Samuel Underberg, a food supplies company, had offices in this building that stood on Atlantic Avenue between Flatbush and 5th Avenues for many decades, and the company made sure you knew it with large painted identification on all sids of the building. Over a decade ago, Underberg moved east on Atlantic Avenue to Utica Avenue, and the building, and its signs, lay empty. In early 2006, it was razed by Forest City Ratner in anticipation of using the land for its Atlantic Yards project. “Underberg” was used by Jonathan Lethem for the first section of his novel “The Fortress of Solitude.” This space is now occupied by the vast Barclays Center sports and performance space.
Atlantic Avenue at the junction of Fort Greene and Prospect Heights, long before it became a retail and entertainment center, was home to slaughterhouses and meat wholesalers. When I went to high school in the area in the 1970s, I frequently walked past hooks on which sides of beef were swinging. This has all vanished, much as NYC’s “other” meatpacking district in the West Village has, mostly. The Underberg Building was its last trace.