Deserving but not Designated: Bedford
The architectural splendor of this remarkable Brooklyn neighborhood speaks for itself. It is one of New York City’s richest collections of 19th-century rowhouses, punctuated with handsome small apartment buildings and drop-dead gorgeous institutional structures.
In addition to the obvious architectural merit of the area, the cultural significance of the area is also note-worthy. Bedford-Stuyvesant as a whole, and Bedford in particular, is a supreme example of the enduring value of historic neighborhoods. Built for an immigrant population of Europeans and New Englanders, it became home to another newly-arriving population during the 20th century, transforming into one of the largest and most well-known Black neighborhoods in America. The African- and Caribbean-American New Yorkers who have called this neighborhood home for almost a century have grown deep roots in the community, roots which are nurtured by and have helped protect their fantastic built urban environment. These buildings have been home to generations of New Yorkers and with the LPC’s oversight, they will remain to become the homes and churches and gathering places for generations to come. The proposed Bedford Historic District was heard at a LPC Public Hearing on January 15, 2013, but has not been designated an official NYC historic district.
In 2011, HDC chose the first class of our “Six to Celebrate”, New York City’s only list of preservation priorities selected directly from the communities. Placing Bedford-Stuyvesant on that list was an obvious choice, given the architectural quality of the neighborhood, the significance of its history to New York City and the strength of its community. We continue to have the pleasure of working closely with a diverse, intelligent and passionate group of volunteers who are devoted to preserving and protecting their neighborhood. HDC encourages the designation of Bedford as an official New York City historic district as soon as possible so that the rest of the community can enjoy the benefits that landmark designation affords.
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