At the corner of Union and Hicks, on other side of the BQE from Carroll Gardens, has long sat a little corner store without a sign but known locally as Sonny and Nancy's. It's always been a bare-bones, old-school place. There are pictures of the old Columbia Street on the wall, before it was wiped away by the waterfront's decline and a big dig along Columbia that killed commerce. There a case of cigars on the right hand wall. Old Italian guys hang out there for hours, and people who aren't old Italian guys aren't encouraged to linger.
Nancy is still there behind the counter. Sonny passed away a few years ago. To tell the truth, I found him an intimidating presence, blustery and vaguely menacing. I got the feeling he was some sort of unofficial mayor of the block. But others in the neighborhood obviously respected him.
For many years, the side of the building was adorned with a large, plastic banner that proclaimed the Sonny and Nancy's was "home to four million-dollar lotto winners." Over time, as the sun beat down on Hicks Street, the wording faded. For the past year, the poster has gone completely white, the letters disappearing from the scene just as surely as Sonny had. I often wondered why the sign was allowed to deteriorate that way.
Yesterday, I was walking by and saw that the sign had been taken down for good. It was being replaced by Old Brooklyn Wine & Liquor Co., a new wine shop down the block. Sorry, Sonny.
(Note: There seems to be some understanding about my post in certain corners. Sonny & Nancy's shop is still there as always; just the sign advertising the lotto winners has gone.)