First we lost Fontana's. Now it looks like David's might be the next to vanish.
Yesterday I got an alarming email from a reader, who wrote: "David's Shoe Repair at 74 East 7th Street is closing this week after 28 years in business. Same old story: landlord wants to double the rent. Just walked in with a pair of shoes that needed fixing. He said I'd have to pick them up before the end of the week."
I've been worrying about David's for awhile now, but all is not (yet) lost.
Last night I went by to talk with the cobbler. From what I could understand, he's not sure what's happening with his lease, but he hopes to last until after the new year, perhaps until July, as long as he can sell and repair enough shoes to pay that new rent.
He needs your business, so go to David's. He even sells those trendy little Worishofer clogs, and recently I noticed he had some items from the Paris Hilton Footwear collection. Anything to stay alive.
Over the years, he has fixed many soles and heels for me. He has shined my shoes and replaced their laces. But he will only take a pair, never just one shoe. Try giving him just one shoe and he'll say, "I can't take one shoe! My wife will die!"
A cobbler's superstition, I guess.
David's shop goes back in time. It has the best Cat's Paw decal in the window. She looks like a 1940s girl, yellowed with age. While David's has been in this storefront for 28 years, it's been a shoe repair shop for much longer.
You can see the decal here too, back when David's was A. Brym's shoe repair shop. This photo is from the book The Lower East Side, by Edmund V. Gillon, Jr. I think it's from the 1960s:
After it was Brym's, it made a 1980s appearance in Moscow on the Hudson, its yellow sign printed partly in Cyrillic lettering. Not yet David's, but still a shoe repair shop.
Yes, that's an egg shop on the block. You can watch a movie of the shop and read about it here. And while we're talking about the recent wave of transformation on 7th Street (Addukkan and more), here's another vintage shot, this one from Brian Rose's fantastic Lower East Side Project:
This place is still a tailor/dry cleaners; though, like David's, it has changed hands and design elements many times over the years. Note in all these photos the tenement doorways with the decorated marble columns. They really knew how to make affordable housing back in the day. They also knew how to fix your shoes.