They say all good things must come to an end.

My guy Carl Manco, along with his brother Anthony is closing shop at Sport Prospect.


Carl’s been at 362 7th avenue (between 10th and 11th street.) for the last 29 years. He’s been a great friend over this time.  He’s one of the best.

I first met Carl in the late 1970’s.  At the time I was in the 6th grade at Holy Name and Carl was running a basketball league down at St. Saviour high school.  My two good friends Frankie and Jimmy Cullen played in the league, so I’d go down with them whenever they had a game.

I sat courtside, alone on a folding chair, filled with envy wishing I could play.

In my early 20’s while unemployed (which was often), which was often, Carl hired me at Paragon Sporting Goods over in the city.  I didn’t have a very good work ethic at the time, nor was I fully committed to the philosophy of making a living.

My tenure at 18th street and Broadway didn’t last long; I quit after a week. That decision is one of many in my early days that I wish I could get a do over on; little did I realize at the time Carl had put his reputation on the line by bringing me in.

I felt that I had let him down.

For the past few years, each time I visit the neighborhood I make it a point to stop in the store and chat with him.

Here’s a link to DNAinfo on the closing.

“It’s sad, but it’s not a bad thing,” 64-year-old Manco said, meaning that the closure isn’t because of a rent increase. “It’s been 29 years and it’s retirement time.”

Good luck Carl. Thanks for your service and friendship over the years. They’re going to miss your T-Shirts.

Your friend,



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11 Responses to CLOSING TIME

  1. Al says:

    Current NYC Mayor’s home is right around the corner, on 11th street, between 6th and 7th avenues, though I believe he’s renting it out while he and his family are residing in Gracie Mansion. His home is directly across the street from where my first girlfriend lived. I believe the apartment Pete Hamill grew up in was on 7th avenue between 10th and 11th streets, or maybe on the other side of the old Ansonia Watch Factory (now co-ops). My mind reels with memories when I think of all the shops that I walked past so many times strolling along 7th ave., so many years ago. Going toward Prospect Ave., the butcher shop nearby, the pottery shop, Gil’s liquor store, Bodner’s grocery, Wong’s (?) laundry, the health station on 15th and 7th, Mr. Sanders shoe store next to Gil’s. There was a bar on 16th and 7th—can’t recall the name. My uncle owned a big toy store over on the corner of 3rd street and 7th back in the day. My girlfriend and I would make the walk up from 7th to the park so many times, strolling along PPW to BP Square, bypassing the perpetual party crowd and sweetly-scented air on Hippie Hill, turning into the park. We’d often make our way to the small rise overlooking the paddle boat lake—a lovely view from that spot—sit on the grass, talk, gaze at the stars and be otherwise engaged, on those warm, carefree summer evenings. Every one of those nights time stood still. The years passed. Time, life and obligations moved faster and faster, She got lost, we took different paths, and I learned Buddha’s First Noble Truth—the hard way.

  2. Al says:

    How could I forget? The shoe store next to Gil’s was Mr. Gutter’s not Mr. Sanders. And, there was another butcher shop near 14th and 7th, Scotty’s Deli on 16th and 7th, a bar on the corner 15th and 7th, diagonally across from a hardware store, and the estimable Benjamin J. Barkin Pharmacy across from that, on the southeast corner. An imposing apothecary with a short, rotund, impeccably dressed and distinguished-looking gentleman as its proprietor, it seemed out of place for what was then a safe but hardscrabble lower-middle-class neighborhood. Replete with a large, old-fashioned penny scale inside the front door, the interior was quite impressive, with mahogany paneling and shelves up to the ceiling. It had one of those rolling ladders along the shelving and I always enjoyed watching Mr. Barkin climbing it to get a jar (reminds me of a hilarious Abbott & Costello episode, but that’s another story). My mom would often send me there to get prescriptions and non-prescription remedies, such as cola syrup. I recall a day, while waiting for a prescription, when a man hurriedly and nervously walked in with a hat covering his crotch. He partially entered the entryway to the back of the counter and, in hushed but audible tones, explained to Mr. Barkin that his “…ball sac skin…caught in my zipper.” I then noticed a little blood on one of his hands, when he moved it to show the pharmacist. So, I suppose Mr. Barkin was in every respect an old-fashioned pharmacist, handling minor medical emergencies he may not have been trained for but probably felt obligated to assume. Made some trips to Ballard pharmacy and, of course, made some to Neergaard’s on 9th street and 5th avenue, as I’m sure every one of us did, as it was one of the few 24 hour drug stores in the entire city. They even boasted, at one time, that they were a “compounding pharmacy.” I recall reading in a Hamill article that there was a small movie theater on 14th and 7th, before my time. My dad used to tell me about the trolleys that travelled along PPW back when and the trolley barns where Bishop Ford was built. The dad of a classmate of mine was the main caretaker in Greenwood Cemetery back when and he told me of the fun times he and his friends had when they played and rambled through the bucolic grounds.

    Well, guess I’ve been in a reminiscing mode here. I suppose I needed it after three months of stress and deadlines helping my son applying to 18 colleges, proofreading his 57 essays (ranging from 250 to 1500 words each), and doing the never-ending and frustrating due diligence on each and every school and many more he didn’t apply to. There are generalities that the college application books are good at advising you on, but the holy hell comes when you dig in to the dirty details of each specific college, where much info is often hidden in obscure web pages or not listed at all, entailing many calls to admission offices. Probably THE most complicated process I’ve ever done!

    • Steve says:

      Good stuff Al…

    • H says:

      Al, the small movie theater on corner of 14th street and 7th avenue was the Minerva.

      I remember it would close every so often because someone would toss a homemade tear gas bomb into the theater. The owners would shut it down and open up all the exits doors for a week or so to air it out.

      They always reopened to soon and you could count on having a burning sensation in your eyes for a couple of days if you were foolish enough to buy a ticket until a month or so after a reopen.

  3. Maureen Rice (Flanagan) says:

    I am so sorry to read this..I buy a lot of shirts from him…I always joke that I am starting a Brooklyn enclave down in New Orleans..I buy for babies, toddlers, I have even outfitted my friend Big Sam and his Funky Nation for when they played the Brooklyn Bowl…:)

  4. Maureen Rice (Flanagan) says: your title for this blog…the drummer from Semisonic, Jake, lives on PPSW..I met him years ago when our office was on 7th Ave, there was a bookstore next door and Jake was friendly with the guys who worked there..he wrote a book called “So You Wanna Be A Rock and Roll Star”..which is all about what happened to a small local band when they had a monster hit…from the drummer’s perspective (i.e. low man on the totem poll)…it’s a great book and you don’t even have to be a fan of the band or the had a lot of laughs in it..if anyone is looking for reading material, check it out…Jacob Slichter…

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