We tidied up the apartment and went to Target. On the way, we saw construction workers tearing down a building with a huge back-hoey thing wielding a pincher-claw that cut through a steel support beam like butter, bringing down an entire floor. In front of us was the empty space where Freddy's once stood.
Freddy's was the best bar in the neighborhood; an old school establishment where curiosities, trophy heads, framed photos, and statuary decorated the cluttered bar. The windows were lined with books and board games, and the bartenders possessed a potent mix of friendly and surly. When I used go down to watch the Mets playoff games I could also watch the avant-garde video art that played endlessly at the other end of the bar. Freddy's was almost the only bar in the neighborhood when I moved in 11 years ago. Now there are bars-a-plenty and many of the buildings between my apartment and Freddy's are being razed (via Eminent Domain http://www.expertlaw.com/library/real_estate/eminent_domain.html) to put up the new arena home for the Brookyn Nets.
And Freddy's dead.
I'm not much of a drinker, and neither is Deb. So that last time we were there was March 17th, 2008. I mention Freddy's here not because it's a bar, but because it's the type of place that we hope to discover on this trip. Places that are of where they are—that is: unique to, and a product of, their surroundings. Places that the locals not only frequent, but revere. They are hard to create and impossible to replace.
We're lucky then, I suppose, to be able to spy on the cities we intend to visit and mine for their local treasure online so that we can make the most of our short time in each place. It's hard to get a sense of a city in a day. Sometimes it's best not to try so hard. Just find a good place to start and then wander.