Volume 17 • Issue 11 / August 06 - 12, 2004



Downtown Express photo by Elisabeth Robert

Frankie Astarita outside his now-closed auto shop.

Tribeca shop closes after 50 years

Before Tribeca was Tribeca, the Astarita family was repairing cars in the neighborhood and now 50 years later, G & G Auto and Truck Repair has done their last Downtown lube job.

G & G’s owner, Frankie Astarita, was behind on his rent and the Greenwich St. store closed last week. He is working out of his shop in Long Island City.

With soaring Tribeca real estate values, he doubts whether he will be able to return to Manhattan. “Those days are gone,” he said. “There’s no room for businesses like mine. It’s very uppity.”

His grandfather and uncle, George Astarita and George Astarita, Jr., opened the store on Franklin St. around 1953 – Frankie wasn’t certain of the precise year. A few years later, they moved to 166 Laight St., and then in the 1960s to 277 West St. In 1982 the Astaritas sold the building to the Ponte family and paid rent on West St. until the end of 2001, when they moved to 440 Greenwich St., another Ponte property.

Frankie said the business was hurt by 9/11 and the old days of handshake agreements with the Pontes were over. He said this year he offered them a good part of the money he owed, but the family seemed more intent on clearing the space for a new use. The Pontes have leased a site they own across the street to a developer who is planning to build a residentail building.

—Josh Rogers



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