Sunday, 31 January 2016

The local store...almost gone

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The Murray's return with huge, wonderful second helping of Big Apple store fronts (actually this is the third book, the second was New York Nights, featuring the stores after dark) and like the first book so many of these will have stopped trading, usually because of rising yearly rents.  The book's format repeats the elegant presentation of the first one: the five boroughs are divided into their districts and each starts with a map and essay about the area; the store front photos are one to a page (sometimes a spread) and a location caption; many have a brief history of the premises and interviews with the owners.  I thought it's these comments that make the photos come alive with references to neighborhoods and trading over the decades.

The only way to photo these stores was straight on because they are full of detail and color, mostly because the lettering, window displays and frontage are so amateurish and frequently in need of a make over.  What does the shabby front of the many meat markets here say about products they sell inside?  Using a creative window display to pull in the customers is mostly absent from the mom and pop store world.

Like the first book this one is well printed on a matt stock using a 175 screen, the back pages Index lists all the stores.  There is a little bit of design whimsy where a 0 is used with all the page number: 01 to 0343.  As these stores are slowly disappearing you can spend a pleasant hour or so using the caption address to find the buildings (or their replacements) on Street View.  I did this and found that there are still plenty of stores for the Murray's to photograph for Store Front III.

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