If any neighborhood is in need of a morale boost, it’s the stretch between Flatbush and Vanderbilt Avenues, bordering the Atlantic Yards site. The last tenant took a multimillion-dollar payout, Forest City Ratner’s heavy equipment has moved in, and Freddy’s Bar has served its last beer. Just south of the buildings awaiting demolition, though, Kaz An Nou seems determined to bring a bit of Caribbean color and hope. (Its proximity to the Atlantic Yards wrecking ball has caused some concern, but the owners think they’re safe, thanks to the Seventy-eighth Precinct station house next door.)This is just a little odd. The neighborhood near the Atlantic Yards site is doing pretty well. After all, new restaurants and pubs keep opening on Vanderbilt Avenue bordering the site.
Unfortunately, the concern regarding the proximity to the wrecking ball is misplaced; the issue is not whether the building itself is in danger of condemnation--it's not--but whether arena crowds or the market for a sports bar (or something else arena-related) would make it uncomfortable for this neighborhood spot.
The real issue, as I pointed out in March and May, when the Brooklyn Paper and the Times, respectively, wrote about the restaurant, is how exactly the state could get away with calling the AY site blighted when such restaurateurs remained undeterred.