McNally Jackson bookstore on Spring Street. Image by Carl Mikoy via Flickr.
As one of New York City’s finest all-around independent bookstores, McNally Jackson booksellers on Prince Street is a literary standby for the latest bestsellers as well as thought-provoking political non-fiction, art books, cards, magazines, readings and more. Though the shop occupies a spot on one of the city’s most highly-trafficked “High Streets,” it has endured for 15 years, long enough to be taken for granted. But that would, of course, be a mistake in the city’s current environment of empty storefronts in high rent neighborhoods because only Amazon can afford the rent. And right about the time Amazon has opened a storefront in Soho, the beloved bookseller is moving out after the rent was raised to $850,000–a 136% increase. Fear not, the owner is opening again in a new location, but unlike other, less gutsy mom-and-pop proprietors, she has no fear of being very vocal about the issue, Fox5 NY reports.
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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.
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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
Photos © James and Karla Murray
The new exhibition at the Brooklyn Historical Society, “The Business of Brooklyn,” celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and tells the fascinating story of the borough’s 100 years of business, detailing its industrial past, large companies, as well as its preponderance of mom-and-pop shops. It also showcases many objects and artifacts, which have their origins in Brooklyn, demonstrating the significant “role that Brooklyn has played in American consumer culture.” The exhibition is on view at the Brooklyn Historical Society’s landmark building in Brooklyn Heights located at 128 Pierrepont Street until Winter 2019. From those iconic yellow pencils to Brillo pads to Cracker Jack, you may be surprised to see what has been made in Brooklyn.
The history of 10 famous products made in Brooklyn
For anyone who thinks computers have entirely taken over, they might want to visit Gramercy Typewriter Company. Founded in 1932 by Abraham Schweitzer, this 84-year-old family business is busier than ever repairing customers’ typewriters, as well as refurbishing and selling machines of all shapes, sizes, and even colors. Whereas many typewriter service companies went out of business with the rise of computers, Abraham’s son and grandson, Paul and Jay, remained passionate about them and are now two of the only individuals in the city with the skills to work on these machines.
For Jay and Paul, the demand for their expertise is a testament to the staying power of typewriters in the 21st century. They continue to be a necessity in fields such as law and accounting, where certain forms are more compatible with the typewriter than the computer. Outside of offices, there are tried-and-true typewriter users who type on them daily. In many cases, the Schweitzers’ have customers who are discovering a love of these wonderful machines for the very first time. 6sqft stopped by Gramercy Typewriter Company and spoke with Jay about the business and to get a glimpse of history on the company’s shelves.
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