Village Survivors & New Kids on the Block
Survivor Who Needs Our Help
David’s Shoe & Watch Repair
460 Hudson Street (corner of Barrow)
Text and photos by Arthur Z. Schwartz
Back in May we wrote about David’s Shoe & Watch Repair, a place where 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 repairpersons 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 79 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.
In 1984—39 years ago—he opened his watch repair shop at 460 Hudson Street, just south of Barrow Street. His rent has increased 8-10 fold, but he labored on. He is now 79. During the pandemic, his store was closed for six months, and then slowly limped back into business. But unlike many store owners who just threw in the towel, David paid partial rent every month until, when business fully returned, he resumed paying his full $4,5oo/month rent. And he had a plan to have his son, who he trained, take over his business.
But last month his greedy, unappreciative landlord sued him for $52,000 in back rent and has asked a court to evict him. And even if his lawyer (yours truly) can get the landlord to settle, his lease expires next summer, and he thinks his landlord will double the rent.
David’s is one of the few real neighborhood businesses left in our community.
I am calling on folks to write to the landlord, Florence Zager, of ZH Control Co. at 18 E 12th St Apt 1C, New York, NY 10003. Or better yet, call at 212-807-0600.
ZH Control had $1.7 million in revenue last year. They should let this servant of our community stay in place!
New Kids on the Block
Bagel battle averted!
Store name brouhaha could have cost a lot of dough
BY ALEC PRUCHNICKI
A potential legal war over a business trade name apparently has been averted. It’s lucky for the parties involved because it could have been “schmear war”—a messy “schmear campaign.”
Hudson Bagel is a store that started on Hudson Street, moved to Christopher Street years ago, survived COVID, and is doing business today. A few weeks ago, another bagel shop called Hudson Bagels was set to open at the northwest corner of Hudson and Charles Streets. According to one of the staff at the original Hudson Bagel, it had no connection to the new place and the addition of the letter “s” at the end of the latter’s name did not seem like enough to distinguish the two stores once the phone orders started coming in.
Somehow, this potential conflict got back to the new store owners and the canopy has been changed to read Sofia’s Bagels. Although legal battles over business names can generate a lot of publicity for both combatants, the cost and energy to engage in a long legal fight can be too significant to make it worthwhile.
It has been a while since the city has seen a good legal fight of this type, such as the great pizza conflicts of the past (Ray’s, Joe’s, Patsy’s, Prince Street Pizza pepperoni slice recipe, etc.) but it looks like this case will not carry on that tradition. There will be peace in our time, at least for now.