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Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York
April 4, 2014 10:22 PM   Subscribe

Ten years ago, photographers James and Karla Murray released the book "Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York." In it, they documented the facades of the rapidly disappearing mom-and-pop businesses of New York City. Now they've revisited some of the same spots.
posted by Crane Shot (103 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
Welp, that was depressing.
posted by rsanheim at 10:24 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]


I feel like I'm seeing a lot of these lately.
posted by oceanjesse at 10:55 PM on April 4


It is a fantastic book, my gf and I own a copy. Make sure to buy the HC folio edition and not a smaller one.
posted by mlis at 11:48 PM on April 4


MAX. FISH building withstands entropy.
posted by riverlife at 11:49 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


And this, my dear young New Yorkers who reply to my "NYC just ain't the same anymore" with the oft-heard "New York has always changed, it's nothing new", is why you are wrong. The way it's changed now ain't like the way it changed before.

See you at Citibank.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:56 AM on April 5 [23 favorites]


clicking on the mars bar's façade here is a terrifying effect.
posted by keltanen at 1:46 AM on April 5 [20 favorites]


It's been about 15 years since I left the East Village to return to the west coast, and I haven't been back to NYC since. Has it really changed that much?
posted by Auden at 2:04 AM on April 5


When Your City Disappears
posted by Lanark at 2:06 AM on April 5


KRAMER: Well, I saw Mom and Pop this morning, but when I went by the store on my way home? The place was empty. Everything is gone. Mom and Pop - vrooop - vanished.

JERRY: So all my sneakers are gone?

KRAMER: I'm afraid so. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. I've been asking around - they didn't even have any kids.

JERRY: Mom and Pop aren't even a Mom and Pop?!

KRAMER: It was all an act, Jerry. They conned us, and they scored, big time.

ELAINE : So. Mom and Pop's plan was to move into the neighborhood...establish trust...for 48 years. And then, run off with Jerry's sneakers.

KRAMER: Apparently.

posted by fairmettle at 2:19 AM on April 5 [20 favorites]


One of a few reasons I've started thinking I want to leave someday. Which is a thing I never thought would happen.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:39 AM on April 5 [4 favorites]


Happens in small towns, too. The town I grew up in, back around 20-30 years ago, downtown was full of shops and little restaurants and department stores- if you could get downtown, you could spend the whole day shopping and stay on your feet the whole time. Now? The downtown is nothing but banks, lawyers, and accountants. All the shopping's either moved to strip malls out on the edges of town or else succumbed to people just driving 45 minutes to the city.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:01 AM on April 5 [6 favorites]


Manhattan real estate is insanely expensive. Rising rents are forcing out all vestiges of the working classes. It's happening in Brooklyn, now, too. Even the fun and funkiness of Coney Island has been crowded down to a few blocks. Times Square is nothing but a huge flat screen TV underpinned by antiseptic store facades.

NY was always an inspiration, a gritty place full of opportunity. Will it continue to be so as it morphs into a citadel where only the 1% can afford to dwell?
posted by kinnakeet at 4:07 AM on April 5 [3 favorites]


I'm not seeing the same narrative here a lot of people are seeing.

Some of those before pictures looked like crap. Dirty sidewalks, dirty windows, peeling paint, graffiti-tagged walls ... they look like scenes from a city in decline.

I don't much care for a lot of the shiny, bland and generic replacements, but I'd still say that half the photos I saw on this link showed an improvement.
posted by kanewai at 4:45 AM on April 5 [7 favorites]



No kiddding.
posted by notreally at 5:05 AM on April 5


I dunno, quite a few of those went from one locally owned business to another. I think it's sad to lose businesses that have history, but it's also cool that a new generation of entrepreneurs can come in.

Also, I didn't know there was a Grom in NYC, or outside Italy for that matter. Yum.
posted by lunasol at 5:10 AM on April 5 [6 favorites]


Dirty sidewalks, dirty windows, peeling paint, graffiti-tagged walls

I moved from NYC to Philly in a neighborhood like you describe. I keep running into New Yorkers who have moved from there to here for the same reason: it is, unlike the NYC that is, affordable. Yeah, there are little drug baggies on the sidewalks, a lot like the LES in the nineties, but people like me can make the rent. /shrug
posted by angrycat at 5:31 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]




I give this a good solid thbbbbbpt :p :p :p :p :p
posted by nevercalm at 5:39 AM on April 5


(in that I miss the old NY)
posted by nevercalm at 5:40 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]


The CBGB shot in particular is upsetting. It's like turning The Cavern into a 7-11, when 3 or 4 rockstars could have at least ponied up the dough to make it into a museum if not a going concern.

