Streets by VICE: New York (Bedford Ave)

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the great cities of the world thrive on change the influx of new people new ideas and new industries or what makes cities cosmopolitan if natives kind of give a city a sense of continuity it’s the new arrivals that give it its passion this is streets by vice a show where we take one American city and try to tell its story through the history of one single Street today we’re in New York City exploring my own backyard Brooklyn it is good to be back in Brooklyn how you doing Brooklyn is where I work it’s where I live and it’s where I’ve spent my formative years but over the past two decades it’s undergone massive changes and it’s still evolving these days it’s known primarily as a spiritual home of gentrification but this place has a deeply fluid cultural history so I’m traveling the length of the borough along Brooklyn’s Bedford Avenue to see what it means to live in a city in constant flux Bedford Avenue is the longest street in Brooklyn it begins here in McCarren Park and runs all the way to the Atlantic Ocean and in between it crosses through neighborhoods that are either resisting or embracing change in their own unique ways Bedford Avenue cuts through Williamsburg for nearly a hundred years this was a neighborhood for industrial businesses and pockets of immigrant families but by the 1990s manufacturing in the area had started to dry up and a new kind of immigrant started moving in the north side of Williamsburg became a sought-after area for artists skaters and musicians seeking cheap rents and open spaces one subway stop away from the overcrowded and overpriced East Village if artists are the shock troops of gentrification this was the scene of their first invasion one of the longest-running businesses that found itself in the midst of this cultural shift was KCDC a skate community which once upon a time shared a building with Vice KCDC was a destination for skaters from all over the city they needed a place big enough for an indoor skate ramp and massive ragers today it’s smaller but still standing KCDC opened in 2001 and will burg what was it like when you first opened up what was neighborhood like we wanted to open a skateboard shop we wanted a place that was big enough that we could put a place for people to skate indoors mm-hmm we wanted to have a gallery and all this type of stuff it was kind of out of necessity that we opened up in Williamsburg because it was the only place we could really afford that had a lot of space breno Manhattan wasn’t an option so we found a spot that we could afford that was big enough we threw a mini ramp in there started having parties so it was cool like being able to like spill out onto the sidewalk and the street no one really cared we could have barbecues cool you know now like even the idea of having like an open flame on the street this was right a million permits you know like all this stuff but that’s really something that can mark the side of the time so I’d like to even think about opening a business out here I was like oh my god no one’s gonna come but look at it now it’s like totally different so a lot has changed around here but skaters are still a big part of Williamsburg I went to meet a few at mccarran skate park which was opened in 2009 to see what they think of gentrification in the neighborhood this whole neighborhood was just like wholesale warehouses right scary to come over here was there was no bike lanes there’s nothing that right this is so different especially Williamsburg it feels like a little bit more like Manhattan four years ago Bedford was not so much Dunkin Donuts Starbucks like all these condos going up I mean the diversity is definitely like in all the faces that have moved to Williamsburg but it’s not necessarily in like the rental prices there’s still folks who have been here it made the neighborhood what it is and why they want to come here so it’s just like it changed the demographic of how you walk down Bedford on the weekend what’s it like on the weekends of Bedford shitshow right down the street from McCarran skate park is one of north Williamsburg’s best and oldest dive bars I’m heading to the turkeys nest tavern a bar that opened about thirty five years ago well before this neighborhood became kind of a byword for gentrification and I’m gonna meet Steve Levin an old buddy of mine who actually became the city councilman for this district and we’re gonna talk about how a neighborhood can kind of go from a working-class place to a hipster Haven this is one of the few bars left in Williamsburg where regulars have been coming for decades not years beers were traditionally served in styrofoam cups and no one under 23 is allowed in what seems so nice about this is that like we used to sort of tool around this neighborhood together now rock and roll day yeah before you were a council before I was counsel in yes yeah this neighborhood is a lot different from what it was before so I guess my question is like how did that happen well it certainly accelerated in 2005 when they Rees owned the waterfront we went from like no density at all to having like mega density like there was no middle ground didn’t go from like industrial to like mid-range to to high it was just like from zero to 60 so what does that mean what’s the problem with density like it seems like maybe is a good idea to have a bunch of people living by the water right what it did is it had this phenomenon known as secondary displacement upward pressure on the rents kind of emanating outward what’s the fallout been like what do what do your constituents say to you about you know the rising rents the condos going up to sort of changing space of these neighborhoods and you represent it’s a constant struggle for people this phenomenon of secondary displacement is probably most visible today in bedford-stuyvesant the median price for a home has gone up from about ninety four thousand dollars to seven hundred and seventy five thousand dollars in just 15 years bed-stuy