17 November 2009

Armando Tailor of Carroll Gardens Is No More

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.


Lindsay Robertson said...

Ugh. I can't believe I even live in a neighborhood that can support a tanning salon. Hopefully, it can't.

Jimmy C said...

My wife and I had clothes waiting to be picked up the week he was closing. They left us several messages notifying us of the closure and warning us to pick up our items before the last day.

When we arrived we asked him about the business and he told us in a somber tone that his wife had passed away and he did not have the energy to run the business without her. He mentioned he was moving back to italy to be with his sons.


Brooks of Sheffield said...

Jimmy, your note made me terribly sad. I met the tailor's wife many times.

Sonic said...

This is terribly sad. I found out they closed when I took a couple pair of pants up there for hemming a couple weeks ago, only to find it closed up. I recently had a suit done in there by him (maybe a month or two ago), and his wife was there too, so it must have been pretty recent.

It is really too bad, and it being replaced by a tanning salon is horrifying.

bigmissfrenchie said...

A tanning salon. Aaarrrgggggghhhhhh!

Anonymous said...

The Tailors name was Armando Nardi and his wife Maria Nardi. They were so nice and so honest. Maria was an amazing woman who loved company. She passed away from Brain Cancer back in June. Armando was always a jokster. he loved to talk about his wife truly loved her. It broke him when she passed away. He always said it was as if part of him died too. he went back to stay with his two sons and grandchildren for a little while. He will be back to visit he said. It is really sad to see this old italian Tailor shop gone. So many memories there were. it was a mom and pop kind of place. They were great! And always did an amazing job! RIP MARIA NARDI YOU WILL BE MISSED