Freddy’s Bar & Backroom, a neighborhood watering hole for decades, and more recently, a center of Atlantic Yards opposition, will close its 485 Dean Street location for good tonight. Although the bar will relocate several blocks away into Park Slope, I don’t think it will ever be the same.
I shot this time lapse video on April 29, 2010 just before sunset. In the hour I stood watch over my camera, as it recorded buildings in their last days, some seized via eminent domain and all soon to be demolished for a basketball arena, I was treated to local history lessons from some who were born on the block and have lived in the neighborhood their entire lives. Stories from a time when the neighborhood would not have been considered “a great piece of real estate,” in the words of Forest City Ratner CEO Chuck Ratner.
- Stories about the social club at 487 Dean Street, across 6th Avenue from Freddy’s, where kids waited in line to play Donkey Kong, the hot, new video game. That building has been demolished.
- Stories from a man who rented the apartment directly above Freddy’s, as well as several other apartments in the footprint, some of which have already been demolished.
- Stories about fresh-baked treats from Pechter’s Bakery, which used to operate in the now demolished Ward Bread Bakery.
- Stories about the Chunky candy factory, about the Fort Greene Meat Market at Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues.
- Stories about playing stick ball behind the 78th Precinct building, probably using Spaldeens (those famous pink rubber balls), which used to be manufactured at the Spalding Building (the large brick building on the right in the video).
- Stories about other local spots in the hood like The Hut and Winner’s Circle, now long gone.
So, this is your last chance to enjoy a pint or three at Freddy’s and take a glimpse back into a small corner of Brooklyn history before it’s gone. See you tonight.