The new Flatbush Food at 1415 Cortelyou Road got dressed up Saturday Night and was looking all kinds of sexy for Sunday's Members only pre-opening party. The official opening occurs this coming Thursday. I got a chance to take a peek inside and it looks great.
Co-op members enjoyed quiet a spread.
On a bit of a sadder note, Wednesday will be last day that the Co-op will operate from it's original location at 1318 Cortelyou Road. I know it's just a building,.. actually, it's just a storefront, but I'm still feeling sentimental about the whole thing. Sure, the new place deserves all the hoopla but I feel there should be a ceremony, some type of memorial service for the old place. After all, the co-op was born in a forgotten area, in a neglected city in the late 70s - one of the most troubled times in our history. That era left New Yorkers with bittersweet memories.
When the Co-op was founded the city was in its worst fiscal crisis to date. The federal government treated us like an unwanted stepchild when we were on the verge of fiscal collapse. Cops, sanitation workers and other city employees were laid off by the thousands a crime and urban decay emerged everywhere. Then, we experienced the Blackout of '77. To some of our most marginalized looting seemed like a reasonable response to despair. We feared the infamous Son of Sam that same year and teenagers all over the city had no where to "get in on" because visiting lover's lanes made them Sam's targets. Of course, there was the ongoing tension between the Punks and the Disco Aficinados.
Abe Beame, Mayor of NYC ('74-'77) displays a 1975 NY Daily News headline.
Well, those are the bitter memories. The sweet memories ones are just as profound. Out of this era we saw the emergence of CBGBs which served as the delivery room for some of the greatest rock-n-roll of all time: Television, The Ramones, The Patti Smith Group, The Voidoids, The Talking Heads and Blondie among others. Further uptown Studio 54 was the place to see and be seen for celebs and wannabes. Over here in Brooklyn, we shared 54's Disco focus (although someone was always hollerin' Freebird.) This borough's most famous club was 2001 Space Odyssey, the disco which served as the set for Travolta's famous dance in Saturday Night Fever. Up in the Bronx, the Yankees were kicking ass on the field, taking the Series in '77.
...And among it all a beautiful flower grew right up through the concrete in Victorian Flatbush. To it's customers, the Flatbush Food Coop was like a warm bowl of comfort food during those hard times and thereafter. It is just another one of those miracles that evolves in this city despite fear and adversity.
So, Old Flatbush Food Co-op, since there has been no official memorial service in your honor, I will offer these lyrics to you:
It is a special one, it's never seen the sun
It only comes out when the moon is on the run
And all the stars are gleaming
It's growing in the street right up through the concrete
But soft and sweet and dreamin'
~from "Spanish Harlem" by Ben E. King
RIP Old Friend