Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Neil's Coffee Shop on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

This ‪#‎coffee‬ shop was founded in the 1950s and has been owned by the same extended family since 1980. The overhanging ‪#‎neon‬ ‪#‎sign‬ is original and the family lovingly maintains it. The second-generation owner Chris Kaloudis told us that they have many long time customers who come in on a regular basis and who have "grown up" with the ‪#‎restaurant‬. Photo from 2009 appears in our book "New York Nights" along with a full interview with owner Chris.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Jimmy's Stationery & Toys, Bed-Stuy, ‪‎Brooklyn

Jimmy's Stationery & Toys in Bed-Stuy, ‪#‎Brooklyn‬ was in business for over 80 years before it was forced to close earlier this year after a new landlord purchased the building and evicted the retail tenant for having an expired lease. James "Jimmy" Leary purchased the store in 1968 leaving the storefront with its original tin ceiling, long counter, glass ‪#‎candy‬ case and two private wooden telephone booths. Although in more recent years the telephones were removed by the phone company, the booths remained and became a popular hangout for Jimmy's pet cat Sheshe. When Jimmy was evicted in May, the cat was still locked inside the store, and Jimmy had to fight his new landlord in court to have his cat returned to him.

Photo from 2006 appears in our book "STORE FRONT: The Disappearing Face of New York" along with a full interview with Jimmy Leary who told us that the very first Teddy Bear was created right next door to his store.

Monday, September 28, 2015

STORE FRONT II : A History Preserved at STRAND!

 Acclaimed NYC photographers James and Karla Murray continue their dive into the history and the ever-changing face of the city with Store Front II.
November 16: 7:30PM – 8:30PM in the Rare Book Room.
Check back soon for ticket information.

happy balloons, nyc.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Rudy's Music Stop was founded by Rudy Pensa and his wife Fran in 1978 on 48th Street "Music Row"

The ‪#‎music‬ store specializes in electric, acoustic, bass, and ‪#‎vintage‬ ‪#‎guitar‬ as well as amps and accessories for ‪#‎guitarists‬. It recently was forced to close this iconic location but is still open in its SoHo location.

Photo from 2011 appears in our upcoming book "STORE FRONT II" along with full interview with Rudy Pensa. We loved this shop and were sad to hear that it was closing but Rudy himself told us that "he doesn't own the building and can be forced to go at any time."

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hudson out & about in NYC...

 With actor photographer Shirley Duglinski at B&H  Dairy's re-opening in The East Village...

With Karla  at Nom Wah Tea Parlor in Chinatown...

Checking out the street art in Midtown...

Lending his support at Adoptapalooza in Union Square...

With Kelvin, who's wearing Junya Watanabe, a Japanese fashion designer, originally the protégé of Comme des Garçons designer Rei Kawakubo, on St. Marks Place...

And back at B& H Dairy for some challah bread from owner Ola!

BROKEN WINDOWS: Graffiti NYC in good company!

Thanks to Audrey at MAS for the pic! Art Books section at the Barnes & Noble on 7th Ave in Brooklyn...
Now in HARDCOVER edition with 70 more pages and previously unpublished images. Full of vibrant, energetic and explosive full-color images, this wide format -page book gives voice to an art movement that is largely undocumented and often misunderstood. It features extensive graffiti artist interviews, covering topics such as tags, styles, motivation, crews, authorities, and the future of graffiti art. Five oversized fold-out gatefolds present some of the largest productions painted in NYC since 1996.  254 pages 5 gatefolds Hardcover $39.95

The critics on BROKEN WINDOWS:

Broken Windows documents the Giuliani-era explosion of "productions"?the usually legal, multi-writer pieces that began appearing on store gates, buildings, walls, and train tunnels?and "bombs," the illegal, controversial signatures that seemed to swarm the city. Like Chalfant and Cooper's Subway Art, Broken Windows becomes a salute to the graf-writers' visual genius.
Jeff Chang The Village Voice 

A must-have book gets a major upgrade!
Royce Bannon The Source

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

West 45th Street vertical theater ‪#‎signage‬.

