Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Jovino's Gun

What happened to the wooden revolver hanging off the sign of John Jovino's in Little Italy? (See my update here on the fate of the sign--and the closing of the shop.)

It was there and now it's gone. Maybe they put it away for safekeeping during the coronavirus shutdown?

Jovino's has been in business since 1911 and used to be around the corner on Centre Market Place, before the block was luxurified by the Novogratz family. (I wrote all about it here.)

I don't know how old this particular Jovino gun is, but an earlier version of it shows up in a photo by the great crime photographer Weegee, who lived in a one-room apartment above the shop from the mid-1930s until 1947.


The gun also made an appearance in the 1973 Al Pacino movie Serpico. It makes for a very photogenic antique sign and I hope it returns.


Frank Lynch said...

It was a popular, early submission to the Flickr "Guess Where New York" group.

jayfitzgerald said...

It was gone before the Coronavirus. I noticed it gone mid-February. Don't know how long before that it was gone. I miss it.

Blackthorn D. Stick said...

Judging by the two pictures, it looks like the Gun might have fallen down at some point over the years as the the trigger and most of the trigger guard are gone. Possibly sent out for restoration?

Or maybe pressure from the neighborhood about having a "Gun" hanging outside in the open no longer fit the local political Demographic.

Bit by bit, the NYC I grew up in (lets just say I'm in my 6th decade of life) slipping away.

Brian D’Amico said...

It was in Mean Streets too, also 1973.

Laura L said...

By chance, I passed by Jovino yesterday afternoon around 4:15pm. Several people were clearing the shop out, and almost done. The man who was the owner, a Chinese American, told me he sold the gun from the sign a while ago, and now he was closing this 110-year-old business. I said, I know! You were on Centre Market Street before for decades.
When that building was sold (I remember that it was maybe 10-15 years ago), the shop moved to Grand Street. "This is my memorial," he said. "Finished." He pointed out two other guys and said the shop was the three of them. I spoke also with a woman who I believe was his wife; if I understood correctly, she said they've been closed 3 months now but the landlord still wants the rent--she too said, "110-year-old business, finished." She said the federal government can't agree with the state and the state can't agree with the city... they want no more gun store in the city. Finished.

--Laura L

bgfa said...

The gun was purchased by the artist David Buckingham from the store owner earlier this year. The Jovino facebook page has a post by Buckingham explaining the background of the sale and photos of the removal. He plans to restore it.

He's a metal artist who also makes large scale gun sculptures (among other works) and is also a prolific street artist in Los Angeles, with a deep background in NYC as well.

never said...

weegee lived around the corner from there (behind the police building), and not above the gun shop. exact address i don't remember but it is in the recent biography on him.
ps dont try to look for his building, which i did a few years back. it's been replaced by some horrid looking contemporary thing.