“Released in 1993, Cool & Steady & Easy is the title of the first CD by the Brooklyn Funk Essentials. Track number six on that CD is ‘Mizz Bed-Stuy.’ The track is largely instrumental but, to the extent that it has lyrics, it tells of a mysterious, down-to-earth, cosmopolitan, totally desired, take-no-stuff woman who travels the globe in a flying dumpster.

I was not yet living in Bed-Stuy when I wrote those lyrics but I was already packing my bags. In the 11 years preceding my move to Bed-Stuy I lived in Astoria, Queens as well as Canarsie, Park Slope, and Flatbush in Brooklyn. Till I lived in Bed-Stuy I had never felt a sense of neighborhood in New York. Earnest, the owner of the corner hardware store, now extends me credit, just like the arrangement between my parents and Mr. Wint of Wint's Hardware in rural Jamaica. Often, my doorbell rings at 11:59 in the morning. It's Omar or Tamika or David or Deborah or another of my neighbors reminding me that it's time to move my car, and we beat a parking ticket together. These are but two examples of neighborhood-ness that has helped me, an immigrant from Jamaica, to feel at home in New York."

Everton Sylvester
Brooklyn, New York

Sylvester and Danny

Everton Sylvester teaches at the City University of New York. He is lead poet with bands Brooklyn Funk Essentials and Searching for Banjo. RCA, Dorado, Shanachie, Double Moon and Unitone World are among the labels on which he has recorded. Sylvester is a 1993 James Michener fellow as well as 1997 and a 1998 Sundance Screenwriters fellow. His screenplay Tambourine was among the top five finalists in the 2002 Urban World Film Festival screenplay competition. His poetry is in Aloud – Voices from the Nuyorican Café, Massachusetts Review, Brooklyn Review, River Run, Mississippi Review, and Gathering of the Tribes. Everton is featured in the PBS-Syndicated series United States of Poetry and the movies Slamming and Prince of Central Park.

His first book of poems is titled Backyard In Bed-Stuy as a tribute to his neighbors and neighborhood.

Bedford-Styvesant Links

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