Meet Sal Giangrande, the self-styled "Couch Doctor" of New York. Sal has a pretty unique business niche: he saws and re-assembles couches for people who couldn't fit their old couch into their new apartments but don't want to give up either one:
'I can't watch," said Andrew Clarke, shutting his eyes.
"You shouldn't," the doctor said calmly.
The doctor's assistant pulled out an electric saw. He started slicing. The ground was already strewn with staples that had been yanked out. After one, two, three . . . seven incisions, Clarke's $4,000, perfectly worn-in, brown leather couch lay in pieces with the 88-inch-long back surgically separated from the arms and bottom. Clarke's cherished couch looked like a dissected moose.
"Gosh," he mumbled, his eyes wide, "whatever it takes."
Sal Giangrande calls himself the New York Couch Doctor, but in fact he's New York's Doctor Whatever It Takes for desperate people like Clarke, who couldn't shimmy his old couch into his new apartment and wasn't willing to give up either one.
The young real estate executive was moving from one apartment to another in the same brick building in the heart of west Greenwich Village. The new place was bigger and had a spectacular view of the Hudson River but was situated in the middle of a narrow hallway.
"The movers tried several times, several angles, but they couldn't get the couch around the turn from the hallway into the new place," Clarke said. He was ready to dump it when his doorman told him about the Couch Doctor -- aka Sal Giangrande.
Geraldine Baum of the Los Angeles Times has more on this fascinating story about New Yorkers and their sofabsessions: Link
(Photo: Carolyn Cole/LA Times)