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The Coolest Locksmith Shop in New York City
February 8, 2011 9:51 AM   Subscribe

The Coolest Locksmith Shop in New York City "From a distance, it looks like a bunch of golden squiggles and spirals have been added, snaking whimsically across the facade. But get a little closer and you’ll find the real magic… The new design is made up entirely of keys, literally thousands, and thousands, and thousands of keys, twisting into wonderful assortment of swoops and twirls."
posted by ocherdraco (45 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's really neat. very "other art".
posted by notsnot at 9:54 AM on February 8, 2011


I love ScoutingNY... It's such a great take on a city. I wish more places in the country had similar blogs. It's like Urban National Geographic or something.

Fantastic key art. Completely not what I was expecting from the description, and yet exactly what the description says.

It is artwork like this which gives a city its specific flavor, and this is great.
posted by hippybear at 9:56 AM on February 8, 2011


Oh wow, that is so cool! Thanks for posting. Knew I should have kept all the random unmatched keys that surface over time. There was a use for them after all!
posted by dorey_oh at 9:56 AM on February 8, 2011


That is totally rad.
posted by ghharr at 9:57 AM on February 8, 2011


Damn, that guy's got some llaves.
posted by Mister_A at 9:57 AM on February 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ew. Looks like the set of Aliens.
posted by phaedon at 9:59 AM on February 8, 2011


Awesome. Looks like the set of Aliens.
posted by The Whelk at 10:00 AM on February 8, 2011 [10 favorites]


It takes forever to find a 'friendly' Medeco locksmith to make a copy of the front door key to your apartment since your landlord only gives you one.
posted by wcfields at 10:01 AM on February 8, 2011


ScoutingNY also posted an ah-maze-ing photoset of a NY abandoned mental hospital to Projects.
posted by The Whelk at 10:01 AM on February 8, 2011


I love the fact that he's gone to so much trouble just to make something beautiful. This is so much better than it needed to be, and there's a real glory in that.
posted by Paul Slade at 10:01 AM on February 8, 2011 [9 favorites]


nice, though it leaves an overwhelming "impression".
posted by clavdivs at 10:03 AM on February 8, 2011


Is this art brut? Folk art? How can I appreciate this awesome thing if I don't have a movement in which to place it??
posted by Think_Long at 10:05 AM on February 8, 2011


SO cool!!!!
posted by zarq at 10:10 AM on February 8, 2011


Is this art brut? Folk art? How can I appreciate this awesome thing if I don't have a movement in which to place it??

Are you saying that classification is key to understanding?
posted by hippybear at 10:12 AM on February 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


kind of reminds me of Tara Donovan's work.. from afar it looks sculptural, but you get up close and find that she has made her forms from thousands and thousands of styrofoam cups. or fishing line. or paper plates. i love this cumulative yet transformative approach to creation.
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 10:13 AM on February 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


I love my city.
posted by ReeMonster at 10:17 AM on February 8, 2011


I have never been to a locksmith in NYC, but I'm pretty sure the headline is 100% accurate.
posted by eyeballkid at 10:18 AM on February 8, 2011


LOVE this. But what I love most is that he tapped into his own creativity to make something unique and beautiful, versus the hiring-the-architect idea he'd had a few years ago, which was fine, but not awesome like this is.
posted by Lou Stuells at 10:21 AM on February 8, 2011


This is fantastic. He must have been planning it forever, to save up all those keys.
posted by cmyk at 10:29 AM on February 8, 2011


Are you saying that classification is key to understanding?

I'm just trying to get him locked into a genre.
posted by Think_Long at 10:30 AM on February 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are you saying that classification is key to understanding?

I'm just trying to get him locked into a genre.


*snort* :D

i would categorize it as outsider art.
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 10:32 AM on February 8, 2011


"My God, It's full of Keys"
posted by djrock3k at 10:33 AM on February 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Neat! This style of art is all over the awesome City Museum in St. Louis, part museum, part art environment, part kid's playground. It uses a lot of remnant hardware (like cogs) to make patterns.
posted by Nelson at 10:36 AM on February 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


I guess that's one way to differentiate your locksmith business from thousands of others in NYC (or at least according to Google Maps)
posted by rh at 10:44 AM on February 8, 2011


Yep, they have been a staple for a long time. Along with shoe resoling places.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:47 AM on February 8, 2011


You probably know this, but the locksmith spam on Google Maps is part of a scam.
posted by Nelson at 10:50 AM on February 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Along with shoe resoling places.

