Old-school NYC businesses still make house-calls, deliver milk, seltzer water

Paul Schweitzer works in the repair shop of the Gramercy Office Equipment Co. in Manhattan on Thursday, July 2, 2015. The company specializes in fixing vintage typewriters and also going to people's homes to fix their old typewriters and HP printers.
Paul Schweitzer works in the repair shop of the Gramercy Office Equipment Co. in Manhattan on Thursday, July 2, 2015. The company specializes in fixing vintage typewriters and also going to people’s homes to fix their old typewriters and HP printers. Photo Credit: ABC / Lou Rocco

If you’re convinced that gone are the days when New Yorkers can have milk delivered straight to their doors, think again.

We found a few NYC companies that still make house-calls, and give a dose of nostalgia along with their services at no additional charge.

But that isn’t to say these old-school businesses haven’t modernized: Customers can place orders via phone and email. They provide the best of both worlds as new and old school biz methods merge.


Manhattan Milk

Who says you can’t get a fresh cart of milk delivered to your door or left with your doorman before the sun comes up?

Frank Acosta and Matt Malone, who run Manhattan Milk, make wee-morning-hours milk deliveries five days a week. But don’t be fooled by the name, they also deliver to Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx – and you can also order juice, eggs, seasonal fruit and granola snacks. Acosta and Malone launched Manhattan Milk in 2008 when they saw a need from New Yorkers who dread carrying heavy milk jugs up their five-floor walk-ups. The old school-feel of their delivery service was an added bonus.

“We wanted to bring back the nostalgia of the milkman,” said Acosta, a Michigan native, noting that their milk comes from grass-fed cows on Amish farms in Pennsylvania. “We get people reacquainted with how New York used to be by providing that personal touch that people are looking for.”


Brooklyn Seltzer Boys

Founded in 1953, Gomberg Seltzer Works in Canarsie is the filling station for several seltzer delivery companies in the city.

The family-owned company, now in its fourth generation, is the only remaining seltzer-filling shop in New York City.

In 2013, it opened its own delivery service, Brooklyn Seltzer Boys.

The Boys deliver fresh seltzer in antique hand-blown Czechoslovakian glass bottles to mostly businesses but also some residents in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and parts of New Jersey.

Alex Gomberg, the great grandson the company’s founder, Moe, supervises the delivery service.

“Our seltzer is New York City tap water that we then triple-filter through sand, charcoal and paper. It’s then mixed with carbon dioxide, and has no salt, coloring or additives,” Gomberg explained.

“We’re keeping the history alive. This is a business for people that appreciate good seltzer. In a plastic seltzer bottle you hear the pressure escape and the seltzer goes flat,” he said. “Our bubbles are stronger and the pressure stays constant. Good seltzer should hurt. You shouldn’t be able to gulp it down quickly.”


Gramercy Typewriter Co.

This 83-year-old typewriter repair shop will help you become the next great American novelist. Its staff will clean, oil, align the keys and replace the ribbon on that vintage Olympia, Underwood, Remington or Smith Corona. As long as you’re between Battery Park and Harlem, Paul Schweitzer, who took over the business from his father Abraham in 1959, will personally trek to your door if you can’t bring the typewriter to his shop.

And Schweitzer doesn’t only fix typewriters. As computers gained popularity in the ’90s, customers began asking Schweitzer if he could also re-service and clean their Hewlett-Packard printers. Now Schweitzer, along with four employees and his son Justin, also visits homes and offices to fix and clean HP printers.

“It’s a good part of our business now,” he said of printer repairs.

In the last five years (possibly due to the rise of the hipster) Schweitzer said typewriters have made a comeback.

“Now it’s more personalized, individuals and younger people seem to want to go back to typewriters; it really is a big demand nowadays,” he said.

He successfully remains one of the last of his kind.

“Back in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s there were six pages of typewriter companies in the yellow pages and four stores on one block,” he said. “We are one of the very few typewriter repair shops left.”

More from around NYC