Part of the charm of the Carroll Gardens Deli, which stands a couple doors from the entrance of the Carroll Street F stop, has been its scruffiness. The wooden and metal storefront and its windows were absolutely thick with stickers and signs, some old, some new, so that it was virtually impossible to see inside the place. It was a raffish work of art, that densely papered facade.
Stopping in the other day, I was startled when I found I was able to look through the door window. It was crystal clear and sparkling clean. Not a sticker on it. Like new. The side windows had been stripped clean, too, and much of the green-painted facade was not visible. I asked the clerk about it. He said, "I'm trying to fix this place up." Yes, I see. And I can't blame him. But I miss the mess. It takes years, decades to accumulate a mess that perfect.