Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Knit PH at Freddy’s, Oct. 21



6:25! Am I late?
Eric was already in the back room casting on. He came all the way from Queens via the L to the A. I said “hey” and planted the large umbrella swift and winder on the center table as an explorer would plant his flag. I meant to bring my camera but when I looked into the bag I only found my reading glasses covered in Snickers Bar dust. Edna came from Queens too, but pointed out she’s originally from Brooklyn and is finding her way back soon. She took out her baby sweater, put away her subway reading (organic chemistry) and asked what I was making — the wedding shrug. “Who’s getting married?”

A small crafty army assembled in Freddy’s backroom. Soon Jessica with guest Leslie arrived, then shortly after, Emily, Archie, Suzanne, Tomo, and Amy. The conversation was light and friendly, everyone was helpful with the other. Archie showed us his new project, a cool cap designed by BrooklynTweed (a knit blogger) for Interwweave mag. Emily had her baby hats. From her iPod, Tomo showed us her finished knit Arm Chairs on exhibit. Very very cool! She forgot her stuff so I gave her the Noro Silk Garden and #8s. I traded with her for translating a Japanese YouTube-clip that I found on Brooklynian.com. I also gave her the pattern I'm using for the shrug arms. Confused people wandered through the back room gawking at us. Jessica laughed about knitting in a dive bar "This is so cool, who’d ever think!” “It’s actually faux dive." I explained that the patina on the backroom walls was rag-rolled because the manager said it looked too clean.

Note: Timboo's is danerous. Smith's Tavern and Jackie's 5th Amendment are now sports bars, Hank's is an mid-scale SRO bar with country music. But Montero's is a true dive. Legend has it that a patron was stabbed at the bar.

Knit Night at Freddy’s is back on the winter events calendar. The first Knitting circle I started was at Prospect Perk Café in 2003. I was going to call it the “Brooklyn Needle Exchange” but cafe owner Mary said “Let’s call it ‘Got Balls’”, and thus it was so. The knitting circles at Maha’s and Freddy’s followed the next year. That first year at Freddy's I begged for a Sunday night, so we ended up sharing the room with a jazz band that featured Alphorn players. Freddy’s Bar was a prohibition era bar (hence the mysterious backroom) that eventually became a cop bar, then an artsy bar. I just think it’s a good neighborhood bar. Unfortunately it stands in the way of a Titan developer who has declared the neighborhood “blighted” so he can build an arena and a luxury mall for a ton of $$$$$$$.

Shame on his greed. Shame on our state for selling us snake oil. Shame on the people that bought the snake oil.

As the band showed up with their equipment, Suzanne put down her sock and the smokers stepped out for a break. “I love this place. My son had to show me where it was, he drinks here.” Suzanne asked about other events in the backroom. I told her about Opera on Tap. Annie, Jessica, and Carla — all working divas, bring in their opera troupe and a small orchestra; Sarah Brown’s Cringe Night, the guiltiest of pleasures when people read from their 6th grade diaries; Blue Grass Jam Night; Diorama Lodge Night; Sunday Chick Jazz; and of course my favorite, the Sing and Win a Ham contest. I try to attend these events when I can. Note: For some reason people have confused me as an employee. They'll have to fetch their own drinks. Suzanne took an events calendar. I told her to say “It’s my bar now” to her son. That should keep him in line. By 9:00 we packed up our gear and left the band to set up.

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