Image source: DNAinfo
One of the great things about NYC is that cobblers are commonplace; people still fix their shoes, at least the ones that can be fixed (there are a good portion of poorly made shoes out there that are more disposable). Many cobblers have been practicing their craft for decades, so when we hear about one retiring it really does feel like the end of an era. Enter Domenico Falco of Falco’s Shoe Repair, who’s been at it fo 45 years. According to DNAinfo, he’s retiring because of health reasons (he underwent triple-bypass heart surgery four months ago); it it weren’t for that, he’s still be at it, as he thinks retirement is boring.
Back in 1965 – the year of the the Immigration and Nationality Act that brought a lot of new immigrants to this country – Falco immigrated from Naples and bought his shop three years later. He has seen a change in how people buy and take care of their shoes, many opting for the more poorly made footwear, but there are people who would prefer to go to a cobbler from time to time than constantly buy new shoes of lesser quality (including the author of this post).
One of the challenges Falco is facing now is how to offload all his century old machinery that stretches and buffs shoes, among other things. Tony Meloni, a Community Board 1 member, is helping him find a home for the machines.