By Maria Rocha-Buschel
After more than 60 years a block away from Stuyvesant Town, Andrett Funeral Home has relocated to another space on Bleecker Street that has been operating as a funeral home since 1925.
New owner Peter DeLuca, who has been running Greenwich Village Funeral Home and the Beth Abraham Memorial Chapel at the Bleecker Street address for about 40 years, took over operations for Andrett in mid-December and said that the business is still essentially the same as before, apart from the location. In addition to the business name, the phone number and website are the same as well.
DeLuca emphasized that he also wants to maintain connections with the community despite being farther away and some of the deep ties with the neighborhood lie in the thousands of pages of historical records that DeLuca said that the previous owners meticulously kept.
“I had to get a moving van just for those and we brought it all here,” he said. “They kept everything in perfect order. There are 62 years of records and service to that community.”
Having continued access to the records means that neighborhood residents can still contact Andrett at the new location for various purposes, such as reordering a death certificate of a family member who died a number of years ago or to research genealogy. The records also allow residents to check past funeral arrangements for other family members so they can make similar arrangements for more recently deceased relatives.
DeLuca noted that if any residents made pre-arrangements for family members before the business moved to Bleecker Street, those will still be honored at the new location. In addition to the services Andrett offered on Second Avenue, DeLuca said that he’s integrating some of the services he started with the Greenwich Village Funeral Home and the Beth Abraham Memorial Chapel, like live web-casting of services for family members who can’t make the trip.
DeLuca noted that the facility on Bleecker is the only building in Manhattan that was built to be a funeral home and it has an unusual design in that it’s all on one level.
Andrett’s Second Avenue location was similar because it was also all on one level with no steps to the entrance and DeLuca said that this design is a definite advantage.
“With the community getting older, residents are more attracted to a facility that doesn’t have steps at the entrance,” he said.
Andrett was opened in its original location on Second Avenue in 1954 by James Andrews and his wife, Helen Barrett, and the couple owned the business until 1972 when the Dignity Memorial funeral network took over.
DeLuca said that he got the opportunity to take over Andrett because the funeral home was losing its lease on Second Avenue and Dignity Memorial, which offers various funeral services throughout the country, chose not to find a new space for the business.
“It’s difficult to relocate a funeral home in Manhattan,” he said. “You can’t open a new funeral home (in the borough) anymore because you’re required to have adjacent parking so you have to find an existing building, and those are closing all the time. When I started here, there were five funeral homes in the immediate area. Now there’s just us.”
But despite the worry of increasing rents forcing long-time community businesses to close throughout the city, DeLuca isn’t concerned about being priced out.
“I own the building, so at least there’s no danger of that,” he said.