Pasiana Rodriguez Redefines ‘Mechanic’ in Willets Point – The New York Times

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Character Study

IT is a men-only club, these auto-repair hawkers who battle for your business as you bump your way down the pothole-pocked streets of Willets Point in Corona, Queens.
At least until you get to Dacar Auto Radiator, a wedge-shaped repair shop located where — this is so Queens! — Willets Point Boulevard, 127th Street and 37th Avenue converge.
Suddenly there is Pasiana Rodriguez, 43, a woman in a form-fitting jumpsuit. She waves you over and begins bargaining for the repair job before you even stop.
“She’s the only female mechanic in Willets Point,” said Dario Carro, 48, Ms. Rodriguez’s husband and partner in Dacar, part of this seemingly endless maze of auto repair and scrap businesses that make up the Iron Triangle, perhaps the closest thing New York City has to a Wild West town.
“When new customers come in, they can’t believe a woman is working on cars here,” Ms. Rodriguez said on Wednesday between a brake job, a radiator test and a suspension replacement. “I say, ‘May I help you?’ and they say, ‘No, I need the mechanic.’ I say, ‘You’re looking at her.’ ”
Between repairs, Ms. Rodriguez, who emigrated at age 22 from the Dominican Republic, ventures out into the mud flats that pass for streets here, and tries to wave in customers to the shop, whose walls are covered with greasy tools and pin-up-girl calendars.
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