New York Daily Photo Analytics

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pork and Power

When I was in high school, I was steeped in things which were perhaps considered nerdy - the math club, chess club, German club, and the classic game Wff'n Proof. I associated with friends of like mind, but I also had a friend who was very mechanically inclined and was pursuing trade school. He brought a mechanical mind to our relationship, which always gave me profound appreciation for craftsmanship and a good mechanic. There is often tremendous ingenuity and creativity in people like this, which often goes unseen and unappreciated by outsiders.
My friend had motorcycles. And a friend.

This friend, however, was large, fair to say quite obese. His presence was very imposing. I spent no time with him at all - his world was much more singular and focused. I knew he would also be going to trade school, so, knowing nothing about that world and stretching a bit for conversation on my introduction, I asked what his "major" would be. He answered with only one word: Power.

I ponder the meaning of that to this day - I assume he meant Power Mechanics. But somehow the very nature of the subject begs for one word, and I will always remember the power of his answer.

Many of the best shops in New York City are equally well focused, managed by people who have a narrow niche and do it superbly well. Frequently they are family owned, often multigenerational. At their best, you can not compete with them. I have written here of many of them - places like Rafetto, Eileen's Cheesecake, Economy Candy, Faerman's Cash Register, McNulty's, Vesuvio (now gone), the Doughnut Plant or Cones. But as consumers, we are eating, not competing, and we are the winners in any wars or contests.

Faicco's Italian Specialties at 260 Bleecker Street (previously Faicco's Pork Store) has been a landmark in Greenwich Village for over 100 years. This block, Bleecker Street between 6th and 7th Avenues, is a smorgasbord of great, legendary and iconic shops. Faicco's was opened in 1900 on Thompson Street by Edward Faicco. In 1940, the shop moved to its current location on Bleecker Street. The current owner is Eddie Faicco, the great-grandson of the original owner. They have no website or menu online, but review sites praise it to no end, so if you are looking for a butcher or Italian specialties, sausages, and the like, it comes highly recommended as one of the best in New York City.

Although I am not a meat eater and will likely never know Faicco's sopressata, I have to show respect for a job done well, whether with pork or power...


Mary said...

Fortunately there are a number of places left that are still PORK STORES. Forest Pork Store in Ridgewood, Queens, NY has gone wholesale only. You have to call in an order and pick it up - no more coming in to browse and select. I think they still have a retail store in Huntington, LI, NY.
Greenpoint, Brooklyn is your best bet in this area to run across a real pork store, filled with wursts of all kinds.
The difference is these stores are all Polish. Pork stores used to be German. Even Forest Pork Store is now Polish run.
Most wurst is equivalent. I.e.: German "tongue baloney" is called "black head cheese" by the Poles. Of course, these are both English translations for those of us of second and third generations who are no longer familiar with the mother tongue.
But at least I can get the "soul food" of my childhood, when I get up the ambition to travel.

Anonymous said...

Great story and photo as always!

Eleonora said...

Wonderful story! And so is the photo, of course. I live in a place where shops like the ones you describe line every road and alley...

I am browsing daily city photo blogs, having started one myself for Rome, my hometown. New York was the first on my list, and it was a wonderful find!

Would you like to visit it? Click HERE then.


nathalie in avignon said...

Wonderful story indeed. Definitely worth reading. Majoring in "Power"??? How amazing!

Anonymous said...

My grandfather owned Economy Pork Store in Brooklyn back in the 1940s. I only have one photo of the store that I know of. I wish I knew more about it but what a wonderful thing cause you can't find a SINGLE place like this in Southern California where I live now!!!