Smith Street Jail To Reopen, Quirky Bar Called the “Prison Yard” to Follow (Probably)

08/12/2010 10:44 AM |


  • Life can be cruel inside a prison.

That big ol’ jail building at the corner of Smith Street and Atlantic Avenue? It’s going to be filled with criminals again, as a jail should be. Locals are concerned, apparently, that “their children might have to walk past an occupied jail.” This strikes me as absurd, insofar as I have always understood that jails and their surrounding areas are relatively low in crime (I grew up a five-minute bike ride from a prison… we used to go and sit and stare at it, waiting for something to happen; nothing ever did).

The good news, I suppose, for locals who don’t like jails, is that this particular plan to merely restore the facility (which was closed in 2003), was an alternative to actually doubling the size of the jail, which would have meant a lot more cells behind a lot more barred windows, WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN SCARY. (You know what’s even scarier? The brief allusion in the Times article to the “Bronx prison barge.” Ugh, what a species we are…)

And while no plans have yet been made known to The L Magazine about opening up a nearby bar and calling it the Prison Yard*, we would like to be the first to suggest such a thing to any local entrepreneur who might be listening. And if you do this, we will come to your bar and review it. Promise.

*Alternate names: Hard Time, The Cooler, The Clink, Sing-Sing, Up the River, Clemency, Solitary, Discipline and Punish, Visiting Hours, Jail Break, The Great Escape, Papillon, Holding Cell, Lifers

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