We love this block in the ‪#‎theater‬ district since it has so many gorgeous historic theaters each with their own giant vertical ‪#‎signs‬. The Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre was built in 1917 and designed by Herbert J. Krapp for the Shubert Organization and was the architect's first independent commission. It has interior design motifs in the Adamesque 18th century neoclassical style. The Bernard B. Jacobs and the John Golden Theatre built in 1927 were also designed by Krapp in the unifying theme of modern Spanish style. ‪

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Cheyenne Diner was in business from 1940 until April 2008.

The #stainless steel and #glassbrick diner was forced to close when the owner, Spiros Kasimis, lost his lease on the #diner in order to make way for a nine-story apartment building. The photo was taken in 2004 and  a different version appears in our book "Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York".

Friday, September 18, 2015

In Honor of ‪#‎NationalCheeseburgerDay‬....Cozy Soup 'n' Burger in Greenwich Village

Cozy Soup 'n' Burger in Greenwich Village has been in business since 1972 and has been in the same family since opening.

We interviewed Demetrios Benetos, second-generation owner for our book NEW YORK NIGHTS, where this photograph also appears:
"My two uncles opened this restaurant in 1972 after emigrating here from Greece. I am the first-generation in our family to be born here in the United States and I’ve been working here for the last eight years. My uncles still work alongside me and I think this family atmosphere really sets this place apart. This area of the Village has changed significantly since we opened. There were many more retail stores, including lots of shoe stores along Eighth Street but now most of them have gone out of business and been replaced by food stores. So we have lots more competition than we ever had in the past.  The vertical neon sign outside is original but the large neon along the front was installed in 1999. We really love are neon signs but they are so problematic. We have to turn them off every times it rains because they short out. It is getting more and more expensive to maintain the sign but it definitely helps bring in customers. . Our menu has stayed pretty much the same with diner staples including ‪#‎cheeseburgers‬ , ‪#‎soup‬, ‪#‎sandwiches‬ and ‪#‎fries‬ but we have added some new things such as health-conscious items. We hope to be here for a long time but we do not own the building. Luckily, we have a long-term lease at a fair market price." ‪

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A visit to Cup & Saucer in New York City's Lower East Side

CUP & SAUCER on Canal Street at Eldridge Street on the Lower East Side was founded as a Jewish luncheonette complete with a lunch counter and stools as well as a small seating area.

The store front on Canal Street. Cup & Saucer has been co-owned by John Vasilopoulos and Nick Castanos since 1988. We recently spoke with John... "We took over this luncheonette from the second owner in 1988, but we haven’t really changed a thing about it. We have the same interior and the same original signage from the Coca-Cola Company. As long as the bolts holding our sign in place hang on, we plan to keep it. Cup & Saucer was founded in 1940 when this area was the center of the Jewish-owned jewelry trade. Now most of the Jewish jewelry places have closed and moved to the midtown Diamond District and Chinese-owned stores have moved into the neighborhood. So we lost most of our old-time customer base and corporate accounts."

John Vasilopoulos behind the counter. The Narrow space has stool seating on the counter side and window seating on the other with views of the always busy seat corner. This photo was taken during a quiet moment the day before school started. We returned a couple days later for breakfast and the place was packed with a line out the door. 

Inlaid on the terrazzo floor is a gold cup and saucer. John continued... "Years back, we had our regular clientele who didn’t even have to place an order, we would just see them walk in and start cooking their food and pouring their coffee for them. Our menu, however, has stayed the same with eggs in the morning and hamburgers and simple sandwiches for lunch. We close by 6 pm so complicated dinner offerings are not an issue."

John behind the front counter. Cup & Saucer keeps their prices very reasonable with breakfast specials served from 6:30 am to 11 am starting at $5.00 for two eggs any style, potatoes & toast with coffee, tea or juice! 
"We try to keep our prices reasonable but it has been difficult because the price of raw materials just keeps on going up and up. Both my partner and I ran a food business uptown before we lost our lease and took this over so we know what it takes to survive."

The 1940's over-hanging privilege sign. John told us recently that the building they are located was just sold to new owners and he expects the rent to double. ."..we don’t own the building and our lease is expiring in a couple of years so unfortunately our future is uncertain."
Interview and photo (© 2015) of Cup & Saucer appear in our upcoming book STORE FRONT II: A History Preserved  which will be released in November, 2015 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Fares Deli Grocery located on Avenue A near Tompkins Square Park is no longer in business.

