Rendering by James and Karla Murray
Photographers and Untapped Cities contributors, James and Karla Murray, have long been documenting the disappearing storefronts of New York City. As part of their larger mission to support small mom-and-pop businesses, they’ve published several books with photos of these vanishing shops, including their acclaimed series: Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York and Store Front II – A History Preserved: The Disappearing Face of New York, as well as New York Nights. Now, they’re taking their project off pages and bringing a large scale art installation to Seward Park. The forthcoming, wood-frame structure will feature four nearly life-size images of Lower East Side businesses — a bodega, a luncheonette (the recently shuttered Cup & Saucer), a vintage store and a newsstand — that have been lost to time.
James and Karla tell us that they’re still in the pre-production phase of the project, called “Mom-and-Pops of the L.E.S,” which will be installed in June. The exact placement within the park as well as the dimensions of the installation have not been confirmed yet. However, they’re expecting the installation to measure approximately 12 feet x 8 feet x 8 feet.
“Our goal in creating this sculptural storefront installation is to help raise awareness of the plight of “mom-and-pop” businesses in our community and the positive impact they have on the fabric and texture of their surrounding neighborhood,” they told us in an email.
The Lo-Down reports that the installation is part of the Art in the Parks UNIQLO Park Expressions Grant Program, a partnership between the NYC Parks Department and the Japanese clothing company, which began in 2016. Each year, the collaboration brings 10 art installations to city parks that have typically lacked arts and cultural programming.
Next, see out Spotlight on Gem Spa, the Iconic East Village Newsstand, Egg Cream Shop and Candy Store, and see photos from “Store Front II” (NYC’s Endangered Small Businesses).