Fight for your right…to repair anything

By

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
718-859-6363

Cerini Coffee
2334 Arthur Avenue
Bronx, New York
718-584-3449

Crown Sales and Services (for vacuum and sewing machine repairs) 
2792 Broadway
Upper West Side, Manhattan
212-663-8968

Lamp Warehouse
1075 39th Street
Borough Park
718-436-8500

Lamp Doctor
1975 Coney Island Avenue
Sheepshead Bay
718-627-0448

Bike Repair

Roy’s Sheepshead Bicycle Shop
2675 Coney Island Ave
Sheepshead Bay
718-648-1440

Bicycle Habitat (two locations)
476 5th Avenue
Park Slope
718-788-2543

and

560 Vanderbilt Ave
Prospect Heights
718-783-3609

Brooklyn Bike Peddler
636 Lorimer Street
Williamsburg
347-799-2014

Computer Repair

Computer Answers
455 Graham Avenue
Williamsburg
866-488-2806

MRK Computer Services
327 Rogers Avenue
Crown Heights
800-595-3564

Shoe and Handbag Repairs

Michael’s Shoe Repair
319 Smith Street
Carroll Gardens
718-243-0288

Master Shoemaker
1221 Foster Avenue
Midwood
718-421-2421

Yelena Shoe Repair
85 Nassau Ave
Greenpoint
718-302-1969

Cobbler Concierge
50 E 59th Street
Manhattan
800-694-2181

Azurro
104 Clinton Street
Brooklyn Heights
718-797-0066

Tailors

Object Custom Tailor
68 Bond Street
Downtown Brooklyn
718-596-2086

Denim Therapy
28 W 44th St Lobby
New York, NY 10036
347-935-0089

Atelier Victor
466 Court Street
Carroll Gardens
718-855-3600

G.O. Hussey
832 Washington Ave
Prospect Heights
718-622-6223

Upholsterers

Barth-Tex Upholstery & Fabric
843 Mcdonald Ave
Kensington
718-853-7253

Meadowlands Decorating Service 
201-896-4800
Based in New Jersey, but does pick-ups in New York

Watch and Jewelry Repair

Court Jeweler
60 Court Street
Brooklyn Heights
718-834-8940

Hardware Stores with local recommendations

Tarzian Hardware
193 7th Avenue
Park Slope
718-788-4120

Crest Hardware
558 Metropolitan Avenue
Williamsburg
718-388-9521

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

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)