In the early 2000s, photographers James and Karla Murray embarked on a journey to capture the mom-and-pop stores of New York City. Their book, Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York, showed a city that’s quickly fading into memory: one full of local delis, beloved bars, and shops devoted entirely to hosiery. A decade later, they returned to capture what those stores have become in a new project, “Store Front:The Disappearing Face of New York–10 Years Later.”
The answer: Subways, Chase bank branches, and Verizon stores. The before-and-after photos “provide documentation of not only what storefronts have been lost but also what is often lacking in the commercial space’s replacement,” the photographers tell Co.Design in an email. “Until you place them side-by-side and really look at the two photos, you cannot get the true sense of loss experienced by the neighborhood.”
They plan to eventually visit all 225 of the storefronts they photographed between 2001 and 2004 to highlight the character and sense of community that’s lost as mom-and-pop outfits like the 2nd Avenue Deli, Casa Nova Pizzeria, and Optimo Cigars fold, often driven out by steep rent increases and replaced by ubiquitous chain retailers, the occasional high-priced cupcake shop, and generic glass-encased condo buildings.
The one bright spot? Ideal Hosiery’s signage may be showing the passage of time, but the store itself is still in business, available for all your panty hose needs.