UNDERBERG BUILDING, Prospect Heights and Brooklyn’s Meatpacking District

by Kevin Walsh

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.



joe bernstein January 27, 2014 - 4:46 pm

I remember the building very well as I do the whole area from Times Plaza all the way down Atlantic-too bad that creepy developer got to destroy the whole neighborhood-I recall also there were various commercial bakeries along Atlantic and of course the yards.

Tal Barzilai January 29, 2014 - 9:45 pm

The claim for why this was demolished long before anything in the footprint was the claim by Ratner that it was not structurally sound even though that was never found to be true and was only used as an excuse to already tear it down despite going through the process.

Jenny Brown April 19, 2020 - 1:21 pm

Lovely song by Gabriel Kahane about this building here: https://gabrielkahane.bandcamp.com/track/underberg


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