Store Front II - A History Preserved: The Disappearing Face of New York

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9781584236047: Store Front II - A History Preserved: The Disappearing Face of New York
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James and Karla Murray have been capturing impeccable photographs from the streets of New York City since the 1990s; Store Front II chronicles their continued efforts to document a little-known but vitally important cross-section of New York's Mom and Pop economy. The Murrays' penetrating photographs are only half the story, though. In the course of their travels throughout the city's boroughs the Murrays have taken great care to document the stories behind the scenery. Their copious background texts, gleaned largely from interviews with the stores' owners and employees, bring wonderful color and nuance to the importance of these unique one-off establishments. The Murrays have rendered the out of the way bodegas, candy shops and record stores just as faithfully as the historically important institutions and well known restaurants, bars and cafes. From the Stonewall Inn to the Brownsville Bike Shop and The Pink Pussycat to Smith and Wolensky, the Murrays reveal how New York's long-standing mom & pop businesses stand in sharp contrast to the city's rapidly evolving corporate facade.

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About the Author:

James and Karla Murray are New York basedprofessional photographers and authors. The authors' landmark 2008 book, Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York, was cited in Bookforum as one of the "Exemplary Art Books From The Past Two Decades." New YorkNights was the winner of theprestigious New York Society Library's 2012 New York City Book Award. James and Karla Murray's work has been exhibited widely in major institutions and galleries including the Brooklyn Historical Society and The New-York Historical Society and included in the permanent collections of major institutions such as NYU Langone Medical Center, The Brooklyn Historical Society and the New York Public Library.  James and Karla live in Manhattan with their dog Hudson.

Review:

"Mom and Pop shops--small, family-run businesses--are dying off in New York City at an alarming rate. They are being squeezed out by gentrification, skyrocketing rents, and competition by big impersonal chains. And so far Mayor Bill de Blasio seems disinclined to do anything about it.
That's why James and Karla Murray's new coffee table-sized book, Store Front II: A History Preserved, is so crucial. Like anthropologists rushing to document an isolated Amazonian tribe before civilization encroaches, the Murrays are racing to record Mom and Pop shops before the wrecking ball arrives.
The Murrays' first volume, Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York, was published in 2000; a depressing two-thirds of its subjects no longer exist. Store Front II just came out this year, but already an alarming one-fifth of its contents have closed.
If you are a longtime New Yorker, the experience of reading Store Front II
 is like perusing the most beautiful old family photography album in the world. On every other page are beloved but deceased relatives." - Huffington Post

"In 2008, photographers James and Karla Murray publishedStore Front: The Disappearing Face of New York. That book garnered much praise, both as art and as documentation of endangered mom-and-pop businesses in New York. Adding poignancy to the images are many examples of the disappearances of such shops in recent years, victims of rising commercial rents, gentrification, and corporate retail encroachment. The threat is real: almost two-thirds of the businesses photographed in the Murrays' first book have vanished in the short time since its publication. They continue their project with this follow-up effort, covering all five of New York's boroughs (Manhattan and Brooklyn receive the most attention). The subtitle of this new volume speaks to their desire to preserve the businesses, if only in photos. Troubling urban politics aside, the images are beautiful and so precise (the oversized format helps, too) that readers will get lost in them, savoring the weathered facades; hand-lettered signs; neon; awnings; and crowded window displays. VERDICT Fans of fine photography, and those concerned about urban issues will find much to absorb here." - The Library Journal

"Back in the late 90s, the photographers James and Karla Murray settled on a project: to catalogue New York's most compelling storefronts with a 35mm camera. What began as a personal mission became an epic five-borough endeavour - and a race against time. Murrays' new book Store Front II: A History Preserved, the Disappearing Face of New York is the concluding part of a trilogy. It's their second "daytime" book; the first was published in 2009 - withNew York Nights (2012), chronicling Big Apple facades after dark, sandwiched in between. Another volume is unlikely, given the commercial quicksands undermining these businesses. There is a sense of urgency to the images: one-fifth of the stores in the current book have since closed; while two-thirds of the stores featured in the first book are no more." - The Guardian

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