Argo Electronics Has Closed

There’s an “out of business” sign in the window of Argo Electronics, one of the last vestiges of the old Canal Street. A Yellow Pages listing says the store was open for 37 years, but a Downtown Express article last January about an art project there hinted that it was open longer (and foreshadowed the closing):

One fateful day in the late 1970s, [owner Zdislav David] Lasevski went to Argo for a component he needed to repair and resell some calculators. He was haggling with the owner over the price when the exasperated owner told him he could have the whole place for $4,000. Lasevski took him up on the offer, and 20 years later he bought the whole building. Canal St. was “all army surplus and electronic stores” when he bought Argo, Lasevski recalls, but now the eclectic shop one of the last store of its kind there. It doesn’t make much money, but Lasevski said he can’t let go. […] Lasevski says he has no immediate plans to sell off the building and retire to Florida with the profits, but you can never know how much time is left to visit Argo.”

The interior was legendary.

I’d have to wager that the building—and the one(s) to the west—aren’t long for this world. Until I went to take these photos, I had never realized that Argo used to be larger; old Argo signage is visible above the souvenir store next door.

Last but not least, two videos that showcase the crazy heart of the place:

(If the videos don’t embed you can find them here and here.)

5 Comments

  1. Oh man…how did I never notice that place? I must have walked past it a hundred times. And you just know some incredibly expensive condos will replace it soon, to be inhabited by “finance types.” 1970’s NYC hardly seems like something worth preserving…until it fades into history.

  2. Glad he will at least making a killing on his real estate investment!

  3. As a New York City businessman I have to comply with the law. In my case it is just impossible to follow the instruction which require from me to upload to the Police Department Computer entire inventory of electronic components and equipment, report each individual sale. As you might see from the video on Youtube I will have to hire army of computer wizard and it will probably take them years to complete that project, and if I sale something to the artists the way their buy, which is usually by the lot for a few dollars, I will have to hire them again. I do understand what that law means but that was good for application years ago. Right now there are endless ways to sell any product on the internet and you can reach as far away as Syberia with the click of the button. I am very sorry and I apologize to all my customers who visited Argo through the yers.

    The Administrative Code Section 20-267, 20-237(a), 20-277(b)

    THANK YOU,
    Zdislav David Lasevski

  4. Dear Mr Lasevski,
    Thank you for your great store and the explanation.
    Sorry that the “law” had to be interpreted in that asinine way.
    All best wishes to you.
    R

  5. I want to take this opportunity to respond to all the questions which I get over the phone. No, the building is not for sale.
    Yes, the BQE was my recommendation. I also made another recommendation about the intersection of BQE and Atlantic Ave. but that one was not implemented. Since then there were many accidents at that intersection because the traffic is coming out of the corner and during the day the sun glare blinds the drivers. I recommended curbing the wall so the runway will be created.
    The Brooklyn Bridge, third line, right now is exclusive only for drivers who are going on the Brooklyn Bridge only, but that is the bottleneck that slows down the traffic.
    Underneath the Williamsburg Bridge, the street is very wide which gives the opportunity to create the ramp that will go directly to FDR Drive, the same as the 59th Street Bridge to 1st Ave.
    There are more recommendations which I am not going to mention.
    Yes, I wrote the book “No place called home.” “The roots of life” is the same book but only for younger readers. It was published in 1984 before “Roots” by Alex Haley become famous.

    Zdislav David Lasevski

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