It was already pretty noticeable the last time I was in NYC 15 years ago. As I said to a friend with dismay, "Bed, Bath, and Beyond should be a movie in Times Square, not a store on 6th Ave."
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:45 AM on April 5 [11 favorites]


I have the book. It's great. And yeah, some of these photos are depressing.

I opened a new record shop in Toronto last month and for the first time had to look into getting a sign made. It was a rather eye-opening experience -- I talked to a bunch of sign-making companies as well as local artists -- spoke with store owners with signs I like, etc. It was really interesting.

I ended up hiring this guy, who's done some of my favorite work in Toronto, and he's working on it now. I'm really excited to see what he comes up with.
posted by dobbs at 5:51 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]


But Bed, Bath and Beyond is just a continuation of big retail stores that's been on that stretch of 6th Ave. for more than a century.
posted by plastic_animals at 5:53 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]


But Bed, Bath and Beyond is just a continuation of big retail stores that's been on that stretch of 6th Ave. for more than a century.

Mostly it's just a metaphor, and BBB originated in NJ/NY after all, but as an outlander, it was always odd for me to visit NYC and see places that are in every strip mall in every podunk corner of the US. Like Wal-Mart.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:00 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]


A CBGB museum?

Ugh.

You would encase the city in amber.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 6:03 AM on April 5 [3 favorites]


You would encase the city in amber.

And you would make it look like a clone of every other city in the world.

No one is saying they don't want the city to change, people are only saying they don't want the city to change into a copy of every other city out there so you can't tell the difference.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:07 AM on April 5 [9 favorites]


I have really mixed feelings about gritty NY nostalgia. On the one hand, yeah, the city is kind of sanitized, and Bed, Bath and Beyond is gross, and the middle-class has been completely priced out of Manhattan and maybe the city in general. I've applied for a couple of jobs in New York recently, and I realize that it may be a silly exercise, because I'm not sure there's any way to make the money work. On the other hand, there was nothing romantic and cool about the New York that I first moved to in the early 90s. New York had 2,600 homicides in 1990 and 334 homicides in 2013. All that urban grit wasn't just set decoration. I remember early-90s New York as pretty grim in ways that weren't romantic or cute.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:10 AM on April 5 [18 favorites]


Happens in small towns, too. The town I grew up in, back around 20-30 years ago, downtown was full of shops and little restaurants and department stores- if you could get downtown, you could spend the whole day shopping and stay on your feet the whole time. Now? The downtown is nothing but banks, lawyers, and accountants. All the shopping's either moved to strip malls out on the edges of town or else succumbed to people just driving 45 minutes to the city.

Banks, lawyers and accountants? Sounds pretty good; the downtown core of my hometown (a city of half a million) thirty years ago when I was a teenager was bookstores and movie theatres and department stores and restaurants and record stores and hotels and jewelry stores. Now, there are two businesses of a hundred or so from those days that still are open -- a burger place and what was a record store but gradually became a CD/DVD place with lots of video games and media tie-in tchotchkes (want an 18" tall resin statue of Jason Voorhees? Here ya go.

The best bookstore in town is now a store that sells T-shirts which assume a hostile relationship between the wearer and any onlooker (all your "GO FUCK YOURSELF" wardrobe needs met); another fine bookstore is now a pizza slice place. One department store is recently shuttered after decades as a bingo hall; another is a gravel parking lot; a third has been subdivided into a couple of struggling variety stores and a "job finding club". All of the movie theatres are long gone; one is a pawn shop; another struggled through several nightclub incarnations and -- in one of the few success stories -- is now restored to an events theatre (I saw an author do a reading there a few months back); several others are parking lots. A legendary fine china store where Eleanor Roosevelt was a regular customer now sells skater and hip-hop fashion. My record store of choice is now a payday loan place. The video arcade I spent many hours growing up is a peepshow. The electronics store where I bought my first CD player now sells bongs and rolling papers. The hotels are all history and confronted with heritage designations for grand old buildings, the developers seem inclined to leave the windows of twenty-storey buildings open until exposure to the elements renders the buildings unfit for habitation and they are regrettably obliged to tear them down.

