Friday, February 22, 2008

Brooklyn Spirits: Another Man Done Gone ---Fields Fine Wine and Spirits Moves On

That a liquor store should thrive in the shadow of Farrell's Bar and Grille was a thing of wonder. Growing up in Windsor Terrace, Farrell's was to us proto-hippies in the 70s a place where guys in Brooklyn Union Gas Company uniforms would hang out after (and truth be told, during) work. Not a place for us. Devlin and the other music-arts-young 'uns, would make the occasional flyby, when they were of age, to pick up a cardboard container, or tapper, of beer to take to the Park, where we all would hang out, tell ridiculous tales, and sing endless choruses of Neil Young and Grateful Dead tunes... Although in later years, Farrell's took on an aura of charm and grace (by conferring blue-colllar authenticity, I guess), when it was anointed by Pete Hamill and liberated by Shirley McLaine, but it was too late for us, I guess.

Farrell's beer to go and the Park was the alternative to \ the occasional six pack of Ringnes, a Norwegian beer, that Devlin and comapny would pick up at a Norwegian deli in Bay Ridge, which would be quaffed on the bluffs overlooking the Narrows.

Somehow, one of the hills overlooking the Narrows was given, in one stupor or another, a naif-faux native American appelation of "Taka-maka-doy-land" which Devlin figured was as suitable a native American name as any other..this was especially noticeable in late spring and early summer, when the sun would glare off of the Narrows with incredible intensity and beauty....glistening, gleaming. This, after a six pack of RInges, became known as "the hour of the Golden Needles at Taka-maka-doy-land"

Eventually, Devlin drifted toward the Finer Things in Life and as a totem of that Maturity, he remembered buying his first bottle of Sophisticated Wine (I think it was Mateus Rose, or, as Bill Murray had it on SNL, "MA-TAY-US"..the placve of this purchase was Fields which resided on 16th street and PPW, in the shadow of Farrells.

Fields never yielded to oak showcases or ferns or winetastings...it was a friendly neighborhood wine and booze shop, a convenient stopping point for me on the journey from the Heights to Flatbiush..[. I remember my surprise when I saw a bottle of Fat Bastard on the shelf..

Well, All Things Must Pass, and now Fields has closed, to be replaced by WIndsor Wine and Spirits. No one knows whether it will have ferns and oak and tastings, and what the relationship of the new proprietors will be to Farrell's, but I am sure Devlin would smile on the need to salute the passing of another venerable, spirited Windsor Terrace institution.

--Brooklyn Beat

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