Eye On Real Estate: Structural repair starting at Richards Street house
By Lore Croghan
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Bud and Packy's, a bar dear to Dodgers fans and Red Hook old-timers, is getting a much-needed renovation – or at least, the eye-catching building that houses it is.
Restoration work recently started at 199 Richards St. – where Dodgers fans mourned the team's October 1951 loss of the National League pennant. They put a headless effigy of manager Chuck Dressen in the front window of Bud Fischer's and Packy Laffan's bar for all the world to see, with the mocking sign “Dressen No Head” next to it.
Dressen had put Ralph Branca into the game in the ninth inning – and the relief pitcher was scored on with a home run that cost the Dodgers the pennant.
The manager's fake corpse, surrounded by funereal candles and a crowd of unhappy onlookers at Bud and Packy's, were captured in a Brooklyn Eagle photo that's in Brooklyn Public Library archives.
And the scene is recounted in “The Greatest Ballpark Ever: Ebbets Field and the Story of the Brooklyn Dodgers,” a book by Bob McGee.
Bud and Packy's outlasted the Dodgers' stay in Brooklyn. It was frequented by folks from Todd Shipyards and Sucrest Refinery, according to a 2009 posting on author Kevin Walsh's blog Lost City.
The Brooklyn Historical Society has a 1959 photo by John D. Morrell of the bar and the house it was located in, both in fine condition. Today, a visual reminder of now-defunct Bud and Packy's that remains at the house on the corner of Richards and Coffey streets is the word “RESTAURANT” painted in gold on a window, as it was in the old pictures.
These days, the window is covered by a security gate, red siding is peeling off the house's wood facade – and according to city Buildings Department filings, the interior stairs of 199 Richards are collapsing, an adjacent wall is “rotted and moving off of foundation” and the “building is leaning to one side with numerous holes in siding.”
But help is on the way. In March, the city agency issued a permit for structural repair to property owner Isaura (known in the neighborhood as Izzi) Horenstein.
When we stopped by recently, work crews had stripped the back wall off the house. Behind a tarp partly covering the second floor, a sink could be seen.
In November 1984, Isaura and Michael Horenstein bought the house that had been home to the beloved bar – from a seller who less than a month before had purchased it from Patrick J. Laffan (probably that was Packy's full name?) and Robert Fischer, executor of then-deceased Frank Fischer's will.