clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Family-Owned Shoe Repair Shop Wins Fight Against Duane Reade

Curbed NY
Curbed NY

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

After a long battle with Duane Reade, legendary cobbler Jim's Shoe Repair announced that it has signed a new lease to stay at 50 East 59th Street, its home of 75 years. The news comes mere weeks before the shop would have been evicted by its landlord so that the Duane Reade next door could build a 1,000-square-foot expansion.

"Words cannot describe what it means for a small business like ours to defy the odds and be able to stay in the location we've called home for over 70 years," said Joseph Rocco, Jr., the current manager and grandson of founder Vito Rocco (who named the shop Jim's because "he believed an American-sounding name would be good for business.")

Over the past year, the cobbler's future seemed increasingly bleak—a vie for landmark status was denied by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, after which Jim's Shoe Repair filed a petition with the Manhattan Supreme Court. The original lease was set to run out September 30th, though Jim's Shoe Repair has remained open in the months since.


The press release didn't contain specifics on the negotiations, but a Racked tipster reports that the new lease is set for the next nine years—we've reached out for comment and will update when we hear back.

To mark the occasion, Jim's Shoe Repair hosted an in-store celebration this afternoon to thank its supporters. And as if you needed another reason to go, the shop still boasts its original gold cash register (even though it only goes up to $9.99) and antique wooden compartments.

"This is a storybook ending for our customers and a business that runs in our blood," said Andrew Rocco, store apprentice and great-grandson of Vito. "It feels like we are part of something larger here, giving hope to small businesses in this community and throughout all of New York City. We have achieved the impossible."

Jim's Shoe Repair

50 E 59th St, New York, NY 10022 (212) 355-8259 Visit Website