Freddy’s Bar an Atlantic Yards Holdout No Longer
Eliot Brown April 19, 2010, 12:42 p.m.
It seems the “chains of justice” will not be necessary.
Freddy’s, the insurgent dive bar in the footprint of the Brooklyn Nets arena-to-be, is set to close at the end of the month. According to an announcement sent out Monday by manager Donald O’Finn, the bar will forgo a confrontation with a sheriff and a demolition crew, and will move to an undisclosed new location near Fourth Avenue and Union Street.
This contrasts with earlier statements made by bar diehards who promised to stand until the bitter end—installing “chains of justice” with handcuffs to the bar—but now the inevitability of the property takings, apparently, has set in.
“The owner of Freddy’s has had to consider those employed at Freddy’s as well as his own situation, needing employment and food on the table,” Mr. O’Finn said in the statement. “He made a difficult decision to pull out in such a way as to keep the contents of the bar and move it into another location. If we wait for condemnation we might sacrifice too much.”
The bar and its clientele have been virulent critics of the planned arena and related Atlantic Yards development, acting as a ground zero of opposition, posting various news articles of developer Bruce Ratner’s troubles throughout the years. The bar even stopped carrying beer from the Brooklyn Brewery after its owner made clear his support for the Atlantic Yards project.
Here’s the full statement sent out by Mr. O’Finn today:
Freddy’s Bar is not closing, it’s moving.
We are presently in negotiations with a landlord who is not a billionaire at 4th Ave and Union Street.
We will be having a Victory party on April 30th to celebrate what the little guy has been able to do in fighting a billionaire and the corrupt government agency that he controls. We feel we have dealt fatal blows to Ratner’s organization. The nets will not be sold to an international criminal, because the NBA can’t afford to be associated with organized crime.
Freddy’s Bar is not giving up the fight, we stand in solidarity with Prokhorov’s sanctions-busting victims in Zimbabwe, and with the people of Yonkers who are paying the price for a Ratner bribery scandal. We will continuing to stand against the corruption that has dominated our lives for the last 7 years, and are looking forward to moving out from under this sword of Damocles.
Forest City Ratner will leave Brooklyn a thousand years before Freddy’s Bar does. . . they have missed mortgage payments on their Metrotech Center, and the Yonkers and Zimbabwe sanctions busting scandals are criminal acts. The question is will they run out of money first, or face prosecution first. I am sure that both will happen.
The move is about the employees, and the business. We’re little guys. We can’t run our business into the ground as Ratner has and still survive. We have a lot of mouths to feed and we are not billionaires. The move is strategic. Very soon “Freddy’s Next Bar” will be standing tall, and Ratner will be in rubble, with no stadium, and hopefully with justice and karma finding him. This is a guy who closed a family homeless shelter in the dead of winter.
In order to assure our capacity to keep Freddy’s alive in a another location, and keep people employed… we have to move the contents of the bar in a particular timely fashion to “Lock down’ the next space, and thus we will not be facing an eviction situation in which a protest by chaining ourselves could happen. The Chains (“The Chains of Justice”) have served their purpose…to raise awareness of corruption, and they will move with us, forever installed on that bar as a symbol of a united community and that community’s power for affecting change.
The owner of Freddy’s has had to consider those employed at Freddy’s as well as his own situation, needing employment and food on the table. He made a difficult decision to pull out in such a way as to keep the contents of the bar and move it into another location. If we wait for condemnation we might sacrifice too much. I can’t yet confirm the location since everything is moving very fast, and it is not locked down yet, but the area we are hoping to secure is on 4th Ave near Union Street.
We hope to open this new space as soon as possible, 2 or 3 months hopefully. The email address will not change… nor the web address.
Freddy’s has been the culmination of everything I am and everything I ever wanted in a bar.
I could not be prouder of Freddy’s, it’s community, and it’s accomplishments.
Freddy’s is not an address, it is an idea.
I’ll See you at “FREDDY’S NEXT BAR”…the first one is on me!