One of the landmarks that had always made the Bronx's Little Italy of Arthur Avenue so special to me was an outdoor green grocer called Amalfi. It stood on 187th Street just west of Arthur Avenue. It was run by a very old man. His crates and boxes of vegetables and fruits spilled out into the street in a pell-mell fashion. The arrangement of goods was haphazard but the overall effect was artful. One couldn't help but smile when looking at the colorful business. It was a slice of pushcart-era New York that had refused to leaven.
Upon my most recent visit to Arthur Avenue, it had disappeared. I was heartbroken. But I was more disconcerted by the way it had disappeared without a trace. I walked into the store that had replaced it (another indy shop) and asked what had happened to Amalfi. The worker had never heard of it, didn't know anything. I went into the neighboring stores—nobody remembered it. How could such a special place disappear without a bit of mourning?