The Vermont Market and Pharmacy—ghost store of Carroll Gardens, mysteriously shuttered and cluttered since the late '90s—has become enough of a subject of fascination for locals and visitors alike that it was the subject of a piece of detective work in the the New York Times last July.
The article uncovered that the store and building's owner, Mark Stein, is a bit of a nut, "a recluse who wears suspenders and prefers walking in the street, a genius with a deep knowledge of homeopathic remedies who had some sort of position at a local university, and a property owner stuck with a valuable building he is either unable or unwilling to sell." Stein's father bought the building from the previous owners, some gun-running pharmacists.
But it just sits there, crammed with antique and modern bric-a-brac—scales and boxes and vials and junk. Barely a bit of the fine old tile floor can be seen. The "Les Miz"-like etching of a waif's head in the window spooks me every time I walk by.
And now there's another wrinkle. Scaffolding has been erected around the building. According the Department of Building website, there have been a number of complaints against Stein over the past year. One from October reads: "CALLER STS THE STRUCTURE OF THE BUILDING IS VERY UNSAFE INTHE BASEMENT THE OUTSIDE WALL IS CRUMBLING IN THE BASEMENT, AND THEFOUNDATION IS UNSAFE , SECOND COMPLAINT." There are also regular charges that the boiler doesn't work.
Recently, the DOB issued a violation, charging, "FAILURE TO MAINTAIN BLDG WALLS. ON SACKETT ST SIDE EXTERIOR WALL ON 2ND FLOOR LEVEL BY THE FIRE ESCAPE HAS APPROX 3" WIDE CRACKS & 4' LONG.ALSO 4TH FL OVER WINDOW HAS APPROX 1" CRACK."
Is this how business would be conducted in Vermont? Maybe Stein should go into group counseling with the Rat-Squirrel House lady.