was the essence of urban black America despite the perception of it as a ghetto it betcha I was a heavily black middle-class community in bed-stuy in the 1950s there was a lot of job discrimination a good number perhaps the majority of the businesses would have been owned by by whites often were not employing blacks Beth I became a place kind of a desolation I mean there was gang warfare in in Bedford Stuyvesant and I know kids who were killed in gang wars in the 1980s bed-stuy was synonymous with New York’s crack epidemic class people don’t realize that it’s not just in the ghettos anymore but by the 90s it was famous for producing titans of East Coast rap from biggie to mos def Lil Kim and jay-z the flipside of the some of the desolation was the reaction to it on the part of young people who began to embrace hip-hop as a kind of form of protest the funeral procession of Christopher Wallace aka the notorious b.i.g passed through bedford-stuyvesant his casket was driven down Fulton Street crossing just blocks from Bedford Avenue but it’s extraordinary how young black men in particular who were still in bed-stuy embrace notorious b.i.g biggie smalls and feel that he speaks for them more than anyone else it’s almost like he’s a a deity we here with him you understand what I’m saying we won’t carry on his legacy regardless and after the cameras and everything is gone we carrying it all because we lit his life after that we make that life after death happen to this day bed-stuy is still home to some of the best MCS in the city I’m gonna meet with Manolo rose he’s a local rapper who grew up in the Marcy projects bringing up the chopper who’s this whole old man cool so uh the baby of the film it’s the baby right there I’m gonna take a stroll to Marcy projects and you know Santa see you know just with you know I hung out that had my fun at jay-z man Tata and okay from like that building right there since a lot I mean there’s like a lot of history here as far as like the cultural production of Brooklyn right the Marcy houses were built in 1949 as with other public housing they were intended to be a better option for low-income families but over the decades they’ve developed a reputation for violence the housing projects became enclaves in which the pleas decided was where they were just going to allow a certain deterioration to exist and then continue today with luxury condos going up blocks away the cost of living for longtime residents is rising faster than what is manageable you know Tom’s did have it changed some things got better some things got worse you know when you’re in poverty poverty breeds you know machine coffee shops go up and stuff like that it’s getting news you got a little bit Musa but you know I get it who coming from Manhattan with and charging you arm in the leg that you know you can’t even survive the anymore this is prime location you have the train that takes you ten minutes to my hang and are there like themes and your music that you kind of explore that have to do with this area yeah definitely you know definitely one thing is that is always just that uh that feeling of anxiety when things happen so quick you don’t know when it’s gonna happen like I had a friend friend of mine who you know I mean was with me and then ten minutes later he’s somebody called like he dead that’s that’s one common theme that’s always shrouded through the music is this data but when you hit a lot of the aggression and you know the pain and things like that throughout my music you know that’s where you know this is what expires that you don’t know Sam Bruckner sprite one of the greatest places to be from to me you know because it’s so big and it’s everything is so spread out right you know everybody has their own corner at home you know home pocket it’s a lovely thing definitely lovely while it’s unclear when an if longtime residents of Brooklyn will ever be completely pushed out by new developers there is one group in Brooklyn who have seemingly insulated themselves from change after World War two an influx of Hasidic Jews came to Crown Heights to create their own community with their own institutions every Friday before the Sun Goes Down a siren wails across Bedford Avenue this is to remind people that Shabbat is starting soon and if you’re an Orthodox Jew you got to get home turn off all the electrical devices light some candles and use the time to reflect for rest and spiritual enrichment this is the control room mm-hmm this is the wiring that goes to the main circuit that tells the alarm to go off my son my G he’s the one that goes in here and pushes the button manually over here he could reach the button and he can make the alarm go and then you do it a second time rabbi manis Friedman is a local figurehead who grew up on Bedford Avenue and dedicates his life to engendering good relations between Orthodox Jews and Bedford’s other communities so when did the community move from Russia to the US and maybe specifically to Brooklyn it started in 1940 hey we’re the previous Rebbe who grew up in Russia came to America and moved to Eastern Parkway so so along with the rabbi how many people came over like what was what was that sort of a rim the remnants it was really remnants of a community that was devastated by the Communists it took a lot of sacrifice almost every family lost a husband the father to the gulags and some Siberian firing squads so it was a rough battle adding light to the world and this all sort of started in the crucible of Brooklyn of Eastern Parkway Krebs a seven Bedford Avenue well these are the streets I grew up in these are the places that inspired me these are the teachers who taught me what was it I mean what was it like growing up on Bedford Avenue and what was it the 50s we came to America 1950 mm-hmm and at that time Bedford and Dean is exactly where the school was was a very nice Jewish neighborhood that’s where we grew up now it’s becoming electic bread people are moving in with beards but not not for a silly purpose right has that causes problems or friction in the