You must have wondered – as I did – What is all that antique iron doing in the Lowe’s parking lot? For a while, it was a hopeless jumble, but Roy Vaccaro, whose family has been in the scrap iron business for 100 years, selling radiators, plumbing pipes, and what have you, has gotten it together.
Four months ago, when his brothers retired and they closed Vaccaro Bros. Scrap Metal on 15th Street between 2nd and 3rd, Roy rented space from a storage company under the F train tracks off 8th Street in Gowanus, which happens to be at the entrance to Lowe’s. There, in well-organized fashion, he displays metal architectural salvage gleaned from local demolitions — cast iron newel posts starting at $100, fences, gates, window guards, railings, finials, fireplace covers, and pieces thereof.
“I can tell where a house is by the metalwork,” Roy maintains. “If you go up any street towards Prospect Park, you’ll find less iron. Between 8th Avenue and the Park, it’s 90% stone, very little iron.”