Thursday, May 18, 2023

This East Village resident is bringing a classic 82-year-old radio back to broadcasting life

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy 

I first stumbled across the radio — Zenith Radio Corp. 1941 Model 10-H-573 — in the old Babel Hookah and Lounge spot on Avenue C near Eighth Street, where superintendent Joey Oskowitz had stored it after rescuing it from the street several years prior. 

Joey was looking for someone who loved old radios (and this early 1940s era model indeed counted!) to take it off his hands. After EVG published this story last month about the radio needing a new home, several suitors, including Pete Margolis of the nearby Pete's Amp Shop, stepped forward. 

Pete and Joey met, and they agreed on a price... Pete then took the radio to his shop for restoration.
To repair the Zenith, he needed to source a new dial belt, a replacement cord, 50 new capacitors, and a new power supply. Pete fixed the circuits, cleaned the unit, and rearranged the tubes (a few were in the wrong spot).
Pete, originally from Connecticut, moved to the East Village 42 years ago. Pete, a musician himself, has been on Eighth Street between Avenue C and Avenue D for more than 20 years. He's got an amp repair workshop inside the unit that he shares with his girlfriend, Francine. 

During the repair process, he heard from LUNGS founder and president Charles Krezell, who told him that he was the previous owner of the piece, and later confirmed to me that he'd had the working radio in his apartment on Eighth Street from 1991 to 2015. 

When he moved, there wasn't any room for the radio cabinet, so he put it on the street, where, presumably, Joey found it.
So far, Pete has gotten the AM stations to work ...  and since there's no real FM in the dial, it's pretty much in working order. You can even pick up some local (New Jersey!) police scanner stations. 

Next, he's considering doing some restoration work on the cabinet, and it may be available for sale once it's completed to his satisfaction. 

Here, Pete provides a radio tour... don't touch that dial!

 

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful piece of history. Too bad Radio Shack isn’t around for parts anymore.

Anonymous said...

Outstanding Pete!! đź‘Ť

Anonymous said...

Too bad Radio Row does not exist! A tinkerer's paradise!

Anonymous said...

Now if we only had a good rock n roll radio station in New York…

Anonymous said...

What a compelling story!! This is the kind of story one could only find on EV Grieve.
Thank you for existing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Ms. Joy for the article - Pete sure is a master craftsman few and far between - Great work !!

Anonymous said...

Great article. Anyone who has one of the old school tube radios, particularly a large one like that are in luck. Always worth restoring since the sound is the best.

José Garcia said...

Anonymous May 18, 2023 at 9:16 AM or what what that place over in Chelsea? Advisory Radio? Advisory TV. I took a clock radio in for repair there sometime in the late 80s. Unimaginable today.

Anonymous said...

Pete's the best

Anonymous said...

This is the best story on this blog that I've read in a long time. Love it.

Anonymous said...

Very kewl, Pete!

BE said...

This is awesome. EV Love.

Anonymous said...

How many songs does it hold?

Curious said...

Beautiful but also kind of creepy. Would make a great Twilight Zone episode. What if the radio only broadcast the past?

Anonymous said...

82 years old! Imagining a family listening to it for the latest World War II news .. maybe with some of their own family members fighting in Europe or the Pacific.

Anonymous said...

I love everything about this story from top to bottom.

Anonymous said...

Loved this article. Cool story and photos. And great to let people know about Pete's Amp Shop – yet another treasure in the East Village.

Anonymous said...

Great article and a great save! A few years ago saw a fellow at the Long Beach (CA) antique swap meet with a number of these consoles. He put a (bluetooth?) device in the cabinet so you could play old time radio shows from your phone or other device and use the radios output! What a great way to hear "Suspense" or "The Great Gildersleeve."!!

Thomas Maguire said...

Glad to hear there is a repair shop in lower Manhattan that has survived the latest wave of gentrification! With the demise of Radio Row, Canal ST, 17th ST, 45th ST and 48th ST as entertainment, electronic and music centers, it is hard to keep doing it here.