Volume 81, Number 13ß | August 25 -31, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

East Side bike shop owner is carrying on after son’s death

By Aidan Gardiner

It has been a hard year for George Philbert, owner and operator of Bikes, By George!, the cycle shop at 193 E. Fourth St. But in a bittersweet turn of events, Philbert said that his business is prospering because of it.

Earlier this year, an actor hired by NBC’s “Dateline” allegedly sold a stolen bike to Dominic Philbert, George’s son and longtime employee at the store. Many in the East Village and biking communities were outraged at either what they saw as a deceitful television crew or the contemptible bike purchaser.

“Right now, I’m debating what I should do with Dominic — if I should lay him off or...,” George told this paper at the time. “Really, he shouldn’t do something like that to bring the business down.”

Then, on July 7, Dominic died. After feeling poorly all day, he collapsed in the bike shop, right in front of his father.

“They pronounced him dead at the hospital, but I think he died right here on the floor,” George said recently. “I think he died even before he hit the floor.”

George said that his son hadn’t felt well for some days, that he was sweating heavily and made frequent extended trips to the bathroom.

According to George, Dominic never picked up his most recent prescription medication for his high blood pressure, but continued to drink and smoke regularly. George said that Dominic bought some beer and soda shortly before he collapsed.

George said that the community has been supportive. Dominic was an amateur artist and many fellow artists attended his funeral in Queens. Some artists are planning a tribute gallery somewhere in Long Island, but as of press time no additional information was available.

Still, George said his shop is surviving the family tragedy.

“A lot of people feel sorry and they bring their business to me,” he said. “I’m surviving more on repairs.”

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