Bedford-Stuyvesant and Flatbush are in Brooklyn. In addition to the two aforementioned neighborhoods, this travel guide covers Crown Heights, Lefferts Gardens, Brownsville, East Flatbush, and Midwood.
Bedford-Stuyvesant is a major African-American neighborhood with some African presence. It is the second largest African-American neighborhood in the country after the city of Detroit. Bed-Stuy, as it is called by most New Yorkers, has been gentrifying lately. However violent crime is a still a concern along with the other social problems in the community.
Flatbush was formerly a Jewish, Italian, and Irish neighborhood, and before that settled by members of the Dutch Reformed Church. It is now a largely West-Indian neighborhood, and is the home of Brooklyn College, one of the most beautiful campuses in the area. In the very center is the 18th Century Dutch Reformed Church at the corner of Flatbush and Church Avenues, and its original school house dating to 1787 and originally called Erasmus Hall. Now it is the administration building of the public Erasmus Hall High School, its own building over 100 years old. The neighborhood's eponymous commercial main street, Flatbush Avenue, goes from the Manhattan Bridge on the north to the Gil Hodges Marine Parkway Bridge leading to the Rockaway Peninsula section of Queens on the south.
Crown Heights is largely a mixture of West Indians and Chasidic Jews. Part of the neighborhood is near the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens and the Brooklyn Museum. Violent crime is a still a concern along with the other social problems in the community so use caution.
Midwood is a quiet residential area with some commercial streets, located on the other side of the Brooklyn College campus from Flatbush and extending for some ways to the south. The neighborhood is ethnically mixed, but includes a substantial population of Modern Orthodox Jews and some Chasidim, and many shops are closed on Saturdays and Jewish holidays. The area has one of New York City's largest concentrations of beautiful free-standing hundred-year-old Victorian and Edwardian homes. An interesting example of this is the Avenue H station house on the Q subway line, which was first built a century ago as the local real estate office selling these homes. It is a historic site and a unique fixture among the city's subway system. (See The Little Station House in the Woods  for more information.)
Brownsville is another mainly African-American neighborhood. It is just to the west of East New York, and like East New York, it remains among the more dangerous neighborhoods in New York, though crime statistics have declined in recent years, and does not merit a visit from most tourists. Beware passing through here on your way to JFK Airport on the B15 bus.
The 2, 3, 4, and 5 (Rush hours only) all go to Franklin Avenue and then split. the 2 and 5 go down Nostrand Avenue into Flatbush, while the 3 and 4 continue into Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights.
It's also possible to get to the Northern areas of Bed-Stuy by taking the A or the C.
The B and Q also stop briefly in this district near Prospect Park.
Finally, the Franklin Avenue Shuttle (marked S) connects these lines to each other, making this a good place to change between these subways.
The Long Island Railroad's Atlantic Branch has a single stop in Bed-Stuy: Nostrand Avenue. Trains that stop here are either headed to or originate from Atlantic Terminal.
The BM1, 2, 3, and 4 express buses all pass through here.
Brooklyn College, 2900 Bedford Avenue (Subway: 2 or 5 [weekdays only] trains to Flatbush Avenue or Q train to Avenue H), ☎ +1 718 951-5000, . Brooklyn College is one of the most beautiful college campuses in the New York area. It is lovingly landscaped and includes classic buildings from the 1930s and 40s. In particular, the iconic library building with its clock tower and chimes can be seen or heard from several blocks away. The best time to visit is in April, when most of the trees are in bloom.Free entry with permission of a guard.
Brooklyn Children's Museum, 145 Brooklyn Avenue (at St Mark's next to Brower Park; Subway: C train to Kingston-Throop, A train to Nostrand Avenue, or 3 train Kingston Avenue; LIRR: Nostrand Avenue), ☎ +1 718 735-4400, . W-F 11AM-5PM, Sa-Su 10AM-5PM. A highly interactive museum designed specifically for children.$5 per person.