neighborhood between different communities oh no no I like it the life of Hassidim centers around their neighborhood leaving not many reasons to frequently travel outside the borders of their blocks or allow for many interactions with outsiders I joined rabbi Friedman for Shabbat dinner a central part of the Jewish week the soup is delicious hi oh that’s strong step see jimmy kimmel he does this thing every now and then he shows a close-up of a face with a beard he has the audience guess there’s a hipster or a huset I’m usually get it wrong ha ha ha I think what’s cool is like I come from an immigrant family right my parents came from India they settled here in New York it’s a melting pot right there’s a lot of different cultures that end up sort of living cheek by jowl what’s your next step Sheepshead Bay Bears are they up and down Bedford Avenue you know it’s a long street there’s a lot of people who live off of him we grew up on Bedford Avenue it’s right at Fred and Dean New York may be an unparalleled metropolis but is also a city at the mercy of nature in 2012 this modern world was reminded of its fragility when Hurricane sandy brought an irresistible chaos to its door this is going to be a big and powerful storm we anticipate that the center of the storm is going to hit landfall sometime this evening and millions of people are going to be affected I went to the end of Bedford Avenue in Sheepshead Bay where hurricane sandy devastated residents and businesses when the storm hit in 2012 people lost nearly everything and have been fighting ever since to preserve their community captain Dave Paris has been a fishing boat captain here for 35 years fishing for flounder and blackfish take me through how hurricane sandy affected your neighborhood and a hurricane sandy game everything was floating cause a moving float my dumpster was floating on Ocean Avenue and that’s seven blocks away from my boat we watched the water level just rise to look like a horror movie the boat night it because I was on the boat that night when you’re in like the heart of the city it’s really easy to forget that we’re just surrounded by water here this is a harbor this is a bay this is the ocean we got wiped out I thought it was a ship that was on fire but it wasn’t it was all those houses that were part enough increasing point looked like a nightmare it was a shame for all those people act that it’s one time the city just froze and we couldn’t do nothing about it mother nature strikes everybody stand still it stops for over 80 years a mainstay of Sheepshead Bay has been rendazzo as clam bar in 2012 it was almost pounded into oblivion by the hurricane but it survived I sat down for lunch with one of its owners Paul Randazzo to find out what the legacy is of this natural disaster anyway it all passes on the ball chowder what I’ll pout no bullet chatter for me just handle bolt okay if things get tough after sandy I was here door I was on his counter I actually sort of bottom of the bay come back and come over Wow and when it hit that I thought every time it would really break the glass we lost the whole place all the equipment the walls there’s no business afterwards you know the money was gone there’s no money coming in gasps there was no guess do you think cheap set back and come back what do you think the future for shoots at bays lay all the place in Brooklyn you gotta find this fishing restaurant people coming back after five years that’s a nice sign inside this city that’s at the whim of chaos progress regression and tunnel it’s nice to know that there are some places that remain forever gloriously untouched by everything going on around them so I’ve been up and down Bedford Avenue and I’ve seen communities that are sort of grappling with change and one way or the other but put up to end my journey I’m gonna go to a place that hasn’t changed for over a hundred years Peter Luger Steakhouse which is considered the best steakhouse in New York Peter lubbers is a family business which is probably one reason it hasn’t changed that much not that there’s a lot of room to improve for a restaurant that’s been Zagat’s number one Steakhouse in New York for over 30 years in a row David Berst son is a fourth-generation owner and he’s involved with every part of the operation from selecting steaks to showing first-timers like me the I used to live a couple doors down the street on Broadway every wonder Broadway and so my window from my bedroom faced across the street from the parking lot and like the huge billboard that you can see from the bridge a little ad yeah exactly Peter Luger was actually opened as Carl Lugar’s billiards in 1887 it was a much smaller restaurant much more low-key when you look around here it’s are like wood line it kind of feels like you’re in the old world but we’re able to kind of keep the atmosphere the same but now it’s funny that Williamsburg has become the hottest area in New York it doesn’t seem like authentic Brooklyn anymore in a lot of areas I think I hear the sizzle wow I feel like this is essentially a meal that’s been served this way for what 80 years 100 degrees capturing the true spirit of Brooklyn is something that I still thirst more people will continue to move in move out but I think that kind of authentic Brooklyn spirit of being bare-bones like being really true to this area I don’t want to have Peter Luger become a beacon of the 21st century I think who we are what we do should really remain the same what if everyone becomes a vegetarian in Brooklyn we could do the hip we offer fish haha it’s a Brooklyn the Brooklyn the story of Brooklyn right now seems to be about how rising real estate prices are forcing many people to adapt to change but over the years and the generations there have been many stories in this place ultimately the lives of the residents here their preservation and the defense of their culture is really the heart of the city and the only thing immune to any shifts that might be taking place in that way Bedford Avenue Brooklyn and New York can’t ever really be diluted

