Store Fronts

Monday, March 07, 2011

The now-defunct music venue CBGB was home to many punk bands like The Ramones, Talking Heads, and Television. (James T. & Karla L. Murray)

Photographers James Murray and Karla Murray spent more than ten years photographing the distinctive facades of family-run shops in neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs. In Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York, they collect these images to paint a portrait of the ever-changing demographics of New York City.

Images from Store Front are currently on display at the Clic Bookstore and Gallery until March 27th.

Courtesy of James and Karla Murray
Caffe Reggio - MacDougal St near Minetta Lane. The original owner was the first to sell cappuccino in the United States--from a machine he spent his entire life-savings to bring over from Italy.
Courtesy of James and Karla Murray
Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery - on Houston Street near Chrystie Street. Known for their knishes, the store sells yogurt made from the original culture brought over from Romania in the 1890s.
Courtesy of James and Karla Murray
McSorely's Ale House - East 7th Street near Cooper Square. Originally, McSorely's was an all-male establishment with the slogan, "good ale, raw onions, and no ladies."

It was the last bar to serve women after they lost a court case in 1970.

Courtesy of James and Karla Murray
Astroland/The Wonder Wheel - Coney Island, Boardwalk at West 10th Street. The Wonder Wheel was bought as an engagement present for the owner's wife.

He wanted to give her a ring so big that everyone in the world would see how much he loved her.

Courtesy of James and Karla Murray
Di Palo's - Grand St. at Mott St. Di Palo's has been open since 1925. They say that the water quality in New York City is what makes their homemade mozzarella so delicious.


James Murray and Karla Murray

Comments [16]

alex from park slope, brooklyn

This book, and these photos, are a picture perfect example of:

"REVERSIFICATION," the phenomenon of going backwards in spite of and/or because of progress, usually caused by greed, ignorance, stupidity, apathy, or a combination of all the above.

Mar. 12 2011 03:25 PM
Phil from Park slope

I literally wept when I heard that major meats in coney island was closing after some 75 years in business--to be made into a parking lot of all things. Progress--ugh.

Mar. 07 2011 12:45 PM
Michael from Manhattan

I agree completely with Bernie from Brooklyn. It seems as if so many in the elite media (and there is a media elite, no matter how they try to deny it), especially in the NY Times and "New York" magazine, prefer having upper middle class Ivy Leaguers (and non-New Yorkers) to write about and define New York City. "Natives" they ignore again and again. I'm going to buy two copies of this book.

Mar. 07 2011 12:40 PM
art525 from Park Slope

Since you weren't familiar with Estes paintings here are some examples.

Mar. 07 2011 12:40 PM
Jack Cazes from Valley Stream, NY

I have a 5and 10 store in Valley Stream. The store has been here for over 75 years. First as a Woolworth then as "Morris" variety. I feel like the Murray's were talking about my store.

Mar. 07 2011 12:40 PM
Frank Lotz from Fort Lee NJ

What a wonderful service the Murray's have done for the History of the City.
They should be honored by the Museum of the City of New York.

Mar. 07 2011 12:36 PM
Marcus from nyc

Wow. I hadn't realized all the restrictions the city was placing on small biz around the city. Can't have a neon sign? I guess they're paving the way for putting the little guy out, and moving the big box store in.

Mar. 07 2011 12:35 PM
JR of NYC from New York

Glad to hear a program like this on WNYC (and was immediately riveted by Lopate's introduction); there should be many more segments discussing the destruction by real estate and "development" interests, aided always by big-money-loving mayors and governors, of New York's beautiful and ugly character, which is being plowed under forever to attract people to the city who don't intend to live here and will in many cases pay far less in taxes than they should. The new New York, or Houston on the Hudson, is pretty much here.
The authors and photographers of this book are admirable.

Mar. 07 2011 12:30 PM
bernie from bklyn

so nice to hear native new yorkers talk about new york. seems rare these days....people from iowa talking about how bad gentrification is when they ARE the gentrification.
one exception to that- rosey perez. leonard loves her but listening to her talk about "the old days" of brooklyn is really hard to endure.

Mar. 07 2011 12:28 PM
Danielle from Washington Heights

This is a beautiful record for graphic designers! All these original, elegant, and authentic designs have such character that corporate America could never capture. Thank you.

Mar. 07 2011 12:27 PM
p2b from nYc

Thanks for documenting these stores. It is so sad to see these gems disappear. You should start a community online project for people to post pictures of their neighborhood favorites.

Mar. 07 2011 12:24 PM
a g from n j

hating to bust a "candy bubble",but providing cheap candy, to keep kids off drugs, is nuts. refined carb junk,actually induces nutrient deficiencies, and blood sugar shifts, that bring on cravings for alcohol and other drugs....sorry..

Mar. 07 2011 12:21 PM
art525 from Park Slope

I love the book. I agree with Caroline and thank you for preserving the memories. They remind me of Richard Estes paintings. Was he an influence?

Mar. 07 2011 12:19 PM
joho from nyc

I wonder what their thoughts are on zoe leonards 'Analogue'. Another breathtaking tackle of the subject.

Mar. 07 2011 12:14 PM
Caroline from NJ

I LOVE your book, thank you so much for preserving evidence of these precious human traces in your photographs. Looking at your work hones my own eye to better distinguish the archeological layers in my hometown. History exists, even in Jersey! Thanks for having the Murrays on and love you too, Lenny.

Mar. 07 2011 11:24 AM

if we keep going the way we are going,we will soon be able to cover all bases, by having a photo of a duane-reade,a bank of america,and a starbucks. maybe then, we'll all go to vegas, to get to new york.

Mar. 07 2011 10:22 AM

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