Larry's Blog: Monique Greenwood, the entrepreneur behind Brooklyn's famed Akwaaba Mansion

Larry C. Mullins
January 20, 2020 - 5:25 pm

And to think, all this time I could have been going over to Akwaaba mansion to grab breakfast! Stumbled on to a gem today, walking through my Bed-Stuy neighborhood. There’s this mansion on MacDonald Street, which I had heard (for years) sat on the block, looking like a place you don’t want to be near at night—during the day either for that matter. Well now it’s this stunning marvel of a place, palatial even, sitting in the middle of the neighborhood, with tons of visitors all the time.

What I didn’t know is that it was the brainchild of a lady named Monique Greenwood (and her husband Glenn Pogue), who bought the old decaying villa and turned it into the very first bed and breakfast in Bed-Stuy! And to listen to her story as to how this all came about would just mesmerize. She was driving along one day and saw a mansion (right across the street), where a man was taking pictures with his new bride. Well here comes Monique (the self-proclaimed trash lady), who jumped out of her car and made haste to remove several trash cans, which were “photo-bombing” the couples’ pictures. Monique was in the fashion industry and figured she’d help. But as she left the mansion, she noticed another big place across the street and decided—maybe I could transform this eyesore into a place where couples can come for “their” weddings...or maybe a B&B?

More than two decades later, the Akwaaba Mansion is a huge draw, not only to Bed-Stuy, but to the world, with waiting lists of people trying to get a weekend (or as much time as they can at the mansion). With its African-themed rooms, a “glamping” (glamorous camping) element in the yard and amazing food fare, it’s a hot spot. And Monique and Glenn told me they have similar restored mansions-turned B&B’s in other places, like D.C., the Pocono’s, Philly, etc.

It was nice to feature a trailblazer who paved the way for Brooklyn to get its first major hotel experience, right there in Bed Stuy, at a time when the borough had NO major hotel. And to think, all that history has been right here under my nose, if I had only followed it...literally....I hear the breakfasts are THE BOMB!

You go Glenn & Mo!! BTW I like my eggs scrambled with cheese.