Fight for your right…to repair anything


The repair movement is catching up with reuse and recycling as a way to deal with our stuff. Photo by Maxim Selyuk on Unsplash

Do a quick online search for the “R’s of Sustainability” and you’ll find up to 14 terms. Beyond the ones we know by heart—Reduce, Reuse, Recycle—the word that’s gaining the most traction on both the grassroots and legislative level is “Repair.” 

For many of our household items, only the companies that create them have the right to repair them, often contributing to our throw-away culture rather than promoting reuse and repair. To rectify this, a Right to Repair bill has been introduced to the New York State Senate and currently sits with its Consumer Protection Committee. In the meantime, consumers have been taking matters into their own hands and curbing waste by teaching others to repair what they already own. 

The Fixers Collective hosts frequent Repair Cafe-style events to help you repair your electronic odds and ends. Photo: Fixers Collective

“Repair cafes” are popping up in the greater New York area, though many of them are upstate rather than the five boroughs. “Reuse is galloping along much faster than repair,” says Sandra Goldmark, founder of Fixup and Director of Sustainability and Climate Action at Barnard College. “Repair is harder, more complicated, and more expensive. Repair labor is often a higher skill than some reuse skill sets, but I certainly believe it’s a necessary component of a healthy relationship with our stuff.”

Goldmark founded Fixup as a pop-up repair shop where people could come get more obscure everyday objects fixed, from lamps to pottery. With a background in theater set design, she was alarmed by the amount of objects being thrown away rather than repurposed or fixed to be usable again.“I think of it as a fire hose,” she says. “The pressure of that fire hose is to sell more stuff. If retailers can begin to develop revenue streams from reuse, repair, etc. then maybe the pressure of the firehose will lessen, so the plain volume of things can ease.” While Fixup is currently on hiatus as Goldmark writes a book on repair and consumption, her next public speaking event is at the second annual Circular City Week, where Fixup will be hosting a hands-on workshop during the conference on March 19th. (Grab your free ticket here.)

The Fixers’ Collective is another pop-up repair service with sessions in Brooklyn and Manhattan. You can follow them on Facebook to stay on top of their upcoming events.

Remade in Brooklyn hosts free mending workshops every Monday and Wednesday and affordable sewing skills classes. Photo: Remade in Brooklyn

Clothes repair is another underutilized way to curb our clothing habit. The upcoming ReFashion Week, Feb. 22-28, spotlights mending workshops and repair opportunities across the city, like the free weekly mending workshops at Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Remakery on Mondays and Wednesdays. 

While Goldmark sees a lot of repair options for electronics and clothing, repair services for items like lamps, chairs, and coffee makers are a little more obscure. The 2019 NYC Reuse Sector statistics seem to confirm Goldmark’s thoughts. More than a quarter of reuse businesses and organizations in New York focus on electronics. 

So we’ve listed local small businesses where you can go to fix pretty much any household item, from shoes to bikes to vaccuum cleaners. It’s all in the name of treating what you already own with care and extending its life once it’s broken or worn down. Most of this list is based in Brooklyn but we highlighted a few services in other boroughs that stand out for their repair expertise. 

Appliance and Lighting Repair

Len’s Appliance
7th Ave., Brooklyn, NY
Border of Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge

Servue Appliance Co.
186 Seeley Street
Windsor Terrace

Cerini Coffee
2334 Arthur Avenue
Bronx, New York

Crown Sales and Services (for vacuum and sewing machine repairs) 
2792 Broadway
Upper West Side, Manhattan

Lamp Warehouse
1075 39th Street
Borough Park

Lamp Doctor
1975 Coney Island Avenue
Sheepshead Bay

Bike Repair

Roy’s Sheepshead Bicycle Shop
2675 Coney Island Ave
Sheepshead Bay

Bicycle Habitat (two locations)
476 5th Avenue
Park Slope


560 Vanderbilt Ave
Prospect Heights

Brooklyn Bike Peddler
636 Lorimer Street

Computer Repair

Computer Answers
455 Graham Avenue

MRK Computer Services
327 Rogers Avenue
Crown Heights

Shoe and Handbag Repairs

Michael’s Shoe Repair
319 Smith Street
Carroll Gardens

Master Shoemaker
1221 Foster Avenue

Yelena Shoe Repair
85 Nassau Ave

Cobbler Concierge
50 E 59th Street

104 Clinton Street
Brooklyn Heights


Object Custom Tailor
68 Bond Street
Downtown Brooklyn

Denim Therapy
28 W 44th St Lobby
New York, NY 10036

Atelier Victor
466 Court Street
Carroll Gardens

G.O. Hussey
832 Washington Ave
Prospect Heights


Barth-Tex Upholstery & Fabric
843 Mcdonald Ave

Meadowlands Decorating Service 
Based in New Jersey, but does pick-ups in New York

Watch and Jewelry Repair

Court Jeweler
60 Court Street
Brooklyn Heights

Hardware Stores with local recommendations

Tarzian Hardware
193 7th Avenue
Park Slope

Crest Hardware
558 Metropolitan Avenue

Have insights on repair culture in Brooklyn and beyond? Share your resources in the comments below! 

One Response

  1. Dominique Jeannot -

    I have had to replace a computer monitor, but have not thrown it out. I know it can be repaired. It would be great to connect with like minded people who can share information on just how to do that, among repairing other things I have not discarded.


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