Bedford-Stuyvesant historic district proposal earns mixed reactions

January 16, 2013 04:00PM

A proposal to officially designate a historic district in an area of Bedford-Stuyvesant was met with mixed reactions at a Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing yesterday—with some advocating for the protection of the quaint area and others opposing a move that could bump up property prices, the City Room blog of the New York Times reported.

The proposed district—between Bedford and Tompkins avenues and Monroe and Fulton streets in Brooklyn—has long been celebrated for its aesthetics: 19th-century row houses complemented by well-heeled apartment buildings and schoolhouses. It is also the “community of choice for many of New York’s African-American residents,” the commission said.

Those in favor of the district’s creation see it as a recognition and reward for residents who had stuck with the neighborhood through patchier times. A historic district, they said, would make it harder for developers to construct buildings that didn’t mesh with the surroundings.

However, opponents argued that it would unnecessarily raise sale prices and rents while adding a layer of regulation, essentially forcing out the demographic—poor, elderly African-American and Caribbean-American owners and occupants—that forms the community’s core. Indeed, some brownstones in Bed-Stuy have begun to command prices that rival nearby Clinton Hill.  

“What needs to be preserved are the people of Bedford-Stuyvesant,” said Bed-Stuy resident Sehu Jeppe. “I’d hate to see us become a Harlem, where the jewel has been extracted.”  [NYT] Hiten Samtani