After a day of hunting for my first apartment in Park Slope, my friend and I were rewarding ourselves with pizza and discussing how realtors make up names for neighborhoods to differentiate a few blocks when the area picks up in popularity. While listing various labels, a man chimed in that, “Back in the day, this whole place was just South Brooklyn”. For those of us who did not grow up in the area, we feel almost personally responsible for changes that have come about as Manhattan moves east, and attempt to show our commiseration with the local crowd. For those of us who did grow up here, we cannot really help our resentment, and we certainly don’t apologize for it.
The closing of Jackie’s 5th Amendment is its own personification of the battle between what we now view as ‘old New York’ and ‘new New York’. Whatever those are exactly.
It’s the sort of place where there are ‘regulars’ in the most literal of senses. People have been coming for years, and for them, this isn’t just the loss of their favorite drinking spot, it’s the loss of a Friday night hangout with friends – including the bartenders.
The joint is famous for attempting to secede from the neighborhood last year, as reported by Brooklyn Magazine. It is a quintessential dive bar, complete with a ten dollar bucket of six beers, an electric jukebox spouting anything from Johnny Cash to Nickelback, red lights shedding an eerie 80’s glow, and a glorious faded sign stating “No Smoking Behind the Bar”.
After chatting with the bartender, she confirmed that it was indeed set to close on September 14th, with a rumored open-bar night to celebrate the end of a family business providing cold brews since the 1950’s. Apparently the pharmacy next door, with a 20 year lease, will be taking over the space.
Sipping on my Budweiser, I was surrounded by an eclectic group of drinkers – ranging from some kids playing darts in the backroom to married couples sharing a beer and discussing what they could do to save the place to a group of older men tossing jokes back and forth.
This is not a new issue. Every day, old pubs are closing down and new spots with mixology menus are take over that sacred space. In comes the local organic grocery to demolish the shelves of canned preservatives! Derelict buildings are restored into apartments, and new schools are built as families move to affordable neighborhoods. Everything changes; that is how cities grow. Are these changes a bad thing? In this particular case, perhaps yes. In general, I suppose that’s a matter of personal opinion.
Regardless of how you may feel about this evolution, pop by on Saturday September 14th and join the crew in a final ‘cheers’ to good memories.