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Da Garage to be boarded up

Frederick Poole closes the door of his garge that he orginaly turned into his "Man Cave" at his home on Hollenbeck St. in Rochester where he hosted parties and community gatherings in his back yard that Poole named "Da Garge".
Max Schulte
Frederick Poole closes the door of his garage that he originally turned into his "Man Cave" at his home on Hollenbeck St. in Rochester, where he has since hosted parties and community gatherings in his backyard that Poole named "Da Garage".

The party is over on Hollenbeck Street, as a state Supreme Court judge ruled Tuesday that the makeshift nightclub known as Da Garage is to be boarded up.

Judge Joseph Waldorf deemed the property a public nuisance. But homeowner Frederick “Pee Dee” Poole will not be removed from his house in northeast Rochester. Instead, Waldorf ordered the garage to be shuttered for a year and not accessible to anyone, including Poole.

Additionally, Poole has until Aug. 15 to either have an unapproved rooftop deck on the garage removed or provide the court with a signed agreement with a contractor to remove it by Oct. 31. The kitchen equipment and DJ booth in the garage also must be removed.

Even after the garage's closure ends, Poole cannot resume his large-scale gatherings.

In March, the city brought Poole to court over the numerous parties he hosted at the property. The events, promoted heavily on social media, regularly drew hundreds of revelers. The detached garage in Poole’s backyard had been fitted with a rooftop deck, marble bar, and restaurant-grade cooking equipment. One event in September 2021 featured a paid walkthrough by rapper Jadakiss.

The city had argued that the space had become a catalyst for violence, linked to several incidents of fights and gunfire. Poole maintained the space was something of a community hub, filling in an entertainment gap in the neighborhood.

There are few bars and no legal nightclubs near Poole’s home on Hollenbeck Street, a thoroughfare stretching from Avenue D in the city’s northeast to Ridge Road in the town of Irondequoit.

WXXI News first reported on Da Garage and the legal proceedings around it in April. The story later became a talking point on social media and in national news.

The city had sought to have the property declared a nuisance under the city’s gun violence state of emergency. Its original request was for the house to be boarded up for at least one year.

Gino Fanelli is an investigative reporter who also covers City Hall. He joined the staff in 2019 by way of the Rochester Business Journal, and formerly served as a watchdog reporter for Gannett in Maryland and a stringer for the Associated Press.