Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Photography from our visit to Artist Rob Wynne’s Soho loft for 6sqft...

Full article:

“If you have something to say, you figure out what material will help you fulfill that density,” said artist Rob Wynne, referencing the various mediums in which he works, from hand-embroidered paintings to sculpture to molten glass. It’s this “alchemy” that is currently being explored through his exhibit “FLOAT” at the Brooklyn Museum, a show of 16 works that “seemingly floating within the American Art galleries.” But Wynne’s talent is perhaps on display nowhere more so that his home and studio in Soho."

OLDIES BUT GOODIES in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn was founded in 1972 by Evelyn Barbarino.

The shop specializes in a wide variety of antique jewelry, figurines and assorted household items. We interviewed Evelyn in 2013 (when she was 91 years old) for our book "Store Front II - A History Preserved" and she shared with us that, “Before I opened this store I had an outside table in Manhattan on 26th Street at 6th Ave. where I sold antiques. But the lot was sold and eventually a large building was erected in its place. When I first opened my store in the late 1970s, this neighborhood was strictly Italian and Jewish but now it has become mostly Chinese. They are good customers but I often have a language barrier with them because I don’t speak Chinese and many of them don’t speak English. I have to write prices down for them on paper and we negotiate that way. I rent this space on a month-to-month lease and my landlord just raised my rent considerably. I don’t want to leave but if the rent goes up again, I will be forced to close. This store is a home away from home for me and I am always here, seven days a week.” We are happy to report that the shop and Evelyn are still going strong ๐Ÿ’ช!!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Frank’s Shoe Repairs in the Inwood neighborhood of upper Manhattan.

When we took this #analog photo in 2004 for our book, “Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York” we had a chance to speak with the owner who told us that he had learned the art of shoe ๐Ÿ‘ž making and repairing from his father but that his kids were not really interested in the business as it was such hard work and long hours. We have sadly heard this from many #cobblers and we imagine this is one of the reasons why there has been a drastic decrease in the amount of shoe repair shops in the city. Coupled with the fact that many people these days purchase as Frank puts it, “cheaper “throw-away” shoes often made with plastic that are simply not worth repairing.”

We are curious as to how many small shoe repair businesses have closed in other parts of the USA and around the world ๐ŸŒ. Let us know!

Saturday, February 23, 2019


To read about our work documenting the historic Mom-and-Pop Shops of New York City, please visit the blog of The Journal of Antique Archeology @antiquearchaeology & Mike Wolfe, American Picker @mikewolfeamericanpicker.

"James and Karla Murray photograph and interview shopkeepers who’ve served their communities for more than century."


Many thanks to Sarah Buckholtz for the Storytelling Article and to Mike Wolfe for including us in his @antiquearchaeology blog where you can read more interesting stories about Mike who is a finder and rescuer of objects with a deep appreciation of America’s history, values and stories.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

This Hobby Shop in Richmond Hill, Queens was founded in 1964.

When we took this photo in 2010 for our book, “Store Front II- A History Preserved” we interviewed the manager who told us that the owner built model planes ✈️ and cars ๐Ÿš— as a hobby before opening the store but that they “now specialize in radio control cars and sell parts and do repairs but we have a full line of other hobby items too. Many of our customers have been coming here for years and often now even bring their grandchildren in with them.” We not only loved hearing about the history of the shop but also fell in love with this #hobbyshop original #signage with its model train ๐Ÿš‚ and plane.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Washington Square Diner, Greenwich Village, NYC

This #diner has been in business since 1977 and is located just down the street from Washington Square Park, which in 1889 to celebrate the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration as president of the United States ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ a large wood and plaster memorial arch was constructed. The temporary arch was so popular that in 1892 a permanent arch made of Tuckahoe marble, designed by Stanford White, was erected. We are sure that many people who meet up in the park have wandered down the street to eat at this popular diner.

Monday, February 18, 2019

D’ Aiuto Bakery, Chelsea, NYC

D’ Aiuto Bakery on Eighth Avenue across the street from Madison Square Garden was best known for their “Baby Watson Cheesecake”. The #bakery opened in 1924 and 2nd-generation owner, Mario D'Aiuto took over the business from his father in 1977.

