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City Souls & Bklyn Hearts

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Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz congratulated Brooklyn’s Poet Laureate Ken Siegelman for completing his 10th book of poetry. Siegelman held the official signing of his latest book, City Souls, at Barnes & Noble in Park Slope. Pictured: Siegelman autographs City Souls for Borough President Markowitz. With a grandchild on the way at the end of the month, Bay Ridge resident Pat Rizzi doesn’t need any aggravation to spoil January’s expected joy. But aggravation, along with frustration, is her reality now, as baby furniture her daughter ordered from M&B Discount Juvenile Furniture is now in limbo—and so is the money she put down as deposit. The store, located at 2309-2311 Avenue U, has been a mainstay on the avenue for decades, but recently—and inexplicably—shuttered its doors. “People are left stranded,” Rizzi said. This week, Rizzi received a letter from the store, notifying her that the business has gone bankrupt as of Jan. 12. Furniture including a crib and a cradle, as well as clothing, cost Rizzi’s daughter Christine Intervallo $1,600 some three months ago. The letter instructs recipients not to file a proof of claim just yet. “If it later appears that assets are available to pay creditors, you will be sent another notice telling you that you may file a proof of claim,” the letter reads. The items were to be delivered this month, but have yet to arrive, prompting Rizzi to visit the store last week. But a sign on the store said it would be closed for inventory from Jan. 6-12. After that span, Rizzi said, she again returned to the store to check on her order, only to find the doors still closed. In October, M&B’s Staten Island store, located on Amboy Road in Eltingville, closed its doors and skipped out on its lease, according to a report. Customers visiting the Staten Island store were greeted with a sign posted on the building, informing them to go to the Avenue U store to get their merchandise—instructions which Rizzi learned, are bogus. The owner of the store, listed as John Giordano, could not be reached for comment at press time. A spokesperson for the Department of Consumer Affairs said no recent complaints have been logged regarding M&B. Rizzi said she and her daughter were attracted to the store because of its high-quality merchandise and long-standing presence on Avenue U. She chose the store precisely because it was not a large department store, and because its staff offered “personal service.” “Big stores don’t care if you buy or you don’t buy,” she said. “There wasn’t a thing they didn’t have, from carriages to furniture to clothing,” she said. “It’s a store that’s been here forever.” Rizzi said she certainly never expected to be left in the lurch by “a store of that caliber.” But it seems the reputation the store has built over the years has evaporated as swiftly as its doors were shuttered. Asked if she would go back if the store somehow reopens, Rizzi said, “I’d go back to try and get our money and try and get my furniture. After that I’d be quite skeptical.”

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