‘Notorious': How the Neighborhood Has Changed


In the wake of the Biggie Smalls biopic 'Notorious' last week, The Times compares and contrasts the rapper's neighborhood—which includes both Clinton Hill and Bed Stuy, though The Times can't seem to keep them straight— in the early 1990s with the gentrified version 15 years later. Smalls grew up in a third-floor apartment at 226 St. James Place (right) in Clinton Hill, a building that has since become a condominium and undergone the requisite sprucing up. From the article:

It is a flashback to an era of Walkmans, corner drug deals and rap duels in a neighborhood that is now largely referred to by real estate agents as Clinton Hill, where there is more diversity, million-dollar condos, gourmet restaurants and less apprehension about walking alone at night. The movie is as much a commentary on the neighborhood that inspired his music as anything else...What once was a busy strip that included fast food restaurants, a liquor store and an arcade is now a stretch of eclectic dining spots, wine shops and markets featuring organic items. A restaurant named Soulé International Cuisine used to be a bodega that served as a front for a drug market, Lil’ Cease said. The liquor store often pictured behind Biggie in documentary footage is now the Fine Care Pharmacy.

Then again, maybe things haven't changed that much: Four people were stabbed at a release party for the movie early Saturday morning in East Flatbush. Any folks in who lived in the neighborhood back then care to add their own observations about how times have changed? Or how they haven't?
'Notorious' Captures Bed-Stuy as It Once Was [NY Times]
Photo from Clinton Hill Blog

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