The two blocks of Brooklyn's Third Avenue between Union and Carroll have often made me wonder as I passed them while seating in the B71. There seems to be old Italian enclave there, but I've never heard anyone talk about the area in those terms, though I have read here and there that Italian-Americans were once thick upon the ground thereabouts.
Near Union on Third is the cryptic Two Toms restaurant, an anonymous red-sauce joint with no posted menu and very limited hours. It always seems to be booked by a private party. If you do get in, the selections will be rattled off to you by a gruff guy who might also be the chef. The tables are tables. The chairs are chairs. It looks like someone's rec room. And at the end of the meal someone will scribble down a figure on a piece of paper and that's what you pay.
Anchoring the area on the other end, on Carroll Street just around the corner from Third is the more famous, much more posh, hundred-year-old Monte's, a former speakeasy and hangout of Sinatra, smack in the middle of a residential block, with beautiful views of the Gowanus Canal. More Italian food.
In between is the imposing Glory Social Club (Inc., thank you very much) and the straightforward Italian American Grocery, with Coke signs on either side, though this latter, 60-year-old, family-owned shop was recently gutted and is being converted into something else (a bar or cafe, I'll wager). And then there's my favorite, the abandoned awning for the once going concern called the V.M.P. Salumeria. Some odd sort of office work is going on in there now; could be a numbers joint, for all I know. Does anyone out there know anything about Third Avenue? Or would you be killed if you said anything?