Here’s Looking at James & Karla Murray’s ‘Mom-and-Pop’ Installation in Seward Park

Posted on: June 27th, 2018 at 5:06 am by

Acclaimed husband-wife photographers James and Karla Murray last week completed the installation of their Lower East Side mom-and-pop throwback inside Seward Park.

“Mom-and-Pops of the L.E.S.” is a large-scale public art installation situated in a garden triangle beside the children’s playground. It consists of an 8-foot-high-by-12-foot-wide-by-8-foot-deep rectangular wood-frame, and includes four nearly-life-size photographs of family-owned businesses, most of which have vanished. Three of the four are gone – Cup & Saucer, Chung’s bodega, and the Superette – leaving just Katz’s Deli.

The Murrays’ project is part of the city’s Art in the Parks UNIQLO Park Expressions Grant Program. A Kickstarter crowdsourcing drive also raised an additional $6,200 (double the initial goal) to help with its construction.

“When viewing the near life-size photographs one can get a visceral sense of the impact of these losses on the community and on those who once depended on the shops that are now gone,” James and Karla Murray noted in the recent Kickstarter pitch. “The installation is an artistic intervention and a plea for recognition of the unique and irreplaceable contribution made to New York by small, often family-owned businesses. These neighborhood stores help set the pulse, life, and texture of their communities.”

“Mom-and-Pops of the L.E.S.” will remain on display at Seward Park for an entire year – through July 2019.

Recent Stories

Luxury Accessories Brand ‘Title of Work’ Opens Flagship on Orchard Street

The eponymous Site 57 gallery spent two years in the ground floor of 57 Orchard Street before folding not long ago. It’s been replaced. A new fashion boutique just opened behind that corrugated metal awning. Title of Work is the name of the newcomer, which specializes in men’s formal accessories that “skillfully merges art, science, […]

New Target at Essex Crossing is Plagued by Thefts

For shoplifters, the bullseye on the facade of 400 Grand Street is an invitation. Indeed, the small-format iteration of Target at Essex Crossing has become just that in the short month since it opened. According to police sources at the 7th Precinct, there have been 42 reported thefts inside the second-floor retailer since the August […]

Chinatown Locals ‘Erase the Hate’ of Insensitive Gate Murals

One Los Angeles-based street artist angered residents in Chinatown for racially-insensitive caricatures across the neighborhood this weekend. Someone with the tag name Sickid1 imparted the controversial images on at least three store gates over the weekend – 34 Mott, 81 Allen, and 38 Allen Street. Outspoken Chinatown activist Karlin Chan took it upon himself to […]

Another Malaysian Cafe Replaces the Old ‘Kopitiam’ HQ on Canal Street

The Perfect Taste is now on Canal Street. Literally. A new Malaysian cafe by that name opened yesterday in the original home of Kopitiam. The tiny shop takes over after the latter moved from 51 Canal to East Broadway several months ago (thanks to a rent hike). As the awning suggests, Perfect Taste features “healthy […]

CNBC’s ‘American Greed’ Focuses on Ex-Con Landlord Steve Croman

Ex-con Steve Croman is now the subject of a television hit piece by CNBC as part of its American Greed series. The second half of the program is dedicated to the notorious landlord in a segment appropriately called “Lousy Landlord.” You’ll recall that Croman completed his “white collar” sentence on June 1, having served eight months […]