Blandification is meh -- New York was far more generic on my most recent trip there a year ago than during my first, twenty years earlier -- but watching a vibrant city core turn shabby is even less appealing.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:11 AM on April 5 [6 favorites]


I remember early-90s New York as pretty grim in ways that weren't romantic or cute.

Me too.

Like a friend said when they cleaned up Times Square - "there had to have been more choices for that area aside from 'porn shops' and 'Gap franchises'", is all.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:12 AM on April 5 [14 favorites]


Like a friend said when they cleaned up Times Square - "there had to have been more choices for that area aside from 'porn shops' and 'Gap franchises'", is all.

Yeah, that's it exactly. Nobody here is advocating in favor of filth and danger, and nobody wants to make CBGB into the Smithsonian, but it's certainly possible to clean up a place, make it safer and decently prosperous, without homogenizing the shit out of it. OK, fine, if the proprietors of the 2nd Ave Deli wanted or needed to close for whatever reasons, swell. But that was a distinctive bit of ethnic/regional subculture that you can't find in very many places anymore, gone. It would have been nice if maybe some newer immigrant restaurateur had been remotely able to put a cafe there instead.

But no biggie -- in a few weeks I can cheer myself up by celebrating Cinco de Mayo at Applebee's.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:33 AM on April 5 [4 favorites]


Long live Ideal Hosiery, I guess.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:47 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]


I'm hoping that Lenox Lounge sign didn't end up in a landfill somewhere.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:52 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]


But that was a distinctive bit of ethnic/regional subculture that you can't find in very many places anymore, gone. It would have been nice if maybe some newer immigrant restaurateur had been remotely able to put a cafe there instead.
I'm not sure that the Second Avenue Deli ever was some sort of marker of ethnic authenticity. According to wikipedia, it opened in 1954, which is to say right at the moment when Jews were leaving the neighborhood. I remember being taken to places like that as a kid to see my roots and whatnot, and it all felt totally fake, because nobody in my family lived in lower Manhattan anymore. They all decamped to the South Bronx in the 30s and then to Queens and Jersey after World War II. And there were delis in Queens and New Jersey, too, but they weren't branded as authentic ethnic delis, because they were just places where people went to get food.

I'm pretty sure there are still places in New York where immigrants go to get familiar food. They may not be in exactly the same spots where early immigrants lived.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:53 AM on April 5 [5 favorites]


But there are tons of newer immigrants opening up things. I mean not at that exact location, too bad. I agree there are too many retail bank branches and I'd actually be supportive of laws to mildly discourage them. I don't think that's ruining the entire city.

You guys, it's like you think this city is made of buildings... the city is a process, a dynamic... if you don't die you were never alive to start with. One of these centuries or millenia it's all gonna crumble. I was out in K-town with a couple guys one evening - "This city is a party." "Yeah." "The party at the end of civilization."

And that one comment actually did want to make CBGB into the Smithsonian.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 6:54 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]


It's good to see that the critical Subway shortage in New York is being addressed.
posted by MikeMc at 6:56 AM on April 5 [6 favorites]


But there are tons of newer immigrants opening up things. I mean not at that exact location, too bad.

The reason why it is too bad that they aren't at that exact location is because these locations are more centrally located, and a lot of the "newer immigrants opening up things" are out in the fringes where the business is gonna be much lower.

If you question that, lemme ask - how many of these new businesses do you go to on a regular basis?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:11 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]


Are you fuckin' kidding me? Right now I spent all my money on my business so I'm eating rice and beans but usually half of anything I eat on any random given night...
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 7:13 AM on April 5


.....go on....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:24 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]


Nobody here is advocating in favor of filth and danger, and nobody wants to make CBGB into the Smithsonian, but it's certainly possible to clean up a place, make it safer and decently prosperous, without homogenizing the shit out of it.

