First it was the costume shop. This time, the theatrical shoemaker in my office building went belly up.
He had shelves and shelves of shoe lasts, old wooden forms, most speckled with nail holes, many still sporting masking tape labels with the names of the actors/dancers for whom he'd made custom footwear.
Some were for flat shoes; others for high heels. A tiny doll-like pair was for a dwarf; a huge size 13D for an N. Wyman. The shop smelled like leather and ancient cigarette smoke, hot metal and dust.
Like the costume shop, he went out of business because no one wants custom made shoes for Broadway shows. Or no one wants to pay for custom made shoes. Or no one needs them?
And now, no longer necessary for their intended purpose, a pair of high-heeled feet - 7C, Dottie Frank - sit on a windowsill in my living room, a reminder of the days of handwork and small factories, of craft and things made one at a time.