When we photographed the shop in 2008 for our book “New York Nights” we spoke with Mario who told us, “When I took over the bakery and decided to specialize in cheesecake manufacturing, my buyers persuaded me not to use the D'Auito name on the product because they said it was too hard to pronounce. So I chose "Watson" as an American name and added the "Baby" because "everyone loves babies". Nowadays, the Baby Watson Cheesecake is in such demand that we start baking at 4AM and bake around 40,000 cheesecakes a day and then flash-freeze them and ship them out worldwide. We use over 40,000 pounds of cream cheese and 3,000 gallons of heavy cream delivered every other day to make our cheesecakes.” •

Sadly the bakery ๐Ÿฐclosed in 2013 and the building was sold but the #storefront remained vacant and untouched (except for graffiti on its facade) for years. We learned however from our friend @rinaldit2 that its #neonsign has finally been removed. We are not sure what will be moving into the space but we can be fairly certain that it will NOT be an authentic family-owned Italian ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Bakery.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

P&G Cafe, Upper West Side, NYC

P&G Cafe, a family-owned bar on the Upper West Side was named In honor of the owner’s two sons, Paul and George. This beloved bar was in business from 1933 from to 2009. When we photographed the bar in 2004 for our book “Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York” we also interviewed the third-generation owner, Tom Chahalis who told us that “We have no business cards, no napkins, no matches. We don’t need them. Unfortunately, my lease is up at the end of 2008 and I’ll be forced to leave because the community leaders don’t really want to have a bar here. They want this street (Amsterdam Ave) to be another Madison Avenue.” We always loved this place and wonder what happened to the large neon Cocktail ๐Ÿธ Glass flanked by the words “Steaks” “Chops”.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Raul Candy Store, East Village, NYC

Raul Candy Store in Alphabet City (East Village) has been in business since 1979. The #handpainted sign and #storefront are original. Since #ValentinesDay is coming up in just a few days, we wanted to highlight this store as a place to buy some sweets ๐Ÿซ ๐Ÿญ for yourself or loved ๐Ÿ’˜one. Sadly the owner, Raul Santiago, has just announced that he will be closing his #candystore at the end of this month so please stop inside soon. (They still sell candy for as little as 5 cents ๐Ÿฌ) When we took this #analog photo in 2003 for our book “Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York” we interviewed Raul who told us “I opened this candy store in 1979 when this neighborhood was really in trouble. Although things have changed for the better, I still care about the children who live around here and I’ve always tried to keep the neighborhood kids away from drugs.”

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Rosemary’s Greenpoint Tavern, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Rosemary’s Greenpoint Tavern has been in business since 1955 and despite its name is located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. (Although now on Bedford Avenue it was originally located at Green St at Manhattan Ave in Greenpoint). This #divebar ๐Ÿบwith 86-year old owner Rosemary Bleday tending bar will sadly be closing on February 28th. Cheers ๐Ÿป to Rosemary!!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Joe’s Locksmith ๐Ÿ”, East Village, NYC

We fell in love with this #locksmith shop’s #handpainted signage when we first began photographing #storefronts in the late 1990s. Sadly this shop along with its corner neighbor, Mars Bar, was forced to close to make way for a new luxury rental tower building. Since 2014 there has been a TD bank on the new building’s ground floor (taking up the space of both the former Mars Bar located at the corner and the site of this locksmith). It breaks our heart to see that glass and steel bank every time we walk down Second Avenue towards Houston Street.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Papaya King, Upper East Side, NYC

Papaya King was founded in 1932 by Constantine Poulos on the corner of Third Avenue and 86th Street. Constantine “Gus” Poulos created Papaya King after falling in love with a papaya drink while on vacation in Cuba. Gus was a young Greek immigrant who owned a deli in Yorkville and after figuring out how to get fresh fruit to New York City, sold the deli and opened up his fresh tropical juice stand specializing in the creamy orange-colored drink made from the pulp of the papaya fruit. He also added fresh-squeezed strawberry ๐Ÿ“ shakes and coconut drink mixed with papaya juice to the menu. It wasn’t until he fell in love with and married a young German-American woman, who introduced him to popular German food from the neighborhood, that he decided to also sell frankfurters at his juice stand.  We not only love @papayaking hot dogs and papaya drink but also their iconic #neon sign which was installed in the 1960s. The full photo (this was cropped for IG) appears in our book “Store Front II-A History Preserved” among with an interview with the nephew of the founder, Mr. Poulos.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Richard’s Barber Shop in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

