Photographers James and Karla Murray began documenting the disappearing storefronts of of New York City in 2004 and were so moved by the gentrifying landscape that they published their resulting photographs in the 2009 book STOREFRONT:The Disappearing Face of New York. In their newest project, the Murray’s revisited the same storefronts ten years later and again, documented what they found.
When the original 2nd Avenue Deli in the East Village closed in 2006 after the rent was increased from $24,000 a month to $33,000 a month, and a Chase Bank took over the space, we knew the contrast of before and after was severe. Another startling change in the East Village was the closure of CBGB in 2006 after it lost its lease. It was replaced by a high-end fashion boutique, John Varvatos, which initially to us seemed out-of-place on the Bowery. No iconic locale seemed safe any longer. Just like with CBGB’s, we were shocked when Lenox Lounge in Harlem closed on December 31, 2012, after a lease dispute. The East Village’s Mars Bar closed in 2011, was torn down, and replaced by a luxury condo with a soon-to-be-opened TD Bank on the ground floor space…The purpose of the photos in the before-and-after project is to clearly spell out and provide documentation of not only what storefronts have been lost, but also what is often lacking in the commercial space’s replacement. 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. – Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York
images by James and Karla Murray