Pablo Vargas of the Stanton Tailor Shop, Part I

Posted on: April 8th, 2010 at 6:13 am by

We are excited to present this two-part series on Pablo Vargas, proprietor of the Stanton Tailor Shop.  Written by Steven Gibaldi.

On summer nights you may have walked by the Stanton Tailor Shop and heard meringue playing from the open door. Or maybe on a freezing cold winter afternoon you saw a line snaking out the door and peered in to see Pablo Vargas, a tall, striking Dominican man, giving a fitting with pins in his mouth. The small corner shop with sky blue walls, three minuscule dressing rooms and people waiting to get inside is the spot where everyone brings their sample sale clothes or Orchard Street finds to be fitted.

Pablo greets customers from the gentrified LES and those from the early days – when he first started at the shop in the 1980s when it was situated amongst the remaining remnants of the Schmata Trade, Jewish garment stores that dotted the LES. With his big welcoming smile and serious eyes, he’s seen a lot of changes. In the shop’s early days, when the LES was a no man’s land, as evening approached and the sun began to position itself below the sixth floor walk up tenements, Pablo Vargas would hurry to remove the thimble from his thumb and pull down the metal gate of his tiny business. He knew too well that to remain open when night fell meant that his humble shop could attract the attention of some of the menacing characters of the Lower East Side.

There were junkies, and local crack dealers who hid in the alleys or hung around on tenement stoops. That was then, when what some refer to today as “Hell Square” was exactly that, but for different reasons. Hell now means loud, boisterous, fashionable drunks carousing around Stanton, Ludlow, Rivington and Orchard wearing fitted designer hoodies and tight narrow jeans.

Hell used to mean shady characters prowling the streets in the opposite garb; extra large hoodies and baggy jeans. The one constant is the gate. Only now, the gate at Pablo’s Stanton Tailor Shop comes down at night, but only half way. It comes down not to deter drug dealers but to give his tailors a bit of relief from the relentless fittings and alterations that reflect the sartorial demands of the new denizens of today’s Lower East Side.

It’s been almost 30 years since Pablo Vargas arrived from the Dominican Republic and landed a job at the Stanton Tailor Shop, except then it was known as the Olympic.  And, boy, the times have changed!

CLICK HERE TO READ PART II!

Recent Stories

Photo: The Corpse Corps
The World Isn’t Ready for Julian Casablancas + the Voidz

The world isn’t ready for Julian Casablancas + The Voidz. Just like The Strokes were the pioneers of the post punk indie revival, the latest endeavor by Julian Casablancas is exponentially kicking it up a notch in the musical avant-garde. Deceptive in the simplicity of its track titles (“Nintendo Blood,” “Xerox,” “Business Dog”), the band’s latest album Tyranny forces you to take a […]

moscot-band
Moscot has a House Band with Dr. Moscot on Guitar

Moscot rocks out with the best of ‘em. The last two consecutive Thursdays, after hours, we spotted a four-piece band rehearsing inside the Orchard Street store. A double take proved that fourth-generation owner Dr. Harvey Moscot was indeed wielding a six-string (i.e. Fender Stratocaster). Moscot PR tells us that the house band is called “The […]

duchesse-orchard-2
New Orchard Street Bakery ‘Les Jardins de la Duchesse’ Will Carry a Bacon-Wrapped Eclair

Modern Fashion & Style on Orchard Street closed over the summer so that a new French bakery could sling pastries. During those interim months, contractors have been tearing apart the commercial space of 138 Orchard. We heard chatter along the way that the newcomer was some sort of bakery. Confirmation arrived yesterday afternoon with the new store […]

Photo: TH
Councilwoman Margaret Chin Calls for New 25 MPH Speed Limit Signs Along South Street

In a couple weeks (November 7), the city speed limit will shift to the lower default of 25 mph, following legislation that was recently passed into law. Councilwoman Margaret Chin is on the offensive, demanding proper street signage for the most dangerous traffic corridors. In a letter to DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, she singles out […]

aaa-ichiban-closed-2
AAA Ichiban Sushi on Orchard Street Closes Ahead of Ben Shaoul Development

The northeast corner of Orchard and East Houston is slowly giving up the ghost. As we’ve been reporting, controversial landlord Ben “Sledgehammer” Shaoul purchased the L-shaped low-rise strip and is gradually booting the businesses. We lost Bereket and Philly’s Cheese Steak over the summer; Taqueria will soon move up to St. Mark’s Place and received blessings from […]