100 comments

  1. Damn I'd wish I could move to Brooklyn but then I'd just be contributing to gentrification. My sister going to Brooklyn with 3 roommates in a few months. If I ever move hopefully I can blend in easier cause I'm black

  2. those chick skaters talk like they were raised there, how you gunna talk to people who joined in the change and influenced the change about the origins of an area.

  3. Never finished watching this, turned on the rest of it just before he started talking to the jews. I never realized Randazzo's got hit by Sandy like that.Btw,they have great Calamari!

  4. "What if everyone becomes vegetarian?" "We offer fish" 😐 That doesn't help you bro unless they were pescaterian. I think a restaurant owner or chef should know these things.

  5. Affordable housing, pushing out the working poor, that's the main problem of gentrification. I'm a poor artist and street photographer working at whole foods part time. I'm the type of person if I was born in the 80's when NYC was bombed out I would have still been here and liked it even more. These rich kids white washing the culture and realness of Brooklyn makes me cringe. I ranaway from home at 16, lived in the hood in Baltimore, Oakland, Philly, before coming here in 2012 to take photos of people living on the street. The whole time I've been here I've lived in my mini school bus. Fuck gentrification. Go home rich kids.

  6. These fools ain't real New Yorkers. Bunch of transplants from other states. Can tell by the way they talk. They done fucked up my city. STAY THE FUCK OUT OF BROWNSVILLE.

  7. I love how 4 years ago is back in the day to these hipster girls. lol. Like OMG I like totally lived here forever like since 2011. douchebags.

  8. They only talk about Brooklyn so it should really say Brooklyn in the title not New York, since New York includes four other boroughs. I'd love to see a Queens Blvd one for Queens.