This was a typical #eastvillage neighborhood bodega which sold a wide variety of food and nonfood items. The word #bodega reflects its ethnic connection to Latino areas in New York City, where they are often the only food supply source because of the lack of local supermarkets. In this case, Fares was replaced by a more upscale neighborhood delicatessen. Photo from 2009 appears in our upcoming book due out November 2015, "STORE FRONT II - A History Preserved".

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Paris Bar, Berlin

Open since the 1950s, this diner-style restaurant serves high-end French fare, from foie gras to onion soup. When Iggy Pop and Bowie lived in Berlin they often ate at the Paris Bar. The restaurant is the scene of an infamous Rolling Stone interview where the journalist described the cafe as a scene from Degas' The Absinthe Drinkers and Iggy got so drunk he ended up rolling around in the ice outside. ‪#‎paris‬ ‪#‎berlin‬ ‪#‎bar‬

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Russ & Daughters Cafe on Orchard Street

Russ & Daughters Cafe on Orchard Street in the #lowereastside was opened by the fourth-generation owners of the famous Russ & Daughters Appetizing Store, Niki Russ Federman and Joshua Tupper. The cafe serves their iconic smoked #fish, pickled herring, latkes, and #caviar along with egg sandwiches, soup and even egg creams. We love how they kept the retro vibe of their 100 year old store with the tiled floors. Now there is a place to sit down and have #bagels and #lox instead of just carrying them outside.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Coca Cola, The Mole People and Dorothea Lange: The story behind the artist FREEDOM's classic mural in the tunnel that bears his name.

In the late 1990's we interviewed the artist FREEDOM for our book BROKEN WINDOWS, Graffiti NYC. Among the other topics that appear in our book, we were most fascinated by his explanation of the long mural that he painted with fellow artist SMITH in the train tunnel that runs under Manhattan's westside. Here's what he told us:

I don’t think you can make art when you are 15-20 years old, and if you do, it’s usually by accident.  I mean great, all the more power to you.  It’s not unlike writing.  I think you have to have something to say and a way to say it.  I found out by trial and error by painting down in the tunnel that a lot of what I was painting was more illustration than anything else.  It was a pretty illustration.  It wasn’t visceral, it didn’t challenge me in any way.  It wasn’t what I expect art to be.  I think you are very lucky when you make art and I haven’t done it that many times, but I would say that the Coca-Cola painting has an interesting history to it because there were a series of paintings done in that same spot over the years….  That spot was picked because it had good lighting coming from the grates overhead.  But I really like that long spot because you really have to have something to say when you paint there.

What happened was, one of the early Soul Artists, his name was COCA, had pieces down there.  And I kept on bumping into these pieces by COCA82, whom I had a reverence for.  And I was like, “I can’t touch him,” because you don’t want to go over COCA.  So in 1988, I decided to paint in that spot and at the time crack had become so prevalent on the upper west side and down in the tunnel… and it came out just when the “New Coke” came out.  And I thought, “Alright, there’s some irony, you know, word play.  I’ll do a Coke can painting.”  So did this new Coke can, which was kind of crushed.  So I did that and I always swore that when that got painted over that I would put something in the new image that I felt was summing things up….  COCA would have to be in there because he had kind of a lineage to it.  So when the wall got painted over by Amtrak when they took over….  That’s how the Coca-Cola thing wound up there.  As both a cross-reference to crack and a reference to COCA82, as sort of homage to him. 

