G&S Sporting Goods will Throw in the Towel on Wednesday After 77 Years on Essex Street

Posted on: November 17th, 2014 at 10:22 am by
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The time has come to bid adieu to G&S Sporting Goods.

After nearly eight decades at 43 Essex Street, the historic boxing store is set to close this Wednesday (November 19). While certainly upsetting and a total loss for the neighborhood, this news isn’t completely shocking. Owner Lenny Zerling, who suffered a stroke last year, had been planning to throw in the towel for many months. We broke the news last spring, and a leasing sign arrived shortly thereafter. Last we heard, his goal was ending operations and to sell the building (he owns).

Also worth noting that a handwritten sign in the window alerts customers that E&S gear is available on Amazon.

G&S Sporting Goods was founded in 1937 by Lenny’s father, an Estonian immigrant boxer named Izzy Zerling. He was a registered lightweight, and boxed approximately thirty-five professional fights. The store opened at 43 Essex after his retirement. Thereafter, he spent most of his life dedicated to teaching the sport to underprivileged kids, all while the family business remained as such. He is also credited with being the first to train female fighters in 1938. The elder Zerling lived on the Lower East Side until his death in 2011 at the age of 96.

Lenny didn’t take over until twenty years ago.

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Photo: Ranjan Roy

Meanwhile, the image published above provides a nice sendoff for the 77-year-old G&S Sporting Goods. Bowery Boogie reader Ranjan Roy discovered this gem while converting his parents’ slides into digital format. It was apparently found in a box labeled “November 1976.” Roy noted on his blog:

[G&S is] located just a few doors over from my current apartment building on Essex Street in the Lower East Side. I see it every single day. It was my exact block.
I called my Dad right away.

They were coming from the Boston suburbs, and this was far away from the normal tourist destinations. How did they possibly end up right there?

It turns out they were going to be visiting Calcutta at Christmas (and to accompany my Grandmother back). Before each trip to India, it was ritual to drive down to New York’s Chinatownto buy discounted electronics to take back for relatives in India. They had just parked their car.

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