I'm kind of wondering if this is true though. Especially if it's prosperous. Any place I've been to that has some real character to it also includes some amount of grit it seems.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:29 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]


What I find perpetually disheartening is not the disappearance of old and dilapidated buildings, or the failure of businesses which acted as landmarks--it happens. I simply see the evolution of building materials and store front marketing and I don't see anything that's an improvement. But then I think I simply have a distorted view. Modern storefronts are common and generally ugly. They use large print plotter graphics to wallpaper their windows. Light boxes with plastic inserts and horrific silkscreened type. And these disappearing storefronts of yesteryear have illustrative typography, variable sized and proportioned graphics (which respond more to the building than to the size of the lightbox). I have this strange idea what's historical is today's normal. huh...
posted by xtian at 7:39 AM on April 5 [7 favorites]


Go on what? I very seriously eat (usually take out) from immigrant run eateries very very often. That's just the most frequent example. I'll admit I'm not a big shopper so maybe I'm not in other stores too often, sorry. I start a business half the people I want to hire / co-found with are immigrants, though. My day job is like a third+ immigrants.

On a different note I'll admit that architecture does seem to be homogenizing throughout the world, but well, too bad... no reason to stop building.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 7:41 AM on April 5


Oh man, the M&G diner. We did a meetup there once. The food was good and the lady behind the counter (who looked about 100) was so sweet. It's a bummer every time I go by and see it not there.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:42 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]


the book you want to read is The Assassination of New York by (the late) Robert Fitch.

the upshot is that big property owners and developers deliberately used urban renewal and city planning to destroy small scale manufacturing in NYC, in order to build office buildings (and in order for the banks to sell mortgage backed securities.) The building of the World Trade Center downtown alone involved the direct bulldozing of businesses that employed 30,000 people (the people who shop at small stores and whose businesses are integrated into the neighborhood.) the way Manhattan is, isn't the result of some law of nature, but the result of planning directed by real estate speculators and bankers.
posted by ennui.bz at 7:46 AM on April 5 [16 favorites]


Some of those before pictures looked like crap. Dirty sidewalks, dirty windows, peeling paint, graffiti-tagged walls ... they look like scenes from a city in decline.

But you see, there was actual human culture going on in a lot of those places. That's what you may not understand if you didn't live there during the 70s or 80s or early 90s. That actual human culture has been largely replaced by a corporate culture that is only about selling and buying things. Yeah, it's cleaner and shinier, for sure. But it's fucking banks, man. To me, that's decline.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:48 AM on April 5 [22 favorites]


The city looks like the perfect place for Jimmy Fallon to host a talk show! So...nice!
posted by mrhappy at 7:49 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm not feeling this. These images are just ridiculously cherry-picked. Second Ave Deli, for instance, is still around; they just moved. For every dilapidated 90's facade that got replaced by a bank or chain, you can find an empty storefront replaced by a small business, or a shiny new storefront that now looks charmingly dilapidated to taste.

What I'm really seeing in these pictures is nostalgia for a particular advertising style that no longer makes sense. Ten years from now people will be complaining that all the charming large-scale curved LED screens have been been replaced by flat plasma panels. There are real problems with property prices and development in New York right now, but these pictures aren't about that. They are very literally superficial.
posted by phooky at 8:11 AM on April 5 [4 favorites]


awwww, Mars bar, I miss you.
posted by dabitch at 8:42 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]


My neighbourhood in Toronto is the same way. When I told a friend that an independent hardware store that has been there since 1905 was about to close he said "What's replacing it? A store that sells nothing but kale?"
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:29 AM on April 5 [5 favorites]


A CBGB museum?

Ugh.

You would encase the city in amber.


No, I wouldn't. By and large, it's your city, and y'all can do what you want with it. But are you seriously saying people shouldn't complain if someone wanted to replace this cellar with a conference room or put a McDonald's in the Anne Frank House?
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:32 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]


And you would make it look like a clone of every other city in the world.

If you think every city in the world, other than New York, is indistinguishable from all the others, you should probably travel outside New York more often.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 10:01 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]


> There are real problems with property prices and development in New York right now, but these pictures aren't about that. They are very literally superficial.

Do you live here?

> What I'm really seeing in these pictures is nostalgia for a particular advertising style that no longer makes sense.

Clearly you do not - or if you do, you are isolated from your fellow citizens.

Because these problems aren't superficial - not in the slightest. Replacing locally-owned stores with chain stores isn't just a cosmetic issue - it's robbing the city of actual jobs where you can make a decent living.

Replacing a family-owned business where you had a personal relationship with the whole family, where you might have the same waiter or salesman for a decade, replacing such a business with a generic national chain is nothing at all like "nostalgia for a particular advertising style that no longer makes sense".

