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New at Urban Center Books:
The Disappearing Face of New York

A visual tour so saturated with realism you can smell the knishes neatly displayed in the window of the Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery, a visual tour comprised of hundreds of images of unique 19th and 20th-century retail graphics and neon signs still in use and inspiring us to purchase to this very day. But for how long? New book Store Front:The Disappearing Face of New York asks the question: are New York City’s local merchants a dying breed, or an enduring group of diehards hell-bent on retaining the traditions of a glorious past? According to authors Jim and Karla Murray, the influx of big box retailers and chain stores poses a serious threat to these humble institutions, and neighborhood modernization and the anonymity it brings are replacing the unique appearance and character of what were once incredibly colorful streets. Store Front:The Disappearing Face of New York is a visual guide to New York City’s timeworn storefronts, a collection of powerful images that capture the neighborhood spirit, familiarity, comfort and warmth that these shops once embodied. Almost all of these businesses are a reflection of New York’s early immigrant population, a wild mix of Irish, Germans, Jews, Italians, Poles, Eastern Europeans, and later, Hispanics and Chinese. The variety is immense from Manhattan’s Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery and Katz’s Delicatessen, to the Jackson Heights Florist in Queens, Court Street Pastry in Brooklyn, D. D’Auria and Sons Pork Store in the Bronx, and the De Luca General Store on Staten Island. And as the Murray s stunning, large format photographs make patently clear, the face of New York is etched in their facades. Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York by James T. Murray and Karla L. Gingko Press, January, 2009. On sale now at Urban Center Books, the architecture bookstore of the Municipal Art Society. In fall 2008, MAS hosted a public panel discussion on the subject of preserving New York’s neighborhood businesses. Click here to read about it and watch a short summary video. Nominate your favorite New York neighborhood store to the Census of Places that Matter.