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.
UPDATE: See coverage of the official groundbreaking ceremony on Atlantic Yards Report.
(Un)fortunately, I won’t be there to witness the lies first hand, but all the Atlantic Yards perpetrators will be wielding their golden shovels this coming Thursday, March 11th, at 1:30pm for the ceremonial Barclays Center & Atlantic Yards groundbreaking. I expect Develop-Don’t Destroy Brooklyn’s Groundbreaking Ceremony (to bury the soul of Brooklyn) to be a much more interesting event, and I am sorry that I’ll miss that. Read the dueling press releases below.
First up, Forest City Ratner & accomplices:
BARCLAYS CENTER AND ATLANTIC YARDS
GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY THURSDAY, MARCH 11, 2010
Ceremonial Groundbreaking to Celebrate the Next Phase of Construction
On Atlantic Yards and Sports and Entertainment Arena in Brooklyn
(BROOKLYN, NY) – March 8, 2010 – Governor David Paterson, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Forest City Ratner Companies Chairman and CEO Bruce Ratner, Barclays PLC President Robert E. Diamond, Jr., NETS investor and cultural icon Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter, and Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment President and CEO Brett Yormark, among others, will be on hand for the groundbreaking ceremony of the Barclays Center at Atlantic Yards on Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 5th and Atlantic Avenues in Brooklyn (12:30 PM press set up, 1:30 PM ceremony).
While work has been ongoing at the site since last fall, and with the temporary rail yard completed last December, the March 11 groundbreaking ceremony will mark the next phase of construction on the 18,000-seat world-class sports and entertainment arena. The Barclays Center will host more than 200 events annually, including professional and collegiate sports, concerts, family shows, NETS Basketball, and much more. The first phase of Atlantic Yards will also include three residential buildings, with the first starting later this year.
WHAT: Ceremonial groundbreaking for Barclays Center at Atlantic Yards.
WHO: Governor David Paterson, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Forest City Ratner Companies Chairman and CEO Bruce Ratner, Barclays PLC President Robert E. Diamond, Jr., NETS investor and cultural icon Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter, and Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment President and CEO Brett Yormark, among others.
WHEN: Thursday, March 11, 2010. Ceremony to start at 1:30 PM.
Press setup at 12:30 PM. ONLY OFFICIAL CREDENTIALED PRESS WILL BE PROVIDED ACCESS.
WHERE: Intersection of 5th and Atlantic Avenues, Brooklyn
March 11: Two Groundbreakings to Protest Ratner’s Boondoggle Ceremony
Many of us are angry, no…mad, and lots have already said, “I’ll be there.”
This is the moment to express your anger and outrage:
Take off work or take a long lunch to express all of your anger and outrage about the abusive, destructive, and corrupt Atlantic Yards project…
Thursday March 11 at 12:30pm
DDDB Joins Bloomberg, Markowitz, Pataki, Spitzer, Paterson, Schumer, Cuomo, Prokhorov and Ratner’s Groundbreaking to Bury the Soul of Brooklyn
Featuring Markowitz’s Proclamation Marking the Events of the Day
Exact location (in the project footprint, probably in front of Freddy’s Bar on Dean and 6th) yet to be determined…stay tuned.
Thursday, March 11. Reportedly 1:30pm
Join us to Protest the Barclays/Ratner Boondoggle Ceremonial Groundbreaking
Exact location (in the project footprint) yet to be determined…stay tuned.