In the late 1990s, James and Karla Murray started photographing storefronts in New York after visiting a candy store in Bedford-Stuyvesant whose colorful sign caught their eye. When they went back a few months later, the store was gone.
a�?It changed the neighborhood,a�? Ms. Murray said. a�?So we started to document shops.a�?
The Murrays have lived in the East Village for 22 years. And they have highlighted some of the family-owned stores they frequented in a�?Mom-and-Pops of the L.E.S.,a�? a mixed media art installation recently opened in Seward Park on the Lower East Side. All of the storefronts represented, except for Katza��s Delicatessen, have shuttered.
The Lower East Side has long been a favorite of photographers a�� from Jacob Riis in the late 1880s to Bud Glick a century later a�� who documented the shifting culture as immigrants moved in and, later, out to different neighborhoods. Like so many other parts of New York, rising rents have driven out local residents who called it home for decades.
Ebony Pace, a dance movement therapist who has lived in the neighborhood for three years, recently walked past what she thought was a kiosk selling sodas. Instead, it was one side of the installation: a photo illustration of a deli and grocery where the Murrays once shopped. The other three sides of the structure show a luncheonette, a newsstand and a delicatessen.