Saturday, December 29, 2007

East Village continues to lose its "sole"

OK, this has nothing to do with Sophie's necessarily, but stories like this are occurring all-too-often as the East Village continues to attract more Duane Reades, bank branches, soulless, overpriced condos and co-ops, and trust-funded douchebags. On the wan: community spirit, a sense of a neighborhood, which Sophie's and Mona's supplies.

The Villager has the story this week on 75-year-old Angelo Fontana who has been repairing shoes in the East Village for 40 years. His shoe repair shop is at 159 Second Avenue at the southwest bend of Stuyvesant Street.

As the paper sadly reports:

But his lease expires at the end of December, and the landlord wants to up the rent from an already-steep $4,000 a month from a raise just nine months ago to an unworkable $5,500 per month. So Fontana will be forced into “early” retirement, a prospect that he does not relish.
“I would like to stay another 10 years, well maybe five years,” he stated. “I’m used to working all my life. I don’t want to stop now. I don’t know what I’ll do. I’m not the kind of person who sits and watches TV all day. I like to be active,” he said.
If he could, he would find another shop in the area because he loves the neighborhood, but rents everywhere are sky-high.
“Soon there won’t be any professionals left,” he predicted. “No more shoemakers, tailors — all gone. People now don’t know nothing,” he declared.

1 comment:

Reverend Billy said...

Yes, Angelo is a special soul. Suddenly you realize that the little white-haired man is always there by the window bowed over a shoe. Today I watched him put on his raincoat and walk outside and he is alive, poised, amused, walking up to the corner taking everything in. We're gonna go sing to him tomorrow at noon. -Rev Blly