pic-a-pet slideshow and interview

UPDATE 20 oct 09

you’ll be missed, mr. madonna


this summer i was lookin all over for venus flytraps.  i made calls to plant stores, went to home depot and some other places, but nobody had any left.  so one day i was walking down broadway past dyckman st. (200th st) in manhattan and i saw an old, small plant/pet supply store called Pic-A-Pet.  see, i’m a sucker for small, privately owned stores; the older the better.   this store had weathered a few storms in it’s day and the guy sitting down just inside the door seemed to be in about the same condition.  when i asked him if he had any venus flytraps,  he said with a smile, “yeah, we got em for 9 bucks.”  so i picked up two plants.  i asked him if i could have a receipt and when we walked near the register that looked like it hadn’t been used since before i was born he looked around for his receipt book.  it was yellowed with age and when he handed it to me, i looked it over and it was receipt #42 from the 70’s.  i said, “don’t write many receipts, huh?”  and he started laughing.  his name was Mr. Tony Madonna – a life-long new yorker; a real genuine kind of guy with a heart of gold.  it’s funny how once i stopped in to ask about flytraps and  now i stop in whenever i’m near just to say howdy to my new friend.  his wrinkled face and callused hands have a few stories to tell and if you stop in, you just might get to hear a couple.

look at the date.  how cool is that?!

look at the date. how cool is that?!


Mr. Madonna

the register


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  1. #1 by Hugh Gilmore on March 12, 2009 - 14:53

    Thanks so much for documenting one of Inwood’s finest! Great job!

  2. #2 by Andrew Newman on March 16, 2009 - 12:35

    Very Intriguing. You have been blessed with a gift. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

  3. #3 by Katie on April 29, 2009 - 20:09

    Thank you so much for doing this. What a wonderful man, and thanks to you, others will know him and his story! A wonderful and historic piece of NYC.

  4. #4 by Jim Aufiero on October 12, 2009 - 17:29

    RIP Uncle Whitey…. We love you!

  5. #5 by estee on October 20, 2009 - 14:45

    Awe, he seems like a special man. I see he was a animal lover- I will name one of the kitties at the animal shelter i work for in his honor this evening.

    thank you for sharing.

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