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Bedford-Stuyvesant becoming a popular neighborhood for Airbnb rentals

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BEDFORD STUYVESANT, Brooklyn -- On these beautiful tree-lined blocks of Halsey Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant are some of the hottest, most popular Airbnb rooms, suites and apartments for tourists to stay in.

That's according to a new study by Airbnb, the popular but controversial short-term stay website.

The study says there's been a 78 percent increase in the number of guests staying in predominantly African-American communities compared to a year before.

Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens and West Harlem are the top four in growth.

And both long term residents and newcomers appear to welcome the tourists, often from the Netherlands or France.

"This particular block is one of the prettiest blocks in Bed-Stuy, Iris Gaddis Hazel, Bed-Stuy resident sitting on her stoop told PIX11.

"Tourists are interested in this neighborhood because of its history and its beautiful brownstones, Evan Moody, a new Bed-Stuy resident told PIX11.

Long term resident who only wanted to give his first name, Dover, said the tourists "get the best deal because they get to live like New Yorkers."

The study says Airbnb gave hosts more than 43 million dollars in the newly popular neighborhoods and Airbnb has helped local businesses like Bed Vyne Wine as well.

"The tourist come here and they buy the wines," co-owner Bed Vyne Wine Michael Brooks told PIX11.

But at least two NYC councilmembers are not quick to praise Airbnb's help in these neighborhoods since it is illegal to rent out an apartment for fewer than 30 days unless the host is present.

"If they would just add a button that would automatically take off their illegal rentals from their website, I would listen to what they have to say," councilmember Helen Rosenthal told PIX11.

"Their whole model is duplicity," NYC councilmember Jumaane Williams said. "They are like drug dealers. They tell you they are helping the community, but they are actually destroying it."