One of my favorite shoe shine shops used to be on the south side of W. 44th Street between Broadway and Sixth Avenue. I often stopped there to give my zapatos a gloss when on my way to a Broadway show, or when visiting one of my favorite bars, Jimmy's Corner, which is just a couple doors down. It was called Star Shine, was quite spacious, and a nice place to catch up on the papers while you had your shoes done. I was appalled (and left with dusty walkers) the other day to find it was gone, and replaced by another branch of the loathed chain Subway, which is a verminous kudzu spreading across the metropolis.
One of the the things I've always loved about New York is ease with which one can get one's shoes shined. Little hole-in-the-wall shops used to be everywhere. Lately, I've been noticing they're closing. It's not a good sign.