We absolutely love the combination of the #handpainted signage in the window and the #stenciled scissors ✂️, comb, razor, pick, and hairbrush on the roll gate and the letter “P” falling off the main #signage. This #analog photo from 2004 which appears in our book “Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York” and 15 other of our #storefront photos are part of the exhibition “The Business of Brooklyn” at the Brooklyn Historical Society’s @brooklynhistory location at Pierrepoint Street in Brooklyn Heights. The exhibition closes next Saturday, February 16th and we would love to hear from anyone who saw the exhibition.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Photography from our visit to an architect's 500sqft Hell's Kitchen apartment for 6sqft...

Full article:

"Shanghai native Nicky Chang is nothing if not accomplished in her field, having graduated from the Yale School of Architecture and worked for firms such as Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. But when she had a chance to combine her passions of architecture, interior design, and culinary arts, she couldn’t pass up the chance. Nicky is now the co-founder and head of design and strategy at Junzi Kitchen, a fast-casual Northern Chinese restaurant founded on Yale’s campus with locations in Morningside Heights, Greenwich Village, and soon at Bryant Park."

To honor Bob Marley’s birthday yesterday, we are posting Sobre Los Verdes aka Clive’s Cafe in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami.

Clive’s specialized in Jamaican & “Amican” food including oxtail, curry goat, and jerk chicken. When we took this photo in 2007, the neighborhood was not gentrified and was largely industrial and home to many warehouses and auto body shops. Sadly, Clive’s was forced to close after 38 years in business in 2013 when its lease was not renewed as #Wynwood was being developed into a trendy arts district.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

In honor of the #yearofthepig ๐Ÿทon this first day of the #lunarnewyear we are highlighting G&S Pork Store in Brooklyn.

This family-owned Pork ๐Ÿ–Store or #salumeria not only sells homemade #Italian ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น pork sausages but all sells exclusively hanging #primebeef. We especially love the #signage with its happy pigs holding sausages in their hooves. Happy Year of the Pig ๐Ÿฝ everyone!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Yuen Yuen Restaurant, Chinatown, NYC

In honor of #ChineseNewYear, which officially begins on February 5th, 2019, we are highlighting Yuen Yuen Restaurant, a Chinatown #diner known for its inexpensive but delicious dishes. The Chinese New Year kicks off with the new moon and celebrations last for 15 days, culminating when the full moon ๐ŸŒ• arrives. 2019 is the year of the pig ๐Ÿท!

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Fedora NYC's New and Old Neon Sign, West Village, NYC

The original Fedora restaurant located on W. 4th Street by W. 10th Street in the West Village was in business from 1952 to 2010.

Our friend @Rachel4D who knows that we are huge fans of everything #vintage and especially #neon signage contacted us to let us know that although the restaurant has been renovated and under the ownership of restauranteur Gabriel Stulman the original #neonsign from 1952 that once graced the facade of the #storefront is sitting in the back garden area of the building. Below is our photo of the original #signage sitting in the garden and the new sign for "Fedora" that was created to match the older original sign. They also kept part of the original bar (10 seats to be exact) and a photo of Fedora Dorato sits framed behind the bar. We originally photographed Fedora in 2009 for our book "New York Nights" and also spoke with Fedora's son, Charles about the history of the space. He told us, 

 Lots of people think that my mother was named after the hat, but she was born in Italy and was named after the opera by Umberto Giordano.
Fedora’s became well known in the neighborhood because my parents were willing to serve same sex couples whereas many restaurants in the city did not serve gay men. Over the years, they put up lots of old photos of patrons and other memorabilia such as signed playbills and sheet music.  My father is the one who originally did all the cooking but after he passed away my mother did all the cooking as well as ran the day-to-day operations of the restaurant until July 2010 when she retired at 90 years old.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Since it is extremely cold in New York City, we wanted to highlight small local businesses owners who have to brave the cold and work outdoors.

We immediately thought of this Flat Fix in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. We love ❤️ its #handpainted signage in both English and Spanish. This #analog photo was taken in 2002.