Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Charlie And His Little Shop Of Miniatures Closed
Another and more recent victim of the gentrification process was Charlie Elkiam. For the last 18 years Charlie had a small shop which sold miniatures at 234 Mulberry Street and as of May, 2005, he announced that he was running a 50% off sale and was closing. It was there that Alison, my daughter, bought her first ceramic dogs imported all the way from England and other European countries. He had an enormous number of glass animals and cast metal soldiers and whole casts of opera characters, all in miniature. He and his wife sold earrings which they made on the premises. It was a pitiful sight to see old Charlie and his wife pack up their small cartons because the store was their life. In the window a sign read, “ Fixtures for Sale.” Charlie and his wife had been around Manhattan for about 45 years. Charlie was very bitter when he had to close because of the rising rents. The store was his whole life and just like that it was over. I bought a miniature Bette Boop figure from him, photographed it and made it into a photo grid and an 8” X 10” print. Not a day after Charlie closed, another tenant was having the place rehabbed. It is now another cute boutique.