Yesterday we sadly announced that as of December 1, beloved community center Body Actualized will no longer be in business. Today, we sadly announce the closing of yet another beloved community gem. Cafe and bar, Brooklyn Fire Proof East, operating in the neighborhood since 2006, has announced that it is closing as Wednesday, November 26.
“The revenue just wasn’t there,” the owner Thomas Burr Dodd- known among friends and in the community as Burr- told us. “It can be very difficult to run a cafe. Nobody talks about it but there is a lot of competition in Bushwick,” he added.
Brooklyn Fire Proof at Ingraham Street is a complex of eight businesses run by Burr and his wife Pearl. Only their cafe is closing, the remainder of the businesses continues its operation, including Brooklyn Fire Proof Stages, which are 17,000 square feet of full-service film and television sound stages; and Brooklyn Fire Proof Work Spaces, which are creative spaces for artists and entrepreneurs.
While the cafe is closing, the gallery space at Brooklyn Fire Proof has undergone some exciting changes. The space called “Temporary Storage” has been revamped to a top notch white cube gallery. Burr told us that they will be curating their own, very specific projects under a brand “BFP Creative,” while the space will also be accepting proposals for short-term curatorial takeovers. Temporary Storage also continues to be a home to Bushwick Art Crit Group, which has been growing strong in the past couple of month in significance as well as in the numbers.
“I originally wanted to have a gallery, and I built a cafe to support it,” explained Burr. “I wasn’t looking to get rich, I don’t even drink. I just wanted to create nice relaxing spot with excellent coffee where you can feel welcomed. All we wanted was to break even, but it was a slow decay in the past couple of years,” continued Burr. “It was a great ride,” concluded Burr.
Burr and his wife will maintain the space of the cafe as it is part of their long-term lease, and are currently open to accepting proposals from interested and experienced operators.
The history of Brooklyn Fire Proof goes all the way back to 1999 when Burr opened his first space. “I was gentrified out of East Village, which was really sad for me and so Brooklyn was the new beginning,” told us the veteran. At 101 Richardson St, Burr rented 4,000 square feet of loft space, which he divided it into artist studios and slowly turned his own art studio into a gallery. The rest is a history.
“It is very important not to forget to support your local business. Go buy some art work from local galleries. Buy food from the cafes you like. Every dollar counts,” reminded us Burr. We couldn’t agree more.
Pitch Brooklyn Fire Proof your idea including credentials on transformation of their cafe space at [email protected]