For quite a while now, the store has been shuttered. In January of this year, a "Closed for Vacation' sign appeared on its front door, but it never re-opened afterwards.
That has many Carroll Gardeners wondering if this time, it may not re-open.
Which would be incredibly sad and a tremendous loss to the neighborhood.
The clothing store has been in operation at this location since the 1940s. It was originally founded by Marietta Chirico, a gutsy Italian immigrant who saved up her money and bought the Court Street building, so that she could open her dry goods store on the ground floor. Later, her two sons Joe and Matty stepped in to help run the business.
Though there never seemed to be any visible order in the store, Joe always knew exactly in which brown cardboard box to look to find what their customers are looking for.
Besides white cotton underwear, Joe and Matty, when he was still alive, served up their infectious laughs and hilarious banter. Walking into their store was a real experience and one can only imagine what Mother Marietta was like.
After Matty passed away a few years ago, his older brother Joe who is now well into his 90s continued on. Every work day at about 11 am, he would slowly make his way from his home on Clinton Street to take his place behind the counter of his store. Joe's grandson started helping him run the store for the past few years, so there was hope that Marietta's would remain open for a while longer
I spoke to several people about the fact that the store had been closed now for weeks. One longtime resident told me that it never really re-opened after the 'on vacation' sign went up in January. Someone else told me that Joe was now in a wheelchair and was not coming out of his house any more. There are rumors that the storefront has been rented to someone else, but I was not able to confirm this.
Whatever the reason, it is terribly sad to imagine that Marietta may not re-open.
Let us hope that this is not the end for this neighborhood institution.
Marietta at 392 Court Street when it was open
Matty and Joe Chirico when both brothers still ran the store
(image above courtesy of Carroll Gardens Patch)
Here is a beautiful video of the Chirico brothers in their store. It was filmed by Abbey Adkinson.