The Ironmonger Under the El

p1020807You 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.p1020815

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.

All is of local origin, Roy says, from Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Bronx.p1020812

“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.”p1020809

The best block for ironwork, Roy says, is 10th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues in Park Slope — “the most diversified iron around.”p1020811

About cara

I blog for fun at, and write about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites. My recently published posts and articles can be found here:
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3 Responses to The Ironmonger Under the El

  1. astor C. says:

    Great resource for restorers and an interesting juxtaposition with the flimsy modern crap that Lowes purveys.

  2. Roy Vaccaro says:

    Please feel free to call me at 917 837 3039 or stop by and see the inventory for yourself.
    Thank You
    Roy Vaccaro

  3. JC says:

    I just walked by this place the other day! The boyfriend and I stopped to gawk at all the lovely architectural odds and ends–although I must admit, my favorite piece was the old Radio Flyer. Cuuuuuute little red wagon.

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