Gutted: There is Nothing Left of G&S Sporting Goods on Essex Street

Posted on: December 30th, 2014 at 5:30 am by
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G&S Sporting Goods ended its operations on the Lower East Side at the end of November. Its departure after 77 years on Essex Street is another sad chapter for the neighborhood which is losing longtime mom-and-pop shops like crazy. A farewell sign hangs from the shuttered security gates thanking patrons for the decades of business.

More upsetting, however, is the scene at 43 Essex dayside. It’s not immediately apparent, but the old boxing store is now in tatters, currently amidst a gut renovation. Contents of the establishment – ground floor and basement – were pried and placed in a curbside dumpster. There are no permits on file with the Department of Buildings for such work.

Meanwhile, as the aforementioned sign indicates, G&S Sporting Goods will continue selling its top-notch gear online at outlets like Amazon.

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Second-generation proprietor Lenny Zerling – who also owns the property – had been planning to throw in the towel ever since suffering a stroke in the fall of 2013. We broke the news the following spring, and a leasing sign arrived shortly thereafter. Last we heard, his goal was ending operations and to sell the building.

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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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G&S in November 1976, Photo: Ranjan Roy

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