Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Moment Back in Time: Who Remembers Rainbow Market And Aiello's Food Store On Court Street

A while back, I came across this great photo of Court Street between Union and Sackett Streets, which still show two stores that were in business when I first moved into the neighborhood in the mid-80s.
There was Rainbow Market, a produce store where Charlie, one of the employees, would flirt with all the female customers.  The store is now occupied by the Brooklyn Strategist
Then there was Aiello's Food Store, a large delicatessen, that once belonged to an Italian family, but which had been taken over by a Russian couple, who did not have the best people skills and ended up running the business into the ground.
In the photo, one can also detect the old pharmacy, Renaissance, which was run by two lovely ladies.  It closed about ten years ago.
The blue and white building on the right hand stands pretty unchanged today.  It belonged once to the Longshoremen's Union, but has houses a Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints.
Who remembers these businesses and the people who ran them?


walter said...

I remember them very well I lived right around the coner of the ILA 1814

Anonymous said...

Rainbow! I had forgootten about them. An oldy but goody.

Anonymous said...

Thx for the memories! Miss them all!

Tim Hayduk said...

Loved Rainbow Market.... The father and son were very nice and always helpful...

Anonymous said...

I remember them very well. My mother shopped there at least twice a week. Whenever you bought produce at Rainbow, Charlie and his employees would throw free bunches of parsley and basil into your bag, and they didn't spoil in two days the way they do now. He would also recommend what was best from the market any given week. It was always a busy store, they didn't hose down or bury the produce in ice cubes leaving you with half-rotten greens before you even used them, and the produce was always fresh -- it was mostly locally grown and seasonal. Aiello's had the best fresh mozzarella and fresh ricotta in the neighborhood at the time -- nothing in plastic wrappers or containers. The owner's two sons also worked there, and one of them wore his hair styled like Elvis.

Anonymous said...

Loved Renassance. They had an old guy who would deliver prescriptions! Rite Aid Etc drove them to close. Rainbow was great! One Of his employees stil lives in the area and I see him walking his little dog! Aillos closer shortly after I moved here but I liked that Russian couple. They always had a fresh roasted turkey on the counter. And made the best sandwhichs!!! She had jet black hair. I remember the store got worse as you walked towards the back.

Marcia said...

Rainbow market! That was a kick! I’m not sure which was Charlie but I remember the blond and blue-eyed guy was cute. Always with a cigarette hanging from his mouth. I loved that store. Barely room for the four guys to work plus the customers but it was always busy. Still have a picture I took of the younger one, thick dark hair, big black eyes, with a red scarf around his forehead, box of fruit on his shoulder. He told me he was from Malta.

After my Cobble Hill landlords hiked the rent way up, back in the 80s, I was looking for an apartment. A neighbor told me to look for buildings being renovated. One day, on Sackett, around the corner from Rainbow, there was Mr. Blue Eyes working on a gut-reno on a brownstone. I got hopeful and said, “Is it going to be an apartment for rent?” and he shook his head and said, “It’s for Me. Myself, and I."

Never forgot that terse reply! I was disappointed but could see his pride in what he was giving himself. Smart guy!

And the two pharmacists at Renaissance. They were sisters. The personal service was wonderful. I’d watch how they took special care of the older people. I missed the place for years until I found Wyckoff Pharmacy on the corner of Wyckoff and Court, where you still can get personal service from Sam and John. Did you know they were written up in the Metropolitan section of the Times the weekend of the blizzard? I didn’t see it because I never got the paper that weekend. But they had a copy in the pharmacy. It talked about the rarity of the small neighborhood pharmacy and gave the story of how Sam found the place.

Thanks for the memories!

Anonymous said...

I remember the neighborhood as it was as well. Specially that whole block. Caputo's is the only storefront to remain the same. The opposite corner of that picture where currently a real estate business is was a florist. Across the street where Apple Bank is was a butcher and and furniture store. I remember when that store closed reading a write up (if I'm not mistaken) here on PMFA. Most people won't remember but back in the late 80's/early 90's there used to be a hot dog stand right there. Haven't seen a hot dog vendor on that spot since at least 91 maybe 92.

As for the store fronts in the picture, Renaissance was a great place. I remember the sister's very well as well as a glassed green bottle that was up in the air on a shelf. I also remember the old delivery guy, who used to ask everyone where he delivered medicine to if he could use their bathroom. I allowed him once to do that in my house and he wound up peeing all over the floor. When I called Renaissance to tell them, I was told never to let him use the bathroom again cause he used to do that in plenty of people's homes.

Rainbow Market was always fun, I remember how cramped it was there and all the wooden baskets and cardboard boxes they hard the food in. I also remember being a little kid and wanting to play with both the scale and this cash register they had. As for Aiello's, before the Russian family took it over, every family used to talk about their food and how great it was. But when the family took it over, many people were upset. They also didn't treat trick or treaters that well. I remember going in there as a kid and being told to leave with my cousin. I'm glad Frank took over the place as the chiropractor. He's been there since the early 90's and can't see that spot changing.

Katia said...

That is too funny about the Renaissance delivery guy. So many memories out there. I love it all.

Anonymous said...

Cathy was the owner of Renaissance and Stephanie (who I believe was her sister in law) worked there. They are both pharmacists. Skippy was the delivery guy. They were great - never had as good service anywhere. CVS on Court St bought her out - her prescriptions were transferred and she worked there for a while (6 months I think) as part of the deal. If I'm not mistaken, she (still) owns the building Renaissance was in and is probably better off renting the storefront than running a business from it. A few years later I ran into Cathy in the Duane Reade in Manhattan on John St off Pearle where she was the pharmacist.

I had my own personal boycott of Aiellos after witnessing how the owner treated the young men who worked there who I believe were his son(s) and nephew. He humiliated them constantly. He died of a heart attack in his 50s and it took about a second for those young men to shut down the place.

Anonymous said...

Great memories. All the characters. When Carroll Gardens was Carroll Gardens.