Bed-Stuy Newcomer Values Neighborhood’s Practical Appeals
As an incoming student to New York City, there are a some neighborhoods that you might be told to avoid — Bedford Stuyvesant, or Bed-Stuy, is one of them. But when I moved to New York in early August, I wanted to live somewhere cheap and simple, two criteria Bed-Stuy has more than met. I realize that I don’t have a full grasp of the dominating socioeconomic factors that have formed the boundaries between Flushing Avenue to the north and Atlantic Avenue to the south, and I don’t mean to exploit them. Still, Bed-Stuy has a wealth of deals — cheap corner stores and restaurants, mainly — that are perfect for the starving student.
“Bed-Stuy gets a bad rap, but it’s always from people who never even come out here,” said Pratt Institute senior Isaac Roller, who lives on Myrtle and Marcy.
One of the main appeals of Bed-Stuy is how cheap everything is, from the necessities to the amenities. Venturing a block or two over to the local Associated Supermarket will result in an inexpensive bundle of groceries, (a dozen eggs for $2, a loaf of wheat bread for $1.50, a gallon of milk for $2.50), while taking the extra walk to Myrtle and Bedford brings you to the better-stocked, if booze-less, Hassidic supermarket The Chestnut. But what they lack in Manichewitz and Slivovitz, they make up for in kosher treats like Uncle Moishy’s frozen pizza.
Further into neighboring Clinton Hill, still on Myrtle, across the street from Pratt, is the Farmer in the Deli, where you can get a humongous, mouthwatering hero with all the standard fixings, plus extras like sweet and hot peppers, olive oil and vinegar and salt and pepper for around $5. Still, some questions are better left unasked, like, “Gee, what exactly is ‘turkey ham’ anyway, and why is it so cheap?”
Inexpensive restaurants also abound, like the ever-prevalent Crown Fried Chicken, Kennedy Fried Chicken and the questionably named Obama Fried Chicken chains, (where three pieces with fries is $5 but the pictures of Jay-Z posing with the owner are free), and the soul food purveyors Halsey St. Grill on Halsey between Throop and Thompkins, where you can get an enormous plate of an entrée and two sides for between $8 and $10. “I recommend the pork chops, fried chicken or catfish with collard greens, mac and cheese or candied yams,” said School of Visual Arts sophomore Irina Priporina.
On the bodega end of the spectrum, you have the option of purchasing loose cigarettes, with a Newport 100 going for $0.50. A small cup of coffee will also set you back $0.50 and beer is available 24/7. Top rolling tobacco is only $3.50 a pouch and $1.25 will buy a tall can, as long as one has no qualms with drinking Coors. To top it all off, most packs of cigarettes are only $8. One of the neighborhood’s best-kept secrets is the cheeseburger deluxe meal at the corner store at Marcy and Stockton, where $3.50 will get you the unheard of deal of a cheeseburger, fries and a can of soda. Whether or not the burger is fully cooked is always a crapshoot, but what’s life without a little risk, right?
As Roller put it, “[Bed-Stuy] is just a great Brooklyn neighborhood. It’s fun, it’s close to everything. The only problems are the lack of parks and that goddamn G train.”