Mom-and-Pop shops add to the unique character of each New York City neighborhood but unfortunately, due to many factors including sky-rocketing rent prices, an exponential amount of mom-and-pops have disappeared. In order to raise awareness of the importance of mom-and-pop shops to the fabric of the community, a new sculptural art installation has been installed in Seward Park.

Mom-and-Pops of the L.E.S.” features photographs taken by NYC based photographers James and Karla Murray of four small, family owned shops in the Lower East Side, most of which have already closed down. Represented in the photographs are a bodega, a coffee shop/luncheonette, a delicatessen, and a newsstand; small businesses that according to the project’s Kickstarter campaign, “were common in the Lower East Side and helped bring the community together through people’s daily interactions.”

This near life-sized installation can be seen inside the park on Essex Street and East Broadway. The wood-framed sculpture stands eight feet high and is twelve feet wide. The photographs are printed on dibond, an aluminum composite material that is weather, UV, freeze and heat-resistant and also has a graffiti-resistant laminate applied. The installation will be up for an entire year from July 2018 through July 2019. If you are or become an Untapped Cities Insider, you can join a special walkthrough of the installation and visit nearby mom-and-pops with photographers James and Karla Murray for free on Friday, July 6th!

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Image Courtesy of James & Karla Murray

Photographers, authors, and Untapped Cities contributors, James and Karla Murray, have long been documenting the disappearing storefronts of New York City and are the authors of Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New Yorkand Store Front II – A History Preserved: The Disappearing Face of New Yorkas well as New York Nights.

Image Courtesy of James & Karla Murray Image Courtesy of James & Karla Murray

See our full list of Untapped Cities Insiders Tours and our upcoming Public Tours.