"Is it not cruel to let our city die by degrees, stripped of all her proud monuments, until there will be nothing left of all her history and beauty to inspire our children? If they are not inspired by the past of our city, where will they find the strength to fight for her future?" Jacqueline Kennedy

Saturday, June 04, 2016

The End Of An Era In Carroll Gardens: Farewell to Joseph Chirico Of Marietta's

(photo credit: Eric Platt)
Matty and Joe Chirico
image above courtesy of Carroll Gardens Patch

Oh, what truly sad news!  Joseph Chirico of the beloved Marietta at 392 Court Street has passed away. A handwritten note has been posted on the gate of the old fashioned clothing store informing Marietta's Customers of his passing.
A service will be held at Scotto's Funeral Home at First Street and Court Street tomorrow, June 5th.

For a few months now, Marietta has been shuttered.  In January of this year, the store was closed  'for Vacation', but it never re-opened and many in the neighborhood feared that the closing would probably be permanent.

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.

Matty passed away a few years ago, but his older brother Joe who was 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 it for the past few years, but since the beginning of the year, Joseph's health was failing and he did not want to leave the house anymore.

Joseph. like his brother Matty, will be very much missed by many in Carroll Gardens.  This is truly the end of an era in the neighborhood.  Such a sad day!

Below are some memories of the store when it was still open.It was such a wonderful time capsule. Please take some time to watch the wonderful video of the Brothers Chirico made a few years back by Abbey Adkinson and you will understand why they were so special and such a big part of the community.

Marietta at 392 Court Street a while back

This photo was taken by my friend and Carroll Gardener Mary, who kindly allowed me to post it here. It shows Mary's neighbor Marie "hashing it out" with Joe a while back.

 Interview with the Chirico Brothers by Abbey Adkinson.


Unknown said...

We just speaking of Joe tonight at dinner. Sad to hear of his passing. Definitely an end of an Era. RIP Joe

kathleen said...

My heart is heavy! I will miss the man and his store.

Margaret said...

RIP Joe, and my condolences to his family. I loved going into the store. Sweeter people you will never meet, and the merchandise was great and at such a good price. Sad.

Unknown said...

Loved this store from the first day I walked in. Such kind, gentle, and humble men, full of stories and laughs. We are the richer for having known them. Marieta's was truly a useful shop and to see it go will be the end of an era. Our condolences to the family.

Anonymous said...

Such sad news. They were such an amazing pair, and amazing as individuals, too. For me, Marietta's was the last business institution of the old Carroll Gardens, and one of the last of the old New York. (Dave's 5 and 10, Frank's on Union...) Closing a chapter, closing a book.