And What of the Public Spaces in Bed-Stuy?

Public spaces, such as Fulton Plaza, need a major facelift. Bridge Street wants to address this, but is the community on board?

According to Kenneth Mbonu, director of economic development for Bridge Street Development Corporation, Malcolm X Boulevard should have the highest foot traffic in all of Bed-Stuy.

The reason the boulevard should have the highest foot traffic of anywhere else in the neighborhood is because the Utica subway stop off of the A/C train at Fulton Plaza-- the mouth of Malcolm X Boulevard-- is the second busiest in all of Brooklyn.

But foot traffic along Malcolm X Boulevard is not heavy nor is it buzzing. In fact, in between the 3- to 5- minute intervals during which the buses and subways inhale and exhale passengers, Fulton Plaza at the intersection at Malcolm X and Fulton Street appears desolate, run-down and... sort of creepy.

"People just come into the subway, leave out and leave the street as soon as possible," said Mbonu. "Because it's not inviting. It just looks so desolate and drab, you just want to get on your bus.

"And because there's nothing attractive or exciting to hold you there for any length of time, it has an impact on the commercial viability of the boulevard as a whole."

Mbonu feels that Fulton Plaza should be revamped with art installations; it should be a place where people, families meet; a destination for concerts and festivals, farmer's markets and other lively activities.

"It is an ideal location to create some sort of revitalization to make it a commercial destination," said Mbonu. "But nothing will happen with Malcolm X until that Plaza is addressed."

That is why on Thursday, October 11, Mbonu, along with Bridge Street Development Corporation, is holding a public forum to address the design and buildout of the public spaces such as Malcolm X Boulevard in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

The forum is a part of the "Mapping the Road Ahead" series for local businesses and residents, and it will deal with not only the future of Fulton Plaza, but public spaces in general, including subway entrances, bus stops, private parks, signage, lighting and the look and feel of Bedford-Stuyvesant as a whole.

The public form will be held at Fashion Rock Hall, located at 372 Tompkins Avenue (at Putnam Ave), from 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m., with a wine and hors d'oeuvres reception to follow at The Gallery Next Door, located 370 Tompkins Ave.

Guest speakers at the event include Architect Sylvester Yavana, president of SRY Design Associates; Architect and Urban Planner Meg Walker, vice president and director of design for Project for Public Spaces who will address the importance of fostering economic and social equity; and a group of graduate students of city planning from Pratt University who have been studying Fulton Plaza. They will share their findings on what it takes to make the corridor a viable part of Bed-Stuy's growth.

"It's important that as these changes begin to happen, that the community plays a role in how that works, going forward" said Mbonu.

"We have strong block associations, strong clergy, strong organizations that have stood the test of time. When Bed-Stuy was down, they stayed on. It's time to come together, sit down and outline how we would like these open spaces and streets to look.

"Because at the end of the day, Bed-Stuy should reflect its history, its people and their dedication to maintaining the assets of this environment. Change is coming, and we need to be able to have our footprint planted in the sands of time."

Melissa Danielle October 11, 2012 at 04:56 PM
And just as it can be inferred that I may be insulating or underestimating people, the same can be said of your comments, which suggest that Bed-Stuy isn't capable of producing or offering anything of quality or value to the community.
pat October 11, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Your first example has nothing to do with our discussion. Your second example is surprising considering the amount of Black artists and galleries in Brooklyn. If a person wants something they have to seek it in today's world. The hand me down days because I am a certain type, are over. Our country is more culturally diverse than ever. Let me ask you, if your best friend was a White woman, or man, resided in Bay Ridge and they won the installation award at Marcy Plaza, what would you say to him, or her? Danielle, Did you respond to the RFP? If not, do you scan regularly city sites, or other states, or countries for new ones being posted regularly? Do you network with non Blacks in the art community? Danielle, please travel outside of New York if you have not done so yet and look at your world more closely. Thank you for this discussion and I hope to see your art in Brooklyn and hopefully in other countries.
pat October 11, 2012 at 05:10 PM
"I don't shop locally because many businesses don't offer quality products. when they do I shop local, it's not that complicated." This is what I wrote. Where does it state that I believe Bed Stuy is not capable of producing quality products. I believe this is why there was a discussion about how much Fulton Ave. lacks good shopping qualities.
Joe Gonzalez October 11, 2012 at 05:22 PM
There are forces at work who want to take that corner and turn it into hi-rise luxury housing. People wake up; that venue is located steps from the subway and close to Atlantic Avenue. It was just learned that Bed-Stuy bizman Richard Flateau of Flateau Realty is scheming to take over that corner, evict the area merchants and erect a hi-rise luxury condo at the corner of Fulton Street and Malcolm X Blvd. People wake up and see Bed-Stuy has been sold out by its long time failed political leaders.
Bridge Street Development October 15, 2012 at 08:57 PM
As the organizer of the Mapping the Road Ahead event last week, we would like to thank everyone who joined us for the lively and informative discussion of the future of Bed-Stuy's public spaces. One of the main reasons we conceived of the event, which is the second in a series of three, is to solicit input from a wide variety of local stakeholders on issues that directly affect their everyday lives. Attendees at Mapping the Road actively shared their opinions and identified ideas about how public spaces in Bed-Stuy can be improved. Those ideas and opinions will, no doubt, influence how we tackle this and other important issues. Thank you again to everyone who participated in this important conversation.


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