Back in 2020, a Sally Beauty supply store moved into a brand new storefront on East 14th Street between B and C just in time for Covid to lock the city down. Talk about bad timing. Fortunately, and probably because it is part of a chain, the store reopened mid-summer and seems to be doing well ever since.
While I purchase the Pink Hair Dye I have used for decades online, it is reassuring to know that Sally Beauty also sells my color, and then some.
I definitely feel for any business owner whose security gate gets tagged repeatedly. They aren’t easy to clean off, and most of the time the spray-painted tags are illegible and just plan ugly. The owners of Trinity Unisex Salon, located on 14th Street between Avenues B and C (cheap haircuts, ladies!) can take some comfort at least in the fact that their gate was tagged with a fun, hungry Shark, which in turn has supplied me with the image for this post. I’m all about finding a silver lining.
In the past few weeks, the city streets have become a canvas for protest art spawned in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by the police. On one of my regular evening walks this week, I spotted this small mural of George’s likeness, bearing the words ‘justice’ and ‘coexist,’ at the corner of First Avenue and East 13th Street. You can see that someone has placed a prayer candle on the sidewalk in front of the mural, but it’s easy to miss if you aren’t paying attention, because the mural sits below eye level.
This mural is entitled Justice, and it was painted by New York-based Japanese artist Dragon 76 (@dragon76art). Update: As of July 25th, 2020, this mural has been painted-over as a black background with the word “CoExist” in white. New photo below!
Everyone should be familiar with the basic facts of how George Floyd died, but it case you aren’t, you can read it in the above photo. This is one of a series of stickers posted along Avenue B with the names and stories of black people who have lost their lives to police brutality and racially motivated violence. It is extremely sobering but also inspiring to join this call for justice.
Photographed Outside Fishs Eddy on Broadway Between 19th and 20th Streets
Say Their Names.
In the windows of closed businesses, merchants and residents stand in solitary with our African American neighbors.
Let us not allow this moment in time to pass without enacting real change, starting within ourselves.
Savasana Station Yoga Studio Security Gate Mural (All Photos By Gail)
When the only outdoor activity that’s still permitted is taking a walk, it’s important to give your walks a purpose. As the Covid Life hit us back in mid-March, I started collecting what you might call ‘mundane’ pictures on my iPhone camera roll during my afternoon jaunts; documenting things I see in the East Village in order to share the stories these photos tell about the people who live in my awesome neighborhood. For as long as this shit lasts, I’ll be publishing a thematic weekly series of photo-blog posts featuring snapshots from my East Village Life, so that we all might feel more connected. This week’s theme is Storefronts. Enjoy!
Clash City Tattoo located at 273 E 10th Street, takes its name from the song “Clash City Rocker” which you can find on the 1977 debut album by, you guessed it, The Clash.
This is the Pyramid Club, a nightclub on Avenue A that’s been open since 1979 — wow! Nirvana once played there before they got to be a big deal, and I interviewed a few rockers inside its walls back in my rock critic days. They still host weekly ’80s New Wave dance parties and shit like that. I believe Pyramid Club will survive the Covid crisis.
The handwritten sign posted out front of Psychic Readings By Honeybee, which is also on Avenue A near 14th Street, indicates that, despite their storefront being closed for business, they are still conducting “Readings Over The Phone.” One wonders why their advance psychic knowledge of the upcoming shutdown did not provided ample time to have a more professional sign prepared.
In the midst of Black Friday bargain-hunting, I passed by this pair of large Silver Ears attached to the glass doors of a not-yet-opened business called, as the sign on the left door would indicate, Inked. A little Googling reveals that the ears belong to the future home of a retail shop and tattoo parlor affiliated with Inked tattoo lifestyle magazine. Originally scheduled to open its doors in October, Inked will inhabit an 8,500-square-foot space for an art gallery, tattoo studio” in this ground floor space in Chelsea. Inked will be the first retail location for the tattoo lifestyle company. The magazine was launched in 2004, reaching some 1.2 million readers, according to a press release.
The Inked Retail Store is (or will soon be) Located at 150 West 22nd Street Between 6th and 7th Avenues in Manhattan.
Edward Hopper’s Seven A.M. (1948) depicts an anonymous storefront cast in the oblique, eerie shadows and cool light of early morning. The store’s shelves stand empty, and the few odd products displayed in the window provide no evidence of the store’s function. A clock on the wall confirms the time given in the title, and indeed the painting seems to depict a specific moment and place. Yet a series of Hopper’s preparatory sketches reveal that he experimented with significant compositional variations, depicting a figure in the second story window. He even considered setting the painting at another time of day. His wife, Josephine Hopper, a respected artist herself, described the store as a “blind pig” — a front for some illicit operation, perhaps alluding to the painting’s forbidding overtones.
These porcelain-enameled steel panels once clad the exterior of Best Productscatalogue showroom in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. Featuring a cheery floral pattern, they evoke both mass-market chintz textiles and Pop artist Andy Warhol’s silkscreened canvases. The building’s billboard-scale graphics and signage made it highly visible from the roadway — an improbable meadow springing from a suburban parking lot. During the 1970s, Best Products‘ founders commissioned firms like Venturi and Rauch, and SITE (Sculpture in the Environment) to design architecturally novel, often whimsical showrooms that set the chain apart from its competitors.
Installation View: Best Products Showroom Exterior
The ornamental big-box store exemplifies the postmodern architectural concept of the “decorated shed,” introduced by Venturi and Scott Brown — Robert Venturi’s firm with his wife, Denise Scott Brown — (with co-author Steven Izenour) in Learning from Las Vegas, their influential 1972 text on the built environment. The decorated shed describes any generic structure that relies on applied ornament and signs to convey its purpose.