Residents of the transforming Brooklyn neighborhood, a peninsula surrounded by water, saw a grim look at its future on the citys floodplain after Hurricane Sandy in 2012
The party at Bait & Tackle didn’t look like a funeral. The bar was packed with people double-fisting drinks and dancing. But every now and then you caught someone go quiet, stare at the ceiling, take a deep breath and sigh, eyes glimmering.
“It’s a lot to take in,” said a woman to a friend standing next to her. “Where are you gonna go for happy hour now?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” her friend answered. “Nowhere.”
A grey-haired man behind the bar gave a bottle of vodka to a customer who knocked back its last dregs. Barry O’Meara was not just the bartender – he also owned the place, which he had opened 14 years ago. But on 27 January 2018, it was coming to an end. O’Meara would close Bait & Tackle for good.
Until then, Bait & Tackle had been a neighborhood bar in Red Hook, Brooklyn. O’Meara was shutting it down because the neighborhood was not what it used to be. The people moving to Red Hook – “the new people”, he said – were displacing his customers, who could no longer afford their rent.
“And the people moving in don’t frequent establishments like this,” O’Meara said. “So that’s it.”
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