  9. women do things to look cool, that's basically all they do, those girl "skaters" aren't, they don't even have slide marks on their boards, just another girl virtue signaling and trying to project an image outward, that's how women live

  10. fucking yuppies from bumblefuck nowhere in the midwest calling themselves new yorkers after a couple years here lmao

  11. Shut up you will never know Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, The Bronx or Staten Island. I made the first independent movie in Bushwick and was the one of the very few who ever rode a skateboard. Watch 'Urban Jones' the first independent film in Bushwick I made.

  12. Thanks to hipsters the rent is high and Brooklyn has become gentrified. The only way the rent becomes cheap again if crime was to rise again and people move out.

  13. Go to the Hispanic part/avenue of Puerto Rico/ if you want to go to a less hipster gentrified area. It has an edgy cultural flair

  14. whats so nice aBOUT changing a working class neighborhood into a hipster town??? pushing people out of places they lived for year's…to make it a playground for the well off ??? NOT NICE AT ALL….THE CHANGING NEIGBORHOOD ?? YUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Kcdc could have turned into something much bigger, the artists and people who have come out of newyork could have boosted it and themselves turning it into something rad, such a shame

  16. I love New York so much the fact that all ppl from different backgrounds r living in one place in peace is beautiful to me. I hope I can visit one day.

  17. Hmm those Jews are the ones buying up all the properties..raising the rents.. Forcing blacks out….move whites in..etc..they are buying all the properties as their numbers are growing and they need space….so guess who they will evict and move in their own when the time comes. In ten years entire bk will be hasidic Jews neighborhoods.

  18. 8:35 Police didn't decide to do that. It was decided as such because those savages living in those projects were just killing anyone and everyone trying to stop their drug business… Till these days, these savages run their drug rings from those projects. They don't wanna get a job; they wanna be rapers and gangsta's. Why? Because they don't want hard-work. They want to just rob the regular people… That's what these animals are best for! So I don't care what this old racist dumb idiot has to say, but he ain't telling the truth!

  19. The narrator seems to be promoting gentrification as if it is a positive thing that should be expected. Saying that only new people to a community brings it life is also a very gentrified ideology. He seems more hipster than Brooklyn native. :/

  20. These Millenial infidels are taking over my precious Brooklyn. Sheepshead Bay remains the final Bastion of safety from them – for now…..

  21. do North Philly on the rock ready side of town just don't get caught there after dark there is a reason the puerto ricans go in at night when the streets get darker in all kinds of ways lol

  22. This host is a moron. Brooklyn was not born in 1950…Bed Stuy was an all white neigbourhood, and then the whites left. Then the blacks came in…..now the blacks are slowly leaving and now they are complaining….Brooklyn has always changed and will continue to change….Same with Harlem: it was a southern European hotbed/ethnic neighbourohood before they all left to the burbs…..the blacks were never originally there.

  23. I've been to NYC more times than I can count. Last summer I was there twice a week for work and I can never understand what the big fuckin' deal is about that city.

  24. Spiritual Gentrification? What the exact fuck does that mean? I have an inclination to suspect some low key Jew hating is what's up with that term.

  25. When I lived in Bed-Stuy in 2016, it was still a fucking shithole. But the area around Crown Heights was even worse because of all the drugged out homeless people on the street there.

  26. Who was Bedford?
    there's at least one other northern city with a Bedford Avenue. Who's Bedford that city streets, in the hood, are named after him?

  27. I made a popular film Documentary on Bedford which later was featured on VICE.com mag. Google: 'The prime minister of Dick.'

  28. Joe's Busy Corner on Driggs and N7 has an amazing history and some of it is embedded in the Brooklyn Dodgers' history. They missed a good opportunity to report on that here.

  29. Hipsters need to stop coming,blacks and other ethnic groups need to start coming back and I don’t mean that d violence should come back and increase but at least it will have those kinda nyc vibes

  30. 4:11 Automotive High School To The Left Next To Mcarren Park.. Graduated From That High School In 2015 😩 The Fun Memories Of Being Everyday In That High School & Park Was The Best lol 💯

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