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.)

 

12 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

  6. Hello Mr. Zdislav David Lasevski, I would be happy to assemble a team of free Volunteers to catalog and identify each of your electronic equipment so you can provide a database of model number and other identification numbers to the police. I share your joy in surplus electronic. I would do it for free if it could rescue your business. Please let everyone know what we can do to help save your business. Could you sell you store? Then open up and sell the electronics elsewhere? What if someone could identify each of your electronics at no additional cost to you?

    • Thank you for the offer. First of all, the store was bought by the cooperation, and it is already committed. The second thing, did you ever hear the song by Kenny Rogers “The Gambler” at age of 71 I think that it is a time for me to run. By the way, I hope that you do not have in mind to move the store to 47th Street.

  7. In 34 years of conducting business on Canal Street in Manhattan, Argo Electronics never had any consumer or police complain.
    Some corrections to the stories about me. I was the seaman for eight years. Most of my time I was sailing on the tanker ship from the port of Eilat to Cargo Island in Iran, and that was at the time of the Shah. Before I jumped ship I’ve been in New York many times. I switched from the tanker ship to container ship which was sailing this line Europe, North America, and far East. In one of these voyages when my ship arrived at the port Elizabeth in New Jersey, I took my suitcase, went down the gangway, and left the sea for the fish.
    Regarding my book about the orphanage, the name of the place is Ben Shemen, and that is exactly the name of the forest where kids were collecting mushrooms. The ammunition shells were collected in BAT-YAM. The flea market where the copper was sold is Yaffo. The book was translated into Japanese and the full version of it is on Google Play. My translator suggested sending the copy to Yoko Ono, which I did.
    In Ben Shemen were many famous people. One of them, Haim SaBan, the Power Ranger producer SaBan Entertainment. About 25 years ago I sent him a copy of my book hoping to make a movie out of it, but I never heard from him. Who knows maybe I will be more lucky with my next book which is about the salvage operation of a burning 250000-ton oil tanker ship in the Indian Ocean. I was one of the crew members who went with two other guys, in the stormy sea with the small lifeboat to save the burning ship from being an ecologic disaster. The name of my ship was Taurus and the one that we save was Aquarius.

  8. This is a remedy from my Seamen’s Life

    If you allergic to any of these ingredients please do not take it
    For 8 years and older only

    1 glass of orange juice (do not use fresh squeeze because there is no acid in there)
    2. squeeze three or four clove of garlic
    3. mix it with 2 teaspoons of honey or one tablespoon

    Drink it before bedtime:
    . I hope it will help a lot of people.

  9. This is a remedy from my Seamen’s Life
    If you allergic to any of these ingredients please do not take. For 8 years and older
    Not to be taken on an empty stomach

    1. glass of oranges
    2. squeeze three or four clove of garlic
    3. mix it with 2 teaspoons honey or one tablespoon

    before bedtime:
    after few hours sweating will occur due to flushing out the toxins. The next day you should feel better. It has a good taste like a gin and tonic. . Few weeks ago my daughter Nivie was very sick with flu like symptoms she took the remedy after few hours of sweating she felt much better

    . I hope it will help a lot of people.

  10. I see that people are searching where the name “Nivie” comes from. This name comes from the Bible book song of songs and it means sing to me.
    That also was the name of the tanker ship where I was a part of the crew working in Gothenburg, Sweden. That was a very lucky ship so when my daughter was born I called her Nivie. When the electronic company which I established came about I called it Nivie again. When my granddaughter was born I said stop, no more Nivie, and guess what happened, I gave the part of the service company to my technicians who worked for me for a many years and they opened the new company with the name Nivie Technology.
    In one of the trip when we pass Gulf of Aqaba the pirates tried to kidnap the ship and then the ZIM company decided to change the name to Taurus. I stayed on that ship for a few years. After the few years the ship went for the renovation in Rotterdam, Holland.

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