Jim's Shoe Repair faces the boot after 82 years in Midtown - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Jim's Shoe Repair faces the boot after 82 years in Midtown

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

From their storefront on East 59th Street between Park Avenue and Madison Avenue, the Rocco family doles out shiny shoes, new soles and the kind of personalized customer service corporate boots largely stamped out long ago.

"It's a family-operated business," said Jim Rocco, 83, "and it's three generations here."

Four generations if you include Jim's late father, who emigrated to New York from Italy and opened Jim's Shoe Repair in 1932. After the war, his three sons returned to work in his shop, where we still find Jim -- the youngest of those three boys -- but also Jim's 55-year-old son, Joseph, and Joseph's 24-year-old son, Andrew.

"I've been coming here since I was a little kid," Andrew said. "They used to bring me in the summers. I would work the register, ever since I was 5 or 6 years old."

"We've been here since 1932," Jim said. "And we intend to stay here, but we'll see."

Rising rents, a landlord looking to make money and the corporation next door threaten to end the Roccos' 82 years of sole-healing and hide-polishing from the 59th Street workshop time's left nearly unchanged since its founder shined his first shoe there during the Hoover administration.

"It's the old, vintage look," Joseph said of the store. "It reminds us of the history of New York City. The way it was."

The way it was when you knew your butcher, your barber and the guy who shined your shoes. And they knew you. If Jim's gets the boot, its customers say they'll miss that level of service.

"This interior is a beautiful example of mid-century modern," one woman said. "It should be landmarked and saved."

Ed Sullivan knew where he wanted to get his oxfords and loafers polished. He came to Jim's. And now, so too does a new generation of those who take pride in what they put on their feet.

"I come here at least twice a week," customer Sara Armet said. "And in the past five years, I've had 30 to 40 shoes repaired, rubbers put on the bottom and I always come for my shoe shine with Mario."

The Roccos started a petition and hired lawyers to help them remain in their current space. But should that fail and the shop disappear, one can forget just filling Jim's' shoes. Who else can provide the same experience while shining them?

"This is my life," Jim said of his store.

We reached out to the Roccos' landlord and Duane Reade for comment. Duane Reade said it was looking into the matter.

  • Manhattan NewsManhattan NewsMore>>

  • The Big Idea

    Making New York City more energy efficient

    Making New York City more energy efficient

    Friday, July 25 2014 12:32 PM EDT2014-07-25 16:32:18 GMT
    More than half the population of New York City rides public transportation to work. No other metropolis in this country even approaches that percentage or the MTA's total number of riders. For that reason, New York likely ranks as the most energy-efficient city in the nation. But what would it take to make the city even more energy-efficient or even self-sufficient?
    More than half the population of New York City rides public transportation to work. No other metropolis in this country even approaches that percentage or the MTA's total number of riders. For that reason, New York likely ranks as the most energy-efficient city in the nation. But what would it take to make the city even more energy-efficient or even self-sufficient?
  • Outdoor basketball courts losing popularity

    Outdoor basketball courts losing popularity

    Friday, July 25 2014 8:35 AM EDT2014-07-25 12:35:16 GMT
    Believe it or not this, some say New York's outdoor basketball courts are a dying entity. Even Rucker Park in Harlem -- where Dr. J and countless others honed their skills -- used to be standing room only all times of the day. Now there's plenty of room to stand on most days.Basketball programs like one at Chelsea Piers are gaining popularity. That means the place to hoop it up for many appears to be indoors.
    Believe it or not this, some say New York's outdoor basketball courts are a dying entity. Even Rucker Park in Harlem -- where Dr. J and countless others honed their skills -- used to be standing room only all times of the day. Now there's plenty of room to stand on most days.Basketball programs like one at Chelsea Piers are gaining popularity. That means the place to hoop it up for many appears to be indoors.
  • Manhattan nursery school uses sanitizing machine to keep air clean

    Manhattan nursery school uses sanitizing machine to keep air clean

    Friday, July 25 2014 7:50 AM EDT2014-07-25 11:50:43 GMT
    All of us feel the same way about "cooties": Eww. At the Goddard School on the Upper West Side, a high-tech machine is keeping "cooties" out of the classroom. "This is the latest and then most effective sanitization method available today," says Bill Swan, the owner of the Goddard School. He purchased the ZONO Sanitech for his school about six months ago. The machine is the size of a double refrigerator and uses oxygen to kill viruses and bacteria.
    All of us feel the same way about "cooties": Eww. At the Goddard School on the Upper West Side, a high-tech machine is keeping "cooties" out of the classroom. "This is the latest and then most effective sanitization method available today," says Bill Swan, the owner of the Goddard School. He purchased the ZONO Sanitech for his school about six months ago. The machine is the size of a double refrigerator and uses oxygen to kill viruses and bacteria.
Powered by WorldNow

KTTV FOX 11
1999 S. Bundy Dr.
Los Angeles CA 90025

Main: (310) 584-2000
News Tips? (310) 584-2025

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices