Brandon Harris at n+1:
“This is Bed-Stuy, bitch.” That’s not what everyone else was saying.
It’s difficult to say exactly how long I’ve lived in Bedford-Stuyvesant. It’s not for lack of trying. For some time I believed I first moved to the neighborhood in summer 2008, but by any honest accounting of the neighborhood’s actual geography, I first moved there in summer 2004, into a stuffy two-bedroom apartment on Throop Avenue, just south of the Flushing Avenue border with “East” Williamsburg, across the street from the notoriously shoddy Woodhull Medical Center. I only lived there for four months before a year-and-a-half-long tour of quasi-illegal Manhattan dwellings (Battery Park City! Inwood!), but then I came back. I now believe I have resided in what is geographically Bedford-Stuyvesant, the most historically African American of all Brooklyn neighborhoods, and now the fastest-gentrifying, for fifty-seven months over the past nine years.
When I moved into the apartment on Taaffe in summer 2006, I thought, and my roommate thought, that we were moving to Clinton Hill. This had been one of my roommate’s stipulations when we started our search. My wealthy childhood friend, the type who was awkward, bookish, and intense in middle school, the type who somewhat iconoclastically befriended the Star Trek–obsessed, nerdy, overweight child of black middle-class Cincinnati strivers, simply rebuffed the idea of living in Bed-Stuy.