Photo of Peter McManus Cafe © James and Karla Murray
Like thousands of small businesses, one of New York City’s oldest family-run establishments is struggling to survive because of the coronavirus pandemic. Irish bar Peter McManus Cafe, located at 152 Seventh Avenue in Chelsea, has been serving pints of Guinness and their famous burgers since 1936. While the McManus family, who has continuously owned the bar for four generations, has seen their fair share of challenges in its 84 years, COVID-19 has made it increasingly difficult to stay in business.
More details this way
, Mon, September 21, 2020
Photo © James and Karla Murray
Palomba Academy of Music has been teaching music lessons from its storefront in the Williamsbridge section of the Bronx for 64 years, but they’ve sadly had to close due to COVID-19. However, there’s a piece of this business that photographers James and Karla Murray hope to preserve. They are working with iconic NYC neon shop Let There Be Neon to remove Palomba’s historic, 25-foot neon sign and have it relocated to the American Sign Museum in Cincinatti, Ohio. But they need your help…
Here’s how you can contribute
Photo of Grand Central on Saturday, April 4 © James and Karla Murray
Photographers James and Karla Murray have made their mark with their famous “Store Front” books, where they photograph mom-and-pop shops and restaurants around New York City and interview their owners. But these businesses, those which are very often the heart and soul of a neighborhood, are being hit especially hard by the current crisis. James and Karla, who are also husband and wife, have been continuing to highlight places offering delivery and takeout and those providing food to healthcare workers. They’ve also been filming the walks they’re taking with their dog Hudson that show just how empty the city has become. Ahead, take tours of a deserted Times Square, Grand Central, Greenwich Village, and the East Village on a typically busy Saturday night.
Watch the videos
Photo © James and Karla Murray
A free photography exhibition highlighting mom-and-pop shops of New York City opens in the East Village next week. Photographers and award-winning authors James and Karla Murray hosted two workshops earlier this year on using photography and oral history to “raise public awareness, build community, and encourage advocacy.” The free exhibition, “Capturing the Faces & Voices of Mom-And-Pop Storefronts,” shows off the photos and interviews from the workshop’s participants, as well as large-scale photos of now-shuttered East Village shops, taken by James and Karla.
Photo of the Immigrant Museum at Ellis Island; Photo © James and Karla Murray
As part of a new video series, photographers and longtime New Yorkers James and Karla Murray take us on a tour of one of the few NYC sites they have never visited: Liberty Island. During a press visit with 6sqft last week, the duo toured and documented the recently opened Statue of Liberty Museum, taking in the interactive galleries, views of Lady Liberty, and the statue’s original torch. And as part of a preview with Untapped Cities, James and Karla got a behind-the-scenes look at the abandoned Ellis Island hospital as well as its Immigration Museum. Ahead, ride the Statue Cruises ferry with them from Bowling Green to Liberty and Ellis Islands, taking in all of the historic sites along the way.
See the video
Nearly half of New York City’s 220,000 small businesses are owned by immigrants. To celebrate this community, the Historic Districts Council is hosting an event this weekend that highlights immigrant-run businesses in New York City. Taking place at the Bohemian National Hall on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the symposium will discuss the ins and outs of running a business in a city that is constantly changing.
Photos © James and Karla Murray
Whether it’s their photography from our My Sqft series, images from their best-selling Storefront books or their most recent “Mom-and-Pops” life-size installation in Seward Park, chances are you’ve already admired the work of Karla and James Murray. And now there’s an opportunity to further appreciate their work and the work of those they have mentored. Earlier this year, James and Karla hosted two, two-session workshops, which taught the art of capturing New York City storefronts. Starting August 1, the workshop’s participants will show off their photos at the Jefferson Market Library’s Little Underground Gallery. Celebrate with them during a free opening reception for the exhibit next Friday, August 3 from 5 pm to 7 pm.
Learn more about the event
6sqft has been closely following the progress of photographers James and Karla Murray‘s Seward Park art installation “Mom-and-Pops of the LES,” featuring four nearly life-size images of Lower East Side business that have mostly disappeared. The pair, who have spent the last decade chronicling the place of small neighborhood businesses in 21st century New York City, was chosen for the public art project by Art in the Parks UNIQLO Park Expressions Grant Program and ran a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the wood-frame structure’s build out. James and Karla will be having a free public exhibition of their photography for “Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York” at The Storefront Project (@thestorefrontproject) at 70 Orchard Street from July 25-August 12, 2018, with an opening reception on Wednesday, July 25th from 6-9 PM.
Find out more about this cool project
Video © Michael Ursone Films
6sqft has been excitedly following the progress of photographers James and Karla Murray‘s Seward Park art installation “Mom-and-Pops of the LES,” from the announcement that they’d been chosen through the Art in the Parks UNIQLO Park Expressions Grant Program to their wildly successful Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the wood-frame structure’s build out. And now the piece, featuring four nearly life-size images of Lower East Side business that have mostly disappeared, is finally complete. James and Karla shared with 6sqft an exclusive time-lapse video of the installation process and chatted with us about why they chose these particular storefronts, what the build-out was like, and how they hope New Yorkers will learn from their message.
Watch the video and hear from James and Karla
Rendering of the installation
After publishing their first account of small businesses in NYC a decade ago with their seminal book “Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York,” photographers James and Karla Murray are now ready to bring their work back to the street. As 6sqft previously reported, “the husband-and-wife team has designed an art installation for Seward Park, a wood-frame structure that will feature four nearly life-size images of Lower East Side business that have mostly disappeared–a bodega, a coffee shop/luncheonette (the recently lost Cup & Saucer), a deli (Katz’s), and a newsstand (Chung’s Candy & Soda Stand). Though the installation is part of the Art in the Parks UNIQLO Park Expressions Grant Program, there are still high costs associated with materials, fabrication, and installation, so James and Karla have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the additional funds.