If it seems like Starbucks and Duane Reade are colonizing the streets of New York City, there’s now photographic proof. A new series from shutterbugs James and Karla Murray looks at the rapidly changing face of Gotham’s storefronts and — no surprise — they’re getting more corporate.
Gone are the colorful mom-and-pop signage the Murrays shot just a decade ago for their book Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York. In their place? Fast food franchises, banks, and high-end boutiques.
According to the Murrays, nearly two-thirds of the businesses they photographed 10 years ago are no longer around. Many of them, including Joe’s Pizza in the West Village (seen above), were forced to move or close because of rising rents.
The former home of the divey Mars Bar got a double whammy of gentrification — after it shuttered in 2011, the building was bulldozed and replaced by a high-rise condo with a TD Bank.
But there’s still hope for some spots, like the Lenox Lounge. Owner Alvin Reed is re-opening the legendary jazz lounge a few blocks over and plans to bring back the original signage.
Want to see more? James and Karla’s photos are currently on show at the Lumas Gallery on the in the Upper East Side. You can also purchase Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York on Amazon, or click through our gallery for a few more of the jaw-dropping transformations.