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Bed-stuy — Brooklynian


My daughter is looking at an apartment at 319 Malcolm x blvd in Brooklyn. I've heard some troubling things about the area but I'm not sure if the things I am reading are very current. Is this a safe area for her and her roommates to live in? I would appreciate any advice I could get.


  • Mommy, I heard a really interesting take on the safety of women today. Someone said that as a man, the safety of a neighborhood was based on how easily that man thought he could fight his way out of it. As a woman, you know that you can't fight your way out, so every neighborhood is equally unsafe. The relative safety of the neighborhood is going to be driven by a number of things. 1) Has your daughter ever lived in an large, urban city? Has she ever lived in the "inner-city" (ie. around tan, brown, and black people); 3) Is she comfortable navigating within that community or will she constantly be looking to spend time with, associate with, and commune with people other than tan, brown and black people? And finally, does SHE feel safe and comfortable? 

    The answers to all these questions should drive the decision as to whether to live there, and not your comfort level with her living there. There are certain things that she should know and understand before committing to living in a place like Bed-Stuy. If she isn't going to want to walk into a store to purchase something because there are no other people that look like her in it, or of she doesn't feel comfortable talking to any of her neighbors that are not 20-something recent college grads, or making friends with the myriad of local folks including her next door neighbors, then its probably not the right place for her. Her home should be a place she feels safe and comfortable, and if she isn't, then all the cheap rent in the world doesn't make it worth it.

  • edited November 2014
    While I don't know the rent she is about to be paying, my sense is that there are places in Brooklyn that are safer than that immediate area, for about the same money.

    The downside is that they tend to be further away from attractions like Manhattan and Prospect Park.  

    I'm thinking Mapleton, Bensonhurst, etc.  
  • So I guess you are confirming my fears. She goes to a school in manhattan so , yes the commute there is definitely a concern.
  • So I guess you are confirming my fears. She goes to a school in manhattan so , yes the commute there is definitely a concern.
    What are your fears?
    Homeowner gives good advice. It's up to your daughter to feel safe, not you. And safety will depend on her as an individual much of the time.
  • I have a very young daughter. I'd be thrilled if she wanted to live there or a similar neighborhood once on her own. Bed-Stuy is cool as hell, and the odds of your daughter being attacked there are very, very low.
  • edited November 2014
    Parts of Bed Stuy are nicer than others.    The address she is considering is very close to a very large housing project.
  • $2000 for a 1000' 3-bed is the active listing in the building.

    It's not the worst deal in the world, but it's not cheap for the neighborhood either.
  • Despite the nice finishes, it has been on the market for 41 days, and recently dropped its price by $100.
  • Ditmas Park is cheaper than that
  • Yes, whynot_31, it's facts like that that lead me to believe maybe other potential renters are more savvy than I about the area. My daughter says it feels safe and that when she went to view the place a couple of neighbors were out and seemed friendly. I really want to trust her instincts but she is relatively naive about some things. Thank you , and everyone, so much for trying to help me.
  • edited November 2014
    Parts of Bed Stuy are nicer than others.    The address she is considering is very close to a very large housing project.

    I'm in that area a lot more than you are, by the way.
  • Ditmas Park is cheaper than that
    For good reason.
  • Ditmas Park is cheaper than that
    For good reason.
    ouch.  I prefer DP over BedStuy - but that's just me.  
  • Ditto. I'd actually pay more to live in Ditmas, than this part of Bed Stuy.

    Has she considered Astoria, Queens? The prices are similar, I like the food and neighborhood more.
  • As a young single girl, first she might want to consider proximity to all the amenities she'll want, before she feels "isolated".

    As for safety, while she's unlikely to be attacked, unwelcome comments may be likely (as with anywhere), the difference is its easier to ignore them confidently in a busier neighborhood at night than a very quiet one.
  • Some people might prefer to live in Ditmas Park, but it's a trade-off and there's a reason why the neighborhoods are similarly priced while being far from equivalent.

    The most important point for the OP to walk away with is that she doesn't need to worry about her daughter living there.  Depending on where she's from and what she's used to, she may see and hear and experience things that make her uncomfortable, but she is unlikely to encounter a threat to her health and safety.  

    Hell, if she is the type of person that might not be comfortable shopping in a place where most people don't look like her, all the more reason to go there and to have those experiences.  There's no intrinsic value in living a sheltered life, and I would say that the contrary is actually true: that as humans, we get more value out of living with contrasts, and being able to take away these experiences for contemplation makes us better at everything we set out to do in life, not the least of which is be able to relate to other people.

    As parents, we have responsibilities to keep our children out of harm's way, but not out of the way of experience.  In this case, I'd say you should let your daughter make the call.
  • In this instance, mom might wield the power of being the guarantor.
  • All the more reason mom should understand the situation.
  • I wonder how much more a landlord can charge as a result of being open to young people without established earning and credit histories (i.e.  allowing/requiring guarantors).    

    This property explicitly states it does.
  • This conversation should be continued in the Fort Greene Clinton Hill Bed-Stuy board.
  • It's often the case that landlords simply take larger deposits from such individuals. But they may advertise their high-mindedness while hoping to snag higher rents as well.
  • edited November 2014
    As a result of working with people with people who have poor credit histories and/or low income, I've found that the landlords "cover their risk" (or depending upon one's politics "exploit the tenants" ) by charging high rents for less than prime apartments.

    As a result, the tenants pay a rent similar to those living in nicer neighborhoods.

    Such factors work against any assumption that the apartments are equivalent based on price alone.   In actuality, they are serving different segments of the market.
  • @Mommyl, my best friend lives around the corner from there for the last eight years. Her situation is much different -- she's in her late 30s, a Brooklyn native, a homeowner, a car owner, and married with young children -- but she certainly feels safe in the neighborhood and walking back and forth from there to the train (the A/C at Utica). Her block has an active block association, which speaks to safety (to me). As a matter of fact, her biggest complaint recently has been noise -- from motorcycles and the new nightlife on Malcolm X, which has seen lots of new commercial activity. I'm often there visiting and have never felt unsafe either. 

    There's a difference between safety and comfort though, as @homeowner said. But it sounds like your daughter feels ok on both fronts. And it's a good sign that she is already getting friendly with the neighbors.    
  • @Nothinlikeabklyngirl, your post makes me feel so much better. Thank you.