I would like to add that there are multiple businesses in New York City where I have been going for many years - one of them for over 20 years - and if I lost one of these businesses, it would be deeply saddening and emphatically not be just "nostalgia for a particular advertising style".
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:02 AM on April 5 [8 favorites]


> If you think every city in the world, other than New York, is indistinguishable from all the others, you should probably travel outside New York more often.

I have a friend who comes to visit New York City every few years. He said one of the tragic things about seeing it in periodic flashes is watching all the famous, New York City-only businesses slowly be replaced one at a time by national chains, so that the city becomes more and more generic.

I personally have visited some 20 countries in the last five years alone and I feel the same way - so it isn't just "We should get out of the house more."
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:11 AM on April 5


I personally have visited some 20 countries in the last five years alone and I feel the same way - so it isn't just "We should get out of the house more."

But you don't think this is a trend that only affects New York, do you? Because it's clearly not.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 10:14 AM on April 5


> But you don't think this is a trend that only affects New York, do you? Because it's clearly not.

Did I say that? I did not say that. But some cities have changed a lot more than others. I lived in Vienna in 1970-1 and went back for the first time a year or two. Of course there were chain stores of various types, and quite a few new, shiny stores, but I was surprised how very similar it was in shape and character to how it was over 40 years before - while still being a modern city.

But yes, this has affected other world cities - many of them have become much more similar to each other. Am I supposed to like this plague because it's so ubiquitous? No, it makes it worse, not better.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:22 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]


But you don't think this is a trend that only affects New York, do you? Because it's clearly not.

Yeah, this is the exact process under way in my current Chicago neighborhood. We've lost 12 local businesses in the past 12 months--7 of them just since January! All of them had been open at least since 1960, and every single one has been/is being replaced by:

• Condos
• A Bank of America
• an empty lot that will, inevitably, become condos.

It's really depressing for reasons that go well beyond nostalgia or a fondness for advertising styles. We're losing things we used to have access to (we no longer have any place that sells food after 11 pm, for example), every single replacement business is wildly more expensive than what it replaced, and the condos have already FUCKED the rental market--more of 'em isn't going to help.

If it keeps pace, and I don't see what could stop it, the middle class will be entirely priced out in less than 10 years. It's not aesthetically depressing. It's depressing because I consider this place home, and yet I am moving because it has no place for me anymore.
posted by like_a_friend at 10:29 AM on April 5 [5 favorites]


On the other hand, there was nothing romantic and cool about the New York that I first moved to in the early 90s. New York had 2,600 homicides in 1990 and 334 homicides in 2013. All that urban grit wasn't just set decoration. I remember early-90s New York as pretty grim in ways that weren't romantic or cute.

I don't really understand why we always jump to the assumption that what people liked about old school New York was the crime.

I moved to New York in 2000, after the crime and blight was on the downswing. In my opinion it was the perfect sweet spot of character and grit. New York felt safe, but it also felt interesting.

There's no rule that in order to have a city that is safe, you have to have a city that is a zombie shell of its true self.
posted by Sara C. at 10:31 AM on April 5 [5 favorites]


Ten years from now people will be complaining that all the charming large-scale curved LED screens have been been replaced by flat plasma panels.

No, they won't. They really really won't. And LEDs aren't a good comparison here, since most of the time they're representing businesses with enough money to have large LED signs.

The best that most entry-level vinyl signage can hope for is to be lovingly skewered. I think a lot of small independent businesses lost a huge amount of opportunity for visual character with the massive transition in signage materials.

When signpainting became rarefied as a craft, I'm guessing it wasn't as easy to just find someone to paint your sign on the cheap. Unfortunately, even amateur handpainted signs still hold a lot more personality than stuff like this. As a bonus, there's less of a design hurdle involved; our brains are a lot more forgiving of handrendered text.
posted by redsparkler at 10:39 AM on April 5 [3 favorites]


I lived in Manhattan when I was in college in the 90s. I visited in the 80s, and I took summer classes in 87 and had what was my first blind date (I was set up on a double date and didn't even realize) in Times Square watching a scary movie on a Saturday night. It was dodgy walking back to Union Square, and scary in parts. Very scary. The city gradually got 'safer' and less grimy, and I ventured to the East Village after Dinkinsville moved to underneath a bridge somewhere. I remember calling friends from phone booths asking them to come out, while kicking shell-casings found on the pavement. I remember when people freaked out about a Ben&Jerry's opening at St Marks place. It was the death of Punk.