City's got a lot of soul.

ow ow I'll stop I'll stop ow
posted by The Whelk at 10:50 AM on February 8, 2011


This building should be surrounded by this fence.
posted by Babblesort at 10:58 AM on February 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ahh I wasn't even thinking of those things like "AAAAAAA+ emergency locksmith" that consist of one Israei guy and a van. There are hundreds of cramped,tiny places that sell all the strange things you need to maintain a 100 year old apartment and cut keys.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:58 AM on February 8, 2011


It's too bad someone burned the "I'm a locksmith, and I'm a locksmith" joke yesterday.
posted by maxwelton at 10:59 AM on February 8, 2011


It takes forever to find a 'friendly' Medeco locksmith to make a copy of the front door key to your apartment since your landlord only gives you one.

It's usually not an issue of friendliness, but lack of capability. Medeco has many, many different key blanks (the layout of the grooves/ridges on the side) and each dealer uses a specific blank design for the locks they install. So when you go to a different Medeco dealer, even if he was willing to skirt his dealer agreement and make a copy, chances are very high he doesn't even have a blank to cut that would fit in your lock.
posted by chundo at 11:31 AM on February 8, 2011


Apparently, a sunglasses store offered to buy the building to “help him retire,” but he declined. “This is retirement to me…When I die, this will go too.”

It's going to be very hard to convert that into a sunglasses store now. Unless one covers all the keys with sunglasses. Thousands and thousands of sunglasses.

That would be... a dark day indeed.



YYYYEEEEEEEAAAAAAHHH!!!
posted by DNye at 11:48 AM on February 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


I really hope that one of those thousands of keys is cut to fit the front door of the shop itself, and that the owner knows precisely where it's glued. Because, what do you do if you're a locksmith but you've locked all your tools in the shop?
posted by contraption at 12:07 PM on February 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Reminds me a bit of the stuff done by Dr Evermor, a Wisconsin artist who uses things like unmodified scissor blades (which he gets in bulk) to make feathers on bird sculptures. The repetitive pattern hides what they are till you get right up close and see. It's a fascinating art style because it requires the artist to find the shape they need rather than cutting a sheet of metal to fit.

Very cool stuff.
posted by quin at 12:24 PM on February 8, 2011


Amazing brazing.
posted by hortense at 12:38 PM on February 8, 2011


"Who are you, and how did you get in here?"

"I'm a locksmith. And I'm a locksmith."
posted by kirkaracha at 1:05 PM on February 8, 2011


D'oh.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:06 PM on February 8, 2011


Is there a word for this aesthetic - the beauty of a large group of the same objects? I find it in bead shops and junkyards and the artist who drew 'Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot'. I really love it
Like grains of sand except the grains are all man-made objects
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 1:59 PM on February 8, 2011


I'll bet a copy of every key I've ever lost is on that building somewhere.
posted by double block and bleed at 2:28 PM on February 8, 2011


Very neat! I love this kind of folk art, if that's the right term, that's meaningful as well as decorative. I hope the keys are welded/soldered very securely because souvenir-hunting jerks will find that display irresistible. The chair made of keys is also cool.

There used to be an architectural company here in SF which painted the outside of their building to look like a blueprint. A full-size blueprint, white lines calling out dimensions and features on a blue background, with doors and windows helpfully labeled as such. Unfortunately the new owners repainted it to look like any other small company offices. Boo. I hope the NYC Landmarks Commission or somebody helps preserve the locksmith mosaics before somebody decides they're too funky and unprofessional.
posted by Quietgal at 3:29 PM on February 8, 2011


Wonder how much that facade weighs?

(Very cool post, BTW)
posted by yoga at 4:47 PM on February 8, 2011


I love this. Thank you.
posted by Kangaroo at 6:22 PM on February 8, 2011


There used to be an architectural company here in SF which painted the outside of their building to look like a blueprint. A full-size blueprint, white lines calling out dimensions and features on a blue background, with doors and windows helpfully labeled as such.

That sounds amazing! Does anyone know what the company was called, or where to find pictures of the building?
posted by contraption at 8:44 PM on February 8, 2011


Brilliant, and a great addition to my "hey, let's go look at ..." file.
posted by thinkpiece at 9:48 AM on February 9, 2011


Contraption, I found an old photo of the place from July 1986. Unfortunately a tree blocks the first part of the name but it's ___ke Design Group Incorporated at 700 Sansome St, right on the corner of Sansome and Jackson. Google Street View shows that the whole building has been torn down and replaced by a bland new brick box, although the next door neighbor is still there. (A lot of the old brick buildings in that area are not considered earthquake-safe by current standards, so it's not too surprising it was torn down.) My photo is not the greatest but if you want to borrow it, send me a MeMail.
posted by Quietgal at 3:34 PM on February 9, 2011


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