Nothing makes me feel part of a bygone time more than walking around my neighborhood, remembering there was a grocery store where now stands a bank, or a laundromat (so long a fixture that they displayed a washing board in the window!) replaced by a restaurant replaced by yet another bank. A real estate place is where the Cheese Shop used to be…
But what’s the point in going on about it. We still have lots of neighborhood places like the ones here on my last postcard of Seventh Avenue between 8th and 9th Streets.
I plan to do more of these little shops. They are an example of what I like about city life. The little shops. They come and go too, but at least for now they outnumber banks and estate agents.
When I moved to Park Slope in the early 90s there were two art supply stores on Seventh Avenue. Then one was replaced by a shoe store. The other one disappeared more recently, and now it’s (yet another) nail salon.
Two famous art supply stores in Manhattan have recently closed their doors. Pearl Paint, down on Canal Street, which I began visiting in the late 70s, closed last spring (or was it the spring before last…).
And now Lee’s Art Supply on 57th Street is shutting up shop as well, having sold their building for 85 million dollars. (They call 57th Street Billionaire’s Row.)
And yet a new art supply store opened in Park Slope a few years ago—the Artist and Craftsman Supply on 2nd Street—and they’ve got a huge selection in a warehouse like space.
I grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in the 50s and 60s, and it’s changed so much I can hardly bear to go back there. I remember Gitliz and The Tip-Toe-Inn, and the Beacon when it was a movie theater and those little shops that just sold candy. The little bookstore called Womrath’s. Even Zabar’s was only a small deli then.
I like reminders of the time when most us were much smaller than we are today, like when I visit costume exhibits in museums and marvel at how short the people were, what tiny waists they had. Or when I see a door with its knob about six inches further down than the ones we have today. When we were smaller, and the world seemed a much bigger place. We can’t go back, but we can remember…