I've gone back, I lived there again briefly in 2001. It had already lost a lot of the local mom&pop and charm. Everywhere were new buildings, banks and chain stores. You couldn't go through Grand Central station without everything costing at least 5 dollars, be it a bottle of water or stick of gum. That's what really stood out to me, not just that the mom&pop was gone, but that everything was suddenly so much more expensive. As a college student I knew where to get the cheap and the free, and all all of this was gone. You could still bring a sandwich into the IBM building bamboo park, but now you'd be glared at by the people selling coffee in there.

The local, the cheap, the quirky has all moved to make way for the bank, the condo, the not open after 10 pm. In the city that never sleeps.

I walked through times Square again a couple of years ago and did not recognize it at all. Not at all.
posted by dabitch at 10:49 AM on April 5 [3 favorites]


I am also realistic about the crime. I moved to New York City in 1985. I got mugged once, and foiled attempted muggings once or twice. No one wants to go back to a city of danger.

But the idea that mallization is what made the city so much safer is just ridiculous. "There had to have been more choices for that area aside from 'porn shops' and 'Gap franchises'"
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:02 AM on April 5 [4 favorites]


but it's certainly possible to clean up a place, make it safer and decently prosperous, without homogenizing the shit out of it

Fine. How? And I don't mean "how" in a generic 'we need to change the dominant paradigm way, but "how" in a specific 'what urban economic policies and laws need to change to promote this?'

And while I'm sympathetic to the concerns - I'd much rather live in a vibrant city with locally owned stores (and for as much as a complain about Honolulu, it still is like that once outside of Waikiki) - I can't help but think that we have been complaining about condos and chains and the loss of mom and pops since at least the 1980's. I distinctly remember being told, on my first trip to NYC in 1988, that it wasn't like it was at all back in 1967.
posted by kanewai at 11:06 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]


> so that the city becomes more and more generic.

There was a pretty good gag in the otherwise-terrible Rocky and Bullwinkle movie (shut up, I have younger relatives) where the cartoon duo, who have been transplanted from their animated universe to the "real world," get confused as they are driven through the U.S. because every town they pass through looks exactly the same.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:13 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]


> but "how" in a specific 'what urban economic policies and laws need to change to promote this?'

The idea that "Small businesses were the source of urban crime so we had to eliminate them" is neither intellectually convincing nor emotionally attractive.

There's no obvious connection between "the rise of chain stores" and "the falling crime rate". For example, law and order types would claim that the falling crime rate has to do with better policing, which has absolutely zero to do with small businesses being forced out by chains.

You are the one who is claiming that genericization is a necessary consequence of crime reduction, so it's up to you to give some sort of justification for your argument.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:24 AM on April 5


they weren't branded as authentic ethnic delis, because they were just places where people went to get food.

This is really interesting, and an especially interesting critique on places like the Second Avenue Deli. Because having left New York, one of the things I've really come to notice is the contrast between "places where people go to get food" type restaurants vs. specifically branded experience type restaurants. When I first moved to LA I felt like all restaurants here are more the latter model. (And, to an extent, that's more true here than it is in New York.) But you're right that there are a LOT of New York restaurants that are also in the specifically branded experience field, and not all of them are Outback Steakhouse.
posted by Sara C. at 11:26 AM on April 5


You are the one who is claiming that genericization is a necessary consequence of crime reduction, so it's up to you to give some sort of justification for your argument.

I don't think I or anyone else even came close to saying this, or even implying it.

Quite the opposite: I asked for specific ways we could change policy to save locally owned businesses.
posted by kanewai at 11:58 AM on April 5


I think the face of New York is not disappearing, so much as changing. There are still plenty of independent businesses opening in the city, and many (if not most) of them are owned by immigrants. I have only lived here for three years, so discount my opinion however you will, but in those three years I've seen plenty of empty storefronts (or even Subways or other chain stores) turn into new independent businesses. It isn't a one-way change. That's something the before/after photos are not showing.

Businesses reflecting a particular immigrant identity strongly associated with historic New York - namely Italian and Jewish Americans - are disappearing, but I would guess that businesses run by immigrants from other parts of the world are actually increasing. If you used to have 10 kosher-style delis, and now you have 2 kosher-style delis, 2 Indian restaurants, 2 Korean restaurants, 2 Chinese restaurants, and 2 Subways, is that necessarily a bad thing?

