Gelb Lighting is committed to excellence in the lighting industry and has established an unparalleled reputation for quality, efficiency and reliability of service to the lighting fixtures and fitting products since the 1950's. Gelb Lighting takes pride in combining over 75 years of experience in today's cutting-edge lighting technology climate to providing you with the lighting technology solutions that meet the demands of your most demanding clients. Gelb Lighting now provides the widest range of LED Lighting Products and the largest variety of fluorescent lighting products in New York.
In the New York Times Andrew B. Kessler wrote:
Watching David Gelb, 95, navigate precarious stacks of fluorescent tubing to locate and then gingerly handle the perfect bulb is a sublime experience. It is his combination of fragility and dexterity that makes it seem so.
Mr. Gelb has supplied the East Village with standard 75-watt incandescent's and obscure bulbs like the 48-watt T-6 for nearly six decades and in the process has elevated the mundane purchase of a light bulb to a comforting act.
But three weeks ago, he turned out the lights for good at Gelb Fixture Company, his Avenue A landmark, near Seventh Street, and, with the help of his grandson, Michael Gelb, who recently took over the business, began the move to a warehouse on 45th Street in Astoria, Queens.
Rising East Village rents and a desire to be closer to family pushed the Gelb's into their new home across the river. The space will be taken over by a French bistro, named the Light Bar and Restaurant, in a tip of the hat to the site's past.
Mr. Gelb, who was born on the Lower East Side, entered the fluorescent lighting and fixture manufacturing business after World War II.
''I had to learn everything,'' he said, ''but I got a free space in a loft because my sister-in-law was a bookkeeper in the building.'' He eventually expanded to space on Avenue A near Ninth Street, and in the late 50's, he moved again, this time to the quarters he has occupied for half a century. In the fast-changing East Village, that's an eternity.
Mr. Gelb was always happy to discuss the merits of frosted or clear glass, the value of extra wattage or the longevity of different brands, so much so that many customers found it hard to buy light bulbs anywhere else.
''I went to buy a light bulb for my first apartment, and meeting Mr. Gelb was just heartwarming,'' said Haley Mellin, a 24-year-old painter and art teacher who lives in the East Village. ''Gelb was one of the few things that made this anonymous city feel like a community. He always had time for me. Pretty soon I was buying spare light bulbs or bulbs for my friends, just so I'd have an excuse to go see him.''
Mr. Gelb says that 57 years in the bulb business are enough, but he probably doesn't mean it. He has already tried retirement twice. ''It's just not for me,'' he says.