The other parts of the Coca-Cola painting done in 1996 well…when SANE died.  I don’t know how much you know about SANE and SMITH.  But SANE and SMITH were brothers and they were the kings of the city.  They were just running the city.  They were unbelievable.  They did everything that graffiti writers should aspire to do in many ways.  And then SANE died.  He either fell or jumped off a bridge in Queens at the age of 20-21.  And when that happened SMITH, who was his partner, gave me half of his ashes because SANE had done so many paintings in the tunnel and hat sat around the fire with me and Bernard and the other guys in the tunnel.  And I think this is a beautiful story.  SMITH took the #1 train down from 242nd Street to the South Ferry and all along the way, he stood in between the cars and let a little bit of the ashes fall out.  And then he gave me the other half and he said, “You know when you do a painting that would mean something about SANE, then scatter the ashes down there, because that’s where he would want his ashes scattered.  So that happened in like 1991 and I had the ashes kicking around my house for a long time.  And I remember my girlfriend at that time…and I was thinking, “Jeez, I have his ashes here and I feel like I should scatter them, but I don’t want to just do a fake a painting just to scatter his ashes.”  And her thing was, “Look, you know, LEE is coming over here and CRASH is coming over here, and all these great graffiti artists that SANE loved so much…so it’s just like he’d be more than happy to be here for a while.”  So that was cool, and then I didn’t think about it much.

And then in 1996. I got word from the Coalition for the Homeless that Andrew Cuomo was able to get 8 or 9 million dollars exclusively earmarked for the “Mole People” who were living in the tunnels.  And I got very active and involved in trying to get a lot of those homeless guys out of there.  And the deal that was struck with Amtrak, was that Amtrak was going to seal off the tunnel on July 2, 1996 and this was six months prior to this.  So that everybody would plenty of time to get out.  And what they offered was $750 toward their rent in an apartment anywhere they wanted for the next 5 years, which is a pretty sweet deal.  But the irony was that the guys did not want to leave.  And a lot of people did not take the deadline seriously and they really had to drag them out.  So when the time was ending…I mean, it was really coming down to a thing where the tunnel was ending and all these people who I had documented and had lived with and had talked to and did drawings and paintings of…and my own works were really going to come to an end.  Because I was not looking forward to running from the cops to make paintings and I really hadn’t done a painting down there in a few years.  

So I kind of had to sum things up and I got the idea from Dorothea Lange, the Great Depression era photographer, who did a wonderful shot called, “Buy American.”  And it’s the nuclear family, this really happy family.  And Dad is in his car driving along and his wife is sort of beaming at him and there is a little kid…and below that is an image of a bread line in the 1930’s and all these people are standing there hovering…waiting for bread.  And it dawned on me that I was from a generation that was reading history books that showed depression era images and those sunk in.  And there was the Great Depression and there were depression era images. But it had never really come full circle.  I mean, I would sit outside a church on 86th and Riverside Drive and I would draw these homeless guys waiting on line to get a hot meal.  And yes, it’s a different set of circumstances than the bread lines of the 1930’s depression…but the images are essentially the same.  I had the realization that history had repeated itself, at least visually, from the Depression.  And I felt that that should be the image for the final image in the tunnel.  But I felt that I didn’t want to portray the homeless that way.  I didn’t want to hit you over the head with the homeless like that and have them all lined up.  So I drew the nuclear family instead, and cropped out the bread line.  But then I knew I had to make some reference to the mole people because there was no way of getting around them.  So I painted Dick Tracy grabbing the mole and pushing him down.  And on the left of that is the Coke sign and then there is a portrait of Bernard on the far left and a portrait of Bob on the far right (2 homeless men who lived in the tunnel), each one looking one direction, one south and one north.  And at the very end is the SANE piece that SMITH did, which had an American flag theme through it.  I painted everything but the SANE piece.  I mean, I could have done the SANE piece, but I wanted SMITH to do it because I felt that it was more appropriate.  

And when I finished painting, I put SANE’s ashes in front of the entire mural.  It was a defining moment for me.

FREEDOM as told to James & Karla Murray © 2015

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

MANZ bookstore in Vienna, Austria has been in business since 1912

 The #bookstore specializes in supplying all those "in search of the law" with juridical literature of the highest quality. This fabulous #storefront was designed by the famous Austrian #architect Adolf Loos, who is a distant relative of Karla. We loved its symmetry and couldn't resist taking this photo when we visited Vienna. #architecture #sign #type #books #bookstagram

Saturday, September 5, 2015

G&S Pork Store in Brooklyn is a fourth-generation family owned store that has been in business since the 1940s.

This #salumeria specializes in #Italian sausages, which they make fresh daily as well as different cuts of #beef and #pork. We absolutely love this #sign with the 2 smartly dressed pigs holding #sausages. We can't think of a better place to get supplies for a #barbecue this #laborday weekend!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015