By arthur Z. schwartz
David’s Shoe and Watch Repair
460 Hudson Street
Photos by Arthur Z. Schwartz.
When you enter David’s Shoe and Watch Repair, you find yourself back in a long-ago era.
Several craftspeople working at small work areas. Shoes, clocks and watches are arrayed around the walls. There is a smell of shoe polish. David sits at his worktable, a sea of watches in front of him. On the front window is a small sign, “All prices are negotiable.” David is one of the few repairmen left in the city since smartphones took over the watch industry. David’s shop is like a time machine taking us back to the Manhattan of the 1900s.
David Solovyov was born in Uzbekistan. He is 78 years old. He went to engineering school and was in the Russian Army for three years, serving in Ukraine (which was then a republic within the Soviet Union). He eventually went to watch repair school at night, working and fixing sewing machines during the day. He immigrated to the United States in 1980 with three children and had another here. He came because “there were not many Jews left” and there was too much corruption.
In 1984 he opened his watch repair shop at 460 Hudson Street, just south of Barrow Street. He has no plan to retire, even at 79, and even though his rent is 8-10 times what it was in 1984. “I don’t want to stay home. I have more fun here. I like to talk to people.”
David’s business partner works mostly repairing leather goods.
David always rates five stars on Yelp reviews. One recent one stated, “These guys are fantastic. They are kind, professional and very fair. We need more of these old school and caring places in New York. They have always done great work for me and I look forward to giving them more business. And if you live in the West Village it’s great to support a truly local business.”