Louis Mattia ran a lamp repair shop on 2nd Avenue off East 52nd Street from 1960 to 1995. His impressive aqua green sidewalk sign, with gold serif lettering and PL(aza) phone number, is still there. The situation reflects the high real estate costs as the owner is content to let the storefront sit empty for over 7 years rather than lower the rent amount.
Back in 2011 Vanishing New York had a piece about Louis Mattia; it’s amazing that I was stumbling up 2nd Avenue, near delirious from the humidity, when there it was — still there, at least since 2011.
From the NY Times piece linked in VNY:
Metal is the firm’s specialty. It does brazing, soldering and polishing on brass, chrome, silver, bronze and steel. ”If metal comes in detached or broken, we can repair it,” he said.
Lamp mounting is also performed here. Mr. Mattia has made lamps out of standard items like Chinese ginger jars, but he also makes them out of the unusual: a bunch of plastic grapes, fire extinguishers and even human skulls. ”A doctor wanted a lamp with a skull on it,” he said.
Perhaps Mr. Mattia’s finest handiwork can be seen in his restoration and alteration work. In his workroom he was enlarging a bronze chandelier measuring 24 inches in diameter; his client wanted it extended by six inches. ”I stretched it out,” he said, by adding sections to the arms.
Mattia passed away in 2004, but his sign is still there till someone is foolish enough to ante up an astronimical sum.
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