Still No iPhone 5: But on St. Marks, ‘Another Wireless Shop’ by Dr. Brendan

brendangoodDaniel Maurer Dr. Brendan outside the new shop.

Yesterday, longstanding rumors that Apple would announce its so-called iPhone 5 at a September 7 event proved to be false. But on St. Marks Place, a local hero among Apple aficionados was unveiling his very latest.

Last year, The Times introduced us to Brendan McElroy, who repaired iPhones out of his East Village walk-up under the name Dr. Brendan. Soon after that story came out, he secured a small storefront at 8 St. Marks Place; thirteen months later, he has grown his team to eight technicians. Last week, he smacked the Dr. Brendan logo on a Fiat 500 that is now being used for house calls. And this Tuesday, he added yet another feather in his cap, by taking over the cell phone store across the street, giving it 1960s-style signage, and renaming it Another Wireless Shop.

“Nothing is too groundbreaking here,” Mr. McElroy said yesterday, standing in a treehouse-like 2nd-floor nook that he estimates is about 80 square feet in size. The shop is currently selling wireless accessories (the previous tenant’s stock of chargers and cases still graces the walls) and will also offer repairs of electronic devices beyond the usual Apple products. Eventually, it will sell unlocked GSM smartphones such as the next iPhone. (No, Mr. McElroy didn’t know the release date, but he figured sometime before Christmas. When it comes out, he said his team would have to “take it apart immediately and figure it out just like we do everything else.”)


Mr. McElroy, 30, has always been technically inclined. While studying music at Purchase College, SUNY, he worked as a studio engineer. When his iPhone broke during a bartending gig, he repaired it by studying YouTube videos. After parlaying his newfound knowledge into a business, he got busy fast – thanks in part to beer spills.

“Beer is the most common thing we see spilled on computers – much more than water,” he said. “People tend to get a little more careless when they’re drunk. And we’ve seen coffee a couple of times, from the jittery hands.” The corroded circuits of such phones are cleaned using ultrasonic vibrations and a chemical bath.

brendaninside With manager Francisco Barela.

Then there are the shattered screens. “We get a lot of ‘my girlfriend threw my phone at me and it smashed,’” said Mr. McElroy. “Probably at least a dozens of those.”

Yesterday, this reporter asked one of Mr. McElroy’s technicians to work his magic on an iPhone 4 that died for reasons having nothing to do with beer or his girlfriend. Both the Apple store and a Chinatown outfit had already declared the specimen a hopeless case. After dislodging the back of the phone, Dr. Brendan’s technician concurred that the repair of the burned-out logic board probably wouldn’t be worth the cost, and suggested a trip to the Apple store for a swap-out. But before declaring the patient DOA, the surgeon noted that the Chinatown repair shop had failed to put all of the phone’s screws back in, including one that held in the power supply and antenna, and another that played a role in the WiFi.

“That’s a common thing,” said Dr. Brendan. “We always put all the screws back in.”