Jewish Children's Museum, 790 Eastern Parkway (at Kingston; Subway: 3 train to Kingston Avenue), . The Jewish Children's Museum is the largest Jewish-themed children's museum in the United States. It aims for children of all faiths and backgrounds to gain a positive perspective and awareness of the Jewish heritage, fostering tolerance and understanding. The permanent collection features exhibits designed to be both educational and entertaining to children, often employing interactive multimedia. At the miniature golf course on the roof, for example, each hole represents a stage in Jewish life. The museum is in the Chabad-Lubavitch Chasidic community of Crown Heights near the headquarters of the Lubavitch movement. The museum is run by Tzivos Hashem, a Chabad organization dedicated to the education of Jewish children. The museum opened in 2004. In 2005, the museum was among 406 New York City arts and social service institutions to receive part of a $20 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation, which was made possible through a donation by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Di Fara's Pizzeria, 1424 Avenue J (at 15th Street; Subway: Q train to Avenue J), ☎ +1 718 258-1367, . W-Su Noon-4:30PM and 6PM-9PM. An old-school pizzeria. Waiting for Dom, the only pizzaiolo in the shop, to painstakingly make your pizza or calzone is worth it. People returning to the neighborhood stop by here to indulge their nostalgia for quality that never wavers. This is not really cheap pizza, but it is very good pizza. Toppings include baby artichokes, porcini when available, and baby eggplant, as well as more usual toppings that are unusually good. Don't let the worn appearance of the shop's exterior fool you.Cash only.
Folukie, 1168 Bedford Ave (near Putnam Avenue) (C or S trains to Franklin Avenue, A train to Nostrand Avenue), ☎ +1 718 623-3623, . 3PM-11PM daily. Great Trinidadian food in a small but stylish Bed-Stuy restaurant. The bigger draw, though, may be the music—jazz and R&B—which sees some really talented local musicians. Be sure to check the website to see who's playing when.$15-28.
Saraghina, 435 Halsey Street (at Lewis; Subway: A/C trains to Utica Avenue or C train to Kingston-Throop), ☎ +1 718 574-0010, . M-F 6PM-11PM, Sa-Su Noon-4PM and 6PM-11PM. Located in the heart of Bed-Stuy, Saraghina is a fantastic pizza restaurant offering up freshly baked thin-crust pizzas for $16 or less - and that's for a good sized pie that one person could tuck away with some effort, but which is more easily shared by two. Favorites include the classic margherita and the proscuitto i funghi. Their oven is a true wood-burning brick unit, and their ingredients are fresh and succulent. In addition to pizza, Saraghina offers a menu of traditional Italian fare, including burratina, sautéed artichokes, swordfish carpaccio, and spaghetti with ragù di pesce, to name a few. The beer selection is a bit limited, but there are plenty of wines on the list, and the atmosphere - a deceptively small area converted from a storefront with lots of old wood paneling and hidden back dining room and garden - more than makes up for the brevity of the menu.under $30.
Sugar Hill Supper Club, 609 DeKalb Ave (at Nostrand; Subway: G train to Bedford-Nostrand Avenue), ☎ +1 718 797-1727, . Su-W 9AM-7:30PM, Th 9AM-8:30PM, F-Sa 24 hours. An old school Bed-Stuy southern/soul food restaurant with outstanding crabcakes and frequent live jazz (always one, at least, on the first thursday of the month) as well as R&B, dance floor downstairs. The atmosphere is simple but elegant—a white tablecloth kind of place.$13-22.
If you are interested in local jazz events in and around Bed-Stuy, a lot of them are held in community centers, churches, etc., so you'll have to look them up. The place to look is the Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium, whose mission and success is to ensure that jazz has a home and future in central Brooklyn. In addition to the following, check the restaurants above to find more jazz venues in the area.
Sista's Place, 456 Nostrand Ave (at Jefferson; Subway: A/C trains to Nostrand Avenue and walk 4 blocks north), ☎ +1 718 398-1766, . Sista's is central Brooklyn's highest profile jazz venue, with performances at Sa 9PM and 10:30PM in their relatively small, friendly cafe space (performances are sporadic on other nights—call for schedule). It's also a political space, and the collective in charge sponsors Sunday afternoon panels on various issues relevant to the local community.$15-35.
Akwaaba Mansion (Akwaaba Mansion Inn), 347 MacDonough Street (at Stuyvesant; Subway: A/C trains to Utica Avenue), ☎ +1 718 455-5958 (toll free: +1 866 466-3855), . checkin: 2PM-7PM. Four guest rooms, each uniquely decorated with a cultural theme, private baths (some with Jacuzzis), air conditioning and clock radio/CD player, wireless internet and business center, guest library, TV and game room, personal concierge to arrange tours, restaurant reservations or anything else you may desire.$160-$175.
