(The New York Times) — Over the course of an hour on a Wednesday afternoon, Bedford-Stuyvesant bed-and-breakfast owner Monique Greenwood received five phone calls, chatted to a passerby about her business, prepared orange juice, said goodbye to a client, and helped another find his way to the subway station. “You want to know if I sleep?” Ms. Greenwood asked. “No!” she said, laughing.
Born in Washington D.C., Ms. Greenwood, a former editor-in-chief of the national African-American women’s magazine Essence, and her husband Glenn Pogue, moved to Bed-Stuy in 1989. Five years later, they fell in love with a dilapidated and abandoned brownstone on 347 MacDonough Street “Children of the neighborhood used to call it the ‘haunted house,’” said Ms. Greenwood.
After sinking nine months and $500,000 into renovations, the couple opened Akwaaba Mansion, then the only bed-and-breakfast in the neighborhood, on July 4th, 1995. Ms. Greenwood quit her high-profile job at Essence in 2001.