The change in Williamsburg’s demographic, replete with incessant noise complaints from neighbors, left Zebulon with little choice but to close its doors. Employee Patrick Krou explained recently over email,“A Jef [Soubiran] often expressed, ‘Sure, we could change this or that and please everyone, but then we are no longer Zebulon, so we better close.’”(2)
On a tour through the neighborhood, Anasi pointed out some landmarks featured in the book, like the enduring Greenpoint Tavern and Veracruz restaurant, as well as the site of the legendary L Café, now Brooklyn Bagelsmith. “This used to be a Mafia restaurant," he said, passing a weathered three-story brick building on Kent Avenue. "But it was hardly ever open for business. A bunch of prostitutes were found dead around here, and the theory was that the owners had them killed.”
As a teenager, Drexler, who grew up in Williamsburg and now lives in Middle Village, said he and his friends would jump the fence after the pool closed for the day. “There’d be a hundred kids in there after hours, indulging in alcohol and marijuana,” he said. Most nights, the police would drive by and see them in the water. “But if we weren’t causing trouble, they’d just keep driving,” he said. “It was a different society in those days.”(2)
A genuinely evocative gloss on a gritty, edgy Brooklyn that’s not long gone yet already irretrievable, Vicente Rodriguez Ortega’s Freddy's also a casually amusing introduction to the complicated power struggles between hipsters, oldsters, bankers, and developers that define a lot of the northwestern chunk of the borough today.