Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Nusraty Afghan Imports

$45,000 per month. That's how much Mr. Nusraty's landlord wants after 30 years of doing business on the corner of Bleecker and 10th. And that's why Mr. Abdul Nusraty is closing his doors as of the first week of August. A WestView newspaper clipping in his window states that the rent has gone from $3250 to $7500 a month, and then to an "unprecedented six-fold increase" of $550 per square foot for less than 900 square feet of space.

I spoke to Mr. Nusraty today and he told me, "I do it for the pleasure, not to make a million dollars. This doesn't make me rich." A customer was there when I went in and Mr. Nusraty was polishing a ring for him. "It's his grandfather's ring," Mr. Nusraty said after, "It was broken. I sent it to be fixed in Brooklyn. I charged the kid 10 dollars. Nothing. I make nothing from this. But he is happy."

I told Mr. Nusraty that Brooks Brothers will be moving in to his space. "Brooks Brother?" he scoffed, "Junk." The whole city, he said, is turning into junk.

Until August, he will be having a moving sale, at 25% - 50% off. Though he doesn't know where his shop will be moving to, he hopes to stay in the Village. I hope so too.


L'Emmerdeur said...

"The whole city, he said, is turning into junk".

That about sums it up.

Anonymous said...

I will miss him.

Anonymous said...

How the culture has changed.

I remember walking in to his store in the 70s and non-chalantly and seriously asking him if he had any Afghani hash connections (possibly smuggled in the rugs).

He replied 'no' but he did give me a number of a friend who might, which I never called.

Anonymous said...

re anon how culture has changed--
maybe he gave you a phone number for the police--assuming you never checked it out--you will never know,huh?

Anonymous said...

This is one of my favorite places in the city. I affectionately call it the "Indiana Jones" store. The moment you'd step through the door, you'd enter another time, another place. The smell of incense would hang in the air, a big lazy cat would be there lying on the rug...I could spend hours there tinkering and noodling through the store, and as many questions as I'd ask Mr. Nusraty, he'd patiently answer. I'll miss it greatly.

Anonymous said...

You'll be happy to learn, if you haven't already found out, that Mr. Nusraty is back in the Village, on West 10th Street just behind the Library. I was so happy to find him!

The store is smaller and not as fascinatingly untidy as the old place, but still a delight. It is at the location of the former Common Ground, another of my favorite Village shops. Any idea of what happened to that place? The store on 16th Street is gone, too.