The block-long Black Lives Matter mural in Bedford-Stuyvesant will serve as a town square through Labor Day, where socially-distant activities will take place each weekend to provide a much-needed boost for locals — and nearby businesses.
Hosted by the Bedford-Stuyvesant Mural Collective, the first weekend of events along the Fulton Street mural included outdoor exercise classes, meditation and stretching, skate aerobics, and a socially-distanced dance party.
“We wanted to create a wellness event for the community while still practicing safe distance,” said Keith Forest, who helped organize the event. “It went pretty well.”
Local stakeholders say they hope the events will draw more foot traffic to businesses, which have struggled immensely during the coronavirus pandemic, while continuing to celebrate the Black Lives Matter mural and its message.
“The goal is to bring awareness about the mural, but not only that, to help bring safe, and large foot traffic to the businesses of Bed-Stuy,” said Lynette Battle, deputy director of the Bedford Gateway Business Improvement District.
While Fulton Street businesses did not report an increase in sales during the first weekend of festivities, Battle hopes that, as word spreads of the activities, attendance will increase and sales will follow.
“Maybe after the second week they will see that increase,” she said. “You know how word-0f-mouth works — it takes a moment — but they are optimistic that hopefully, it will.”