Let me take you on a walk down my Memory Lane.
It was a truly wonderful experience as I stepped back in time and entered the Pfizer Building on Flushing Avenue. I hadn’t returned since 1982 when I left after 3 years.
What a treat to walk the old corridors and find the new faces and spaces of young entrepreneurs. The young so eager to expand their own business, while mindful of Pfizer’s past. They kept the old sign posts on the doors and entrances within this facility, a reminder of the usefulness of this facility to the Brooklyn Community and the Country.
It made me feel as though, in my own small way, I impacted the community as well. A word of advice: visit the places from your past. You will better understand and appreciate your place in the history of the company, the neighborhood, our country.
This is my humble chapter.
The Brooklyn Pfizer plant was built around 1832. I arrived for work in September of 1979. At the time, it was an oasis in a ghetto. We employed the local Black and Hispanic population, we matched union wages, employed generations of families and had a Paternalistic attitude toward our workers. That was the Pfizer way: Take care of the people, make them happy to go to work, and we did. Sure we had a formal HR DEPT but Managers were on call to help employees resolve personal problems. It was expected that each of us would spend time and know how and help our employees. As front line management we recommended folks for disciplinary action, or drug or alcohol addiction programs, we were there to help our workers become better people. It worked for many years. All hourly employees were temps, working a minimum of 40 hours a week with benefits, equivalent to the Union. Generations of families worked loyally for Pfizer because that was the Pfizer Way.
I photographed the new Food Incubator that now occupies the ” old Pfizer” facility. My son becomes the next generation to work within Pfizer, though it’s now owned by an equity firm, Acumen Capital.
But it’s still Pfizer and the old ghosts and many of the equipment remain. So here’s to the next generation, may they be happy and successful as they work their way through The New Economy. Brooklyn has become one of the Mecca’s for the serious Foodie and it seems to me this will be as transformative for the young as it was for us over 30 years ago.
A toast to Life and Renewal. I do hope everyone enjoys my personal photos.