By Raanan Geberer
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
By now, everyone knows that reBar in DUMBO suddenly closed on Friday morning, with the owner doing a disappearing act and many couples who had paid money to hold weddings there being left out in the cold. While I’ve seen many, many businesses go bankrupt, they often remain open during bankruptcy proceedings while attempts are made to reorganize the business, and accounting professionals seek to settle or close out accounts.
Even when stores are closed outright, whether because of bankruptcy or just due to financial problems, the owners usually give at least a few weeks’ notice. (Just off the bat, I can think of Loehman’s, Fortunoff’s, the Gateway Country computer stores and several other examples). This whole thing has the air of something fishy, and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone finds themselves in trouble with the law.
I don’t plan to reiterate the chain of events, especially since there could be new developments at any time. What I do plan to write about is the response that reBar’s abrupt closing has met with in the Brooklyn community.
A number of other nearby venues, including Brooklyn Winery, powerhouse Arena, Tuffet, Superfine DUMBO and more, have made their facilities available for those who need help re-booking a wedding or party on short notice. The stately Brooklyn Historical Society in nearby Brooklyn Heights has also gotten into the act, offering its facilities to would-be reBar couples at a special rate.
An online fundraising campaign has also begun on Indiegogo. As of late Sunday, 34 people had already donated and more than $1,200 had been raised.
This kind of neighborly effort might be common in small-town America, where people have known each other for years, but it would be hard to imagine elsewhere in the big city.
It would especially be hard to imagine in midtown or downtown Manhattan, where the demise of a large bar or restaurant would probably be met with glee from the building owner, who could now rent out the space for twice as much money, and indifference from the general public. When a very large Barnes & Noble closed in Chelsea a few years ago, there was quite a bit of grumbling by customers, but very few people said anything openly.
What’s even more mystifying is the fact that in DUMBO, as in other “trendy” Brooklyn neighborhoods, many, if not most, people are transplants with few roots in the area. One might think that such people might shrug off something like the abrupt closing of reBar, saying, “Well, I might not be here in five years, so I can’t be bothered with this.” Yet, many of these very same people are now organizing efforts to help people left in the lurch by the reBar closing. This flies in the face of what we’ve been told all these years – that people are becoming more and more selfish and self-centered and that community doesn’t really matter anymore. Maybe there’s hope for society yet.
Yes, it’s unfortunate that reBar closed so suddenly. But hopefully, the combined efforts of other Brooklyn restaurants and bars, not to mention other institutions, should sweeten the pill. Once again, Brooklyn shows the way!