Rugby Gardens Bed & Breakfast, 317 Rugby Road (E 14th St) (between Beverly and Cortelyou; Subway: Q train to Cortelyou Road), ☎ +1 718 469-2244, . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. Two night minimum stay.$150.
Brooklyn Public Library (Bedford branch), 496 Franklin Avenue (at Hancock; Subway: C/S (Franklin Shuttle) trains to Franklin Avenue or A train to Nostrand Avenue; LIRR: Nostrand Avenue), ☎ +1 718 623-0012, . M-Tu 10AM-6PM, W 1PM-8PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
Brooklyn Public Library (Brower Park branch), 725 St. Marks Avenue (between Nostrand and New York; Subway: A/C trains to Nostrand Avenue or 3 train to Nostrand Avenue; LIRR: Nostrand Avenue), ☎ +1 718 773-7208, . M-Tu 10AM-6PM, W 1PM-8PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
Brooklyn Public Library (Brownsville branch), 61 Glenmore Avenue (at Watkins; Subway: L train to Sutter Avenue; LIRR: East New York), ☎ +1 718 498-9721, . M 10AM-6PM, Tu 1PM-8PM, W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
Brooklyn Public Library (Clarendon branch), 2035 Nostrand Avenue (at Farragut; Subway: 2/5 trains to Flatbush Avenue-Brooklyn College or Newkirk Avenue), ☎ +1 718 421-1159, . M 10AM-6PM, Tu 1PM-8PM, W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
Brooklyn Public Library (Cortelyou branch), 1305 Cortelyou Road (at Argyle; Subway: Q train to Cortelyou Road or B train to Newkirk Avenue), ☎ +1 718 693-7763, . M-Tu 10AM-6PM, W 1PM-8PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
Brooklyn Public Library (Crown Heights branch), 560 New York Avenue (at Maple; Subway: 2/5 trains to Sterling Street), ☎ +1 718 773-1180, . M 10AM-6PM, Tu 1PM-8PM, W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
Brooklyn Public Library (East Flatbush), 9612 Church Avenue (at Rockaway Parkway; Subway: 3 train to Saratoga Avenue), ☎ +1 718 922-0927, . M 10AM-6PM, Tu 1PM-8PM, W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
Brooklyn Public Library (Eastern Parkway branch), 1044 Eastern Parkway (at Schenectady, Subway: 3/4 trains to Utica Avenue-Crown Heights), ☎ +1 718 953-4225, . M 10AM-6PM, Tu 1PM-6PM, W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-8PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
Brooklyn Public Library (Flatbush branch), 22 Linden Boulevard (between Flatbush and Bedford; Subway: B/Q trains to Church Avenue or 2/5 trains to Church Avenue), ☎ +1 718 856-0813, . M 10AM-6PM, Tu 1PM-6PM, W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-8PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
Brooklyn Public Library (Macon branch), 361 Lewis Avenue (between Halsey and Macon; Subway: A/C trains to Utica Avenue), ☎ +1 718 573-5606, . M 10AM-6PM, Tu 1PM-8PM, W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
Brooklyn Public Library (Marcy branch), 617 DeKalb Avenue (at Nostrand; Subway: G train to Bedford-Nostrand Avenues), ☎ +1 718 935-0032, . M 1PM-8PM, Tu-W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
Brooklyn Public Library (Rugby branch), 1000 Utica Avenue (at Tilden; Subway: 2/5 trains to Church Avenue, then transfer to B35 bus to Church Avenue and Utica Avenue, or 3/4 trains to Utica Avenue-Crown Heights, then transfer to B46 bus to Utica Avenue and Tilden Avenue), ☎ +1 718 566-0054, . M 10AM-6PM, Tu 1PM-8PM, W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
Brooklyn Public Library (Saratoga branch), 8 Thomas S. Boyland Street (Hopkinson Avenue) (at Macon; Subway: J train to Halsey Street or Z train to Chauncey Street), ☎ +1 718 573-5224, . M 10AM-6PM, Tu 1PM-8PM, W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
Brooklyn Public Library (Stone Avenue branch), 581 Mother Gaston Boulevard (Stone Avenue) (at Dumont; Subway: 3 train to Junius Street or Rockaway Avenue, or L train to Livonia Avenue), ☎ +1 718-485-8347, . M 1PM-8PM, Tu-W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.