Carroll Gardens had lost one of its links to the past.
Armando Tailor and Dry Cleaner, a fixture on Smith Street near President, has closed. The neighboring shoe repair shop told me the old Italian tailor who ran it has retired. The man, silver-haired and with glasses and very little English, was an old-school craftsman. He could do all the things that nobody bothers with anymore: fix buttonholes, replace zippers, etc. I've had most of my suits tailored and cuffed there over the years. He knew his work and did it expertly, and, consequently, charged a little more. But he was honest. Last year, when I took a worn, but beloved old winter coat in to get a new lining, he looked it over with a skeptical eye, then asked me, "Do you really like this coat?" He was telling me it wasn't worth what it would cost me to get a new lining. I did it anyway. I'm glad I did. It's the last piece of work he did for me.
I don't know much else about the man, except that he closed up every August to go visit Italy, and that he brother made homemade wine. Jesus, don't even know his last name, or when the business started. There is nothing good about this exit, but the renovation of the space, and the removal of the Armando sign allows you to see how little the architecture of the storefront has changed over the last century.
Replacing the tailor is....uh, I can hardly say it. A tanning salon.