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Angelo Fontana at work in his East Village shop. Photo via Jeremiah's Vanishing New York
One of our favorite shoe repair shops, the East Village's A. Fontana Shoe Repair, is profiled in the latest edition of The Villager. Unfortunately, the reason for the piece is that A. Fontana is going to close, a sad fact first brought to our attention by Jeremiah's Vanishing New York last week. The article reveals that the shop's lease is up this month, and that Fontana's landlord wants to raise rents again.
In his native Palermo, Italy, Fontana was a real artisan, making shoes by hand. When he came to the East Village in 1962, there was no market for handmade shoes, so he became the guy who repaired them...Fontana, 75, with sparse white hair, rimless glasses and leathery shoe polish-stained hands, isn’t ready to quit working. But his lease expires at the end of December, and the landlord wants to up the rent from an already-steep $4,000 a month from a raise just nine months ago to an unworkable $5,500 per month. So Fontana will be forced into “early” retirement, a prospect that he does not relish...Fontana will have to vacate at the end of February, after being granted a two-month reprieve, so he can alert his customers.The entire article's worth a read, but be warned: you will come away from it depressed.
· Worn down by rent woes, shoe store is getting boot [Villager]
· Discontinued: Fontana Shoe Repair [Racked]