Freddy’s, threatened by Ratner, hosts ‘Eminent Dom-Aid’ Sunday

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Move over, Woodstock.

Prospect Heights residents fighting a proposed basketball arena in — or make that on — their backyards have put together a 10-hour music, poetry and general feel-good music jam to raise money for and awareness of their plight.

But unlike its upstate, counter-culture counterpart, this one won’t involve mud, rain, or anything outdoors — let alone bad acid.
Instead, Freddy’s Bar and Backroom, a neighborhood favorite watering hole and cultural hub at 485 Dean St., is hosting the event on Sunday, Feb. 22, from 3 pm to 1 am.

Organizer Carolynn Black is calling the event “Eminent Dom-Aid” (get it, eminent domain/Live Aid?) since her brand new apartment, just next door to Freddy’s, would also be condemned if developer Bruce Ratner is successful in his bid to build a $2.5 billion arena, office tower and housing complex stretching east from the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues.

The wrecking ball would also come down on Freddy’s, a Prohibition-Era bar that now sponsors free nightly music.

“The idea came to me on the way back from a gig in Hoboken,” said Black, lead vocalist for the band Carolynn Black & The Blues who will play a few of their country-blues-rock tunes Sunday night.

“I was talking to the guitar player about how awful this whole thing is and it just dawned on me — What can I do as a musician? I can play,” she said.

So Black wrangled up 13 local bands (dozens more offered their services) who will play out of the goodness of their hearts (and desire not to lose their homes).

Spectators are asked to pony up $10, all of which will go towards legal fees for Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, an umbrella group of residents who are fighting the arena plan.

The group recently retained noted civil liberties attorney Norman Siegel to lead their cause.

Eminent Dom-Aid should offer a bit for everybody, musically speaking at least, with everything from a string quartet to rock, country, funk and punk.

“It’s terrible that it has come to this, but it’s heartwarming that everybody is pitching in. It’s good old ’70s activism,” Black said.
Eminent Dom-Aid bands will also include The Deed Deedle Dees, Foster Family, The Waylons, The Struck Jazz Band, John Pinamonti, Jaybird, Eric Schwartz, Volcano, The Minors, Afroskull and Spunk Lads.

For more information, contact Freddy’s Bar & Backroom at (718) 622-7035 or log on to

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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