Friday, October 27, 2017

Argo Electronics

VANISHED

After close to four decades, Argo Electronics on Canal Street has closed. Tribeca Citizen shared the news today, writing, "I’d have to wager that the building—and the one(s) to the west—aren’t long for this world."


photos from 2015

Argo was a beautiful little remnant of old Canal, its wares organized in cardboard boxes spilling out to the sidewalk, a cacophony of useful junk and stuff.



Power cords. Extension cords. Remote controls. Rolls of duct tape. Rolls of masking tape.



Motherboards. Keyboards. Key chains. Coffee pots. Flip flops. Watch bands.



I never got the chance to go inside, but I always liked the look of the place and photographed it each time I went by, mostly because it had that look.

You know the look. The one that says: I won't last much longer in this new New York.

For videos of the inside, visit Tribeca Citizen.





11 comments:

Downtowner said...

A lot of other empty stores on Canal - I wonder how much longer the knock-off trade will last there.

archibaldjleach said...

I shopped in Argo for decades. Bought more stuff I never needed, and some that I did. If you watch the video, the black guy's name is Eddie. He's worked in that store for probably 40+ years. I moved out of the city almost 7 years ago, but spent a good part of my life on Radio Row, then Canal St and whereever the surplus shops were cast to.

Fare Thee Well Argo and Eddie......... Good luck to all you folks and thanks for the entertainment !

OneL said...

My dad first took me to Canal Street in the early 1960s, when the stores there had started selling lucite in addition to surplus electronics (I needed a lucite something or other for a school science project). Also just off Canal Street was the office of Henry C. Roberts, the Nostradamus interpreter. Robert's early 60s interpretation of Nostradamus had Henry Cabot Lodge being elected President of the US.

John K said...

The pace of gentrification along Canal Street and throughout Chinatown is dizzying. So many old-time stores and people are getting displaced so that NYC can have yet another whitened, hipster "art district" neighborhood. Argo was a little (messy) treasure.

BTW, did you see the Guardian UK article about how Chinatown residents affiliated with the Chinatown Artists Brigade (CAB) are protesting artist Omer Fast's "poverty porn" exhibit in James Cohan Gallery, which set up a fake Chinatown storefront as an art installation?

This quote reminded me of the work you've been doing on this site for years: "More than a hundred art galleries have opened in Chinatown over the past 10 years and are pushing out the locals. 'We’ve mapped 40 new art galleries over the past two years and it’s accelerating,' said Yu. 'Galleries are part of the system of gentrification.'”

Donnie Moder said...

Downtown has disappeared. Downtown is now Midtown2.

Jeff said...

Too bad. I loved all the weird, old surplus places and the fantastic hardware stores. I'm scared for the safety of those little historical buildings now.

BROOKSC said...


I CLYDE BROOKS @ND MY FRIEND MATT THOMAS SHOPPED AT ARGO FROM DAY 1, FOR THOSE GREAT ODDS & ENDS THAT
HAD THE BEST PRICES EVER, FOR VIDEO@ AUDIO LOCK IN"S, THEY WERE THE MOTOWN HIT OF CANAL ST. WE AWAIT
YOUR NEW OPENING.
UNTIL CLYDE BROOKS

Caleo said...

Chinatown is the last holdout, the last "real" ethnic neighborhood in a city that has radically transformed over the last 30 years that I have lived here.
I still take long walks through Chinatown on a regular basis, hoping the immigrant community was large enough, and the ethnic solidarity strong enough, to hold out against the gentrification tsunami.
No such luck.
I can see the changes, small for now, taking place. If the Guardian article is correct, and over a hundred galleries have opened in the past 10 years, 40 of them in the last 2 years alone, then the end is near. The same gallery invasion hit SOHO, then Chelsea, then the Lower East Side, and now Chinatown.
The worst part is that the artists and patrons associated with these galleries appear to be blithely unaware of their part in this disruption.
I can guarantee that the artists and patrons are all card carrying "progressives" who loudly support every leftist cause with great, apparent passion, and yet take part in the obvious destruction of NYC's last great ethnic enclave.

was said...

Am i the only one finding the irony in "I never went inside" while mournfully lamenting its passing ?

Mitch Golden said...

Wow, that is a bummer. I loved Argo electronics. It wasn't easy to find what you wanted there. The bins were a mess and the piles were everywhere. But I have a resistor of every value and I got them all by digging through there.

As for irony: no, I don't see a problem of bemoaning the loss of a place I never went inside. I would be bummed if I saw a dance studio replaced by a Starbucks, even though I never dance but (very occasionally) do go to Starbucks. I bemoan on behalf of the people do dance and who loved the place - just as Jeremiah understands what it means to me.

Mitch Golden said...

Wow, there's a comment on the Tribeca Citizen article from the owner that explains why he closed the place, and it's not one of the usual reasons. It's about a regulation that requires him to report the sale of electronic components to the police.

https://tribecacitizen.com/2017/10/27/argo-electronics-has-closed/#comment-113052