to everything. Oops! Sorry. Meant to say “Republican” instead of simplistic.

        • @ Tiggy I’d hazard to guess that the majority of people moving into Bushwick and “ethnically cleansing” it are SOLID Obama voters! Guilty, wealthy, white people. Hey, maybe they’ll let you live in the servant quarters!

          • jcarter

            It’s always amusing when liberals attack their own. This past week two Obama supporters robbed and took over an apartment from 3 liberals in Bushwick. The two Obama supporters were upset because Bushwick is getting to white.

            • are you using “Obama supporters” as code for black people and “liberals” for white people or did I miss that part of the news report where the victims and perpetrators were all talking about their electoral political leanings?

          • what does supporting Obama even have to do with gentrification? are you trying to say something about hypocracy or something? cause I think you might be doing it wrong.

    • Murray

      Hey Sarita, I’m curious about your interviews – are you working on a project that documents the history of the neighborhood? Is there anything you can share about your work?

      • Sarita

        As it’s still a project in progress there isn’t really anything easily shareable yet. But when the interviews are completed, later this year, the plan is for them to become part of the archive at the Brooklyn Historical Society, and to set up a website as well. Do you know someone who might want to be interviewed?

        • murray

          Sounds very interesting and valuable – I’m working on some other documentary projects in the neighborhood – would be good to talk off-line – can you e-mail me at murray[at]

        • are you just interviewing folks who stayed? my mom’s eye doctor is white and grew up in east New York and so far as I know was part of white flight but I’ve never talked to him about it. I only even know that cause when my parents (also white) moved here in 1964 they lived there and my mom likes to talk about random ways people are connected. my parents only lived there a few years though.

          • Sarita

            @Al, the interviews aren’t restricted to people who stayed – just anyone who lived in East NY during the 60s and remembers it well enough to talk about what they experienced and saw happening during that time. If you email me at daftarysarita [at] I can send you some more info to share with your mom’s eye doctor…or I could just contact him directly if you feel comfortable sharing his info. Thanks!

    • jcarter

      I hope the government will act. There are very few WHITE neighborhoods left in the Bronx,they are being pushed out by minority interlopers who are changing the culture and crime rates of the neighborhoods they invade.

  7. jay brown

    I know SOME white people are ashamed of how they treat black and brown people; that is why they separate themselves so they don’t have to deal with be accountability.. But God is going to hold them accountable……There is no escaping God wrath….

    • Or… There is factually no such thing as god, and it’s a work of fiction for you to get worked up about. Not to mention how you’re implying that whites are the only guilty parties when it comes to how other races are treated.. As if black people are incapable of racism or hate based on false stereotypes etc. Try getting over yourself, your pity party and deal with the issues in your community. Deal with getting a decent paying job, as I am. Deal with being a human being and co-existing with other humans regardless of their color. Stop blaming others for what you are able to control, in one way or another. Then, we can talk.

      • Username

        Oh God, shut the hell up with this crap. You have ZERO proof that God is not real. None. You just want to pretend to be a persecuted little “atheist” while spewing your nonsense and insults to feel “special”.

        You don’t want to talk. Be real. If you really had to talk, you’d have to admit some things about yourselves that you don’t want to admit, like your own fucking privilege and how because of it you are not self-made like you claim and don’t know what it’s like to be on your own in any real way. I’m white, and I can’t stand people like you who make us look bad. Other races may be racist towards white people but it’s because the worst of white people, the privileged ass suburban types, make everything about race and can’t stand on their own. It’s not a white thing, but non-white people end up seeing it that way because that’s the kind of white people who are moving into their neighborhoods and who they’re dealing with.

  8. So true. This is the gentrification playbook signature play. East New York the next frontier? It’s interesting how neighborhoods where families live and have been for generations become “frontiers” and “artisanal planes” SMH

    • Because East New York is suuuch a wonderful place, and a Mecca for thriving families and business.. Come on man, get off of it already! Gentrification doesn’t need to imply race.. at. all. It implies tearing something down in order to improve it, make it better. I mean yeah, it’s a real pity when folk come to your neighborhood and create clean, safe environments and places to work! Things that for some reason, folks of color tend to take issue with for some reason? What, too much pride to work in the “white mans world”? Too Uncle Tom-ish? That shit only goes so damned far before you start to get called out by your own community, when all you can sling is bullshit and violence. Those neighborhoods being spoken of, are ones that are infamous for being filled with violence, hate towards outsiders *and insiders*, but it’s whitey who is the real problem, right?

      Where are your hero’s Jesse and Al when these real issues are tearing apart the black communities? Oh, right.. race baiting for more fighting and 1950’s type segregation. Two sides on every coin.

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