If anything New York is more diverse than it was before. If you look at the demographic history of Manhattan, since 1970 the share of non-Hispanic whites and blacks has decreased somewhat, but the population of Asians and Hispanics has increased, as well as the foreign born population.

I live in Chinatown where pretty much all of the businesses are independently owned by an immigrant family, but even in touristy Times Square where I work, off the top of my head recently I got lunch at a Korean deli, a new Turkish place (mmm enfes), a ramen restaurant (Tabata Ramen) and a new Chinese restaurant (Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns). None of which are chains.

This photo shows a magazine/cigar shop being replaced by a Baked by Melissa, but other than the cool signage...aren't there still hundreds of shops exactly like that in NYC? This shows a hosiery store getting replaced by a Subway, but how many people these days go to specialty stores to buy hosiery? This shows a barber shop being replaced by a restaurant, and while the new owner may have less taste in signage...isn't it still an independently owned business?

It sucks when a Subway replaces a historic business with iconic signage, but if the new generation doesn't want to run the family business anymore, or that business is no longer relevant to the community, should it just be kept around as an empty relic? I live about a block away from the "Little Italy" stretch of Mulberry, but I never eat at those restaurants because they just sell overpriced food for tourists. They may have been around for decades, but now they're just props because the Italian community has long since moved to other parts of the city. And there's nothing to blame for that other than demographic shifts, because the other immigrant community a block over is still thriving.
posted by pravit at 12:02 PM on April 5 [12 favorites]


When I first moved to NY 10 years ago, I ate at this place al the time. It was like having dinner on the set of Mad Men. Perfectly preserved glimpse into the past. Those of us who appreciate those kinds of things are very much in the minority. I knew that place wasn't long for this world, because it was always empty when I went in.

For every one of us that wishes there was more effort to preserve the charm and craftsmanship of the past, there's those who just see it as useless kitsch and want whatever feels new, safe or familiar.

Speaking as a business owner who tries to preserve as much of that charm and craftsmanship in my projects (bars, cafes and retail), let me tell you, its a difficult proposition. Not only is it harder to source and more expensive. Everyone is working against you. Architects, zoning boards, contractors, city inspectors. All of them spend 99% of there time doing things the new way. When you come along and try to get them to do something completely counterintuitive, you have a very small window before you just become a pain in the ass.

I just finished a project that's 6 months overdue, and 20% over budget, because we went the craft route. I'm not sure I would ever do it that way again as it literally put the entire business in jeopardy.

But on the plus side, if you want that specific old-school NY charm, there's still tons of it out there. More and more, You'll have to venture out of lower Manhattan, but that's not a bad thing.

For everyone who really misses the gritty old NY, I haave great news for you. I'm currently working on a new project in Downtown Los Angeles, and it's as close to the old Times Square/42nd St. as you're going to find. Both in the good way and the bad way.

And there seems to be a big effort amongst both the city and new development to at least keep the visual charm of the old buildings intact. Urban Outfitters turned this into this. No matter how you may feel about Urban Outfitters as a big box retailer, it's a step in the right direction.

My company was lucky enough to score a space in the Eastern Columbia Building, which for a lover of old world charm is like winning the design lottery. It's a gorgeous old building, historically protected, and the building assoc. is fanatically dedicated to preserving it.
posted by billyfleetwood at 12:11 PM on April 5 [7 favorites]


Nobody here is advocating in favor of filth and danger, and nobody wants to make CBGB into the Smithsonian, but it's certainly possible to clean up a place, make it safer and decently prosperous, without homogenizing the shit out of it.

Is it, though? Once the area got cleaned up, it became valuable - more foot traffic, more people with money to spend. So of course the big national chains with all the capital bought up their property, and applied a business model that was already known to work elsewhere in the country.

There's a reason gentrification plays out the way it does. You could make this same book about Seattle. In a few years, I'll bet you'll be able to make one for Austin, too. It just seems the natural consequence of the legal and economic systems we've chosen. After all, having hundreds of identical Subway franchises in each city is a lot more efficient than having a bunch of small, independent restaurants.
posted by heathkit at 12:30 PM on April 5


Also, I really don't understand how banks keep buying up so much retail space. And bank branches never seem to be small either - it's usually some huge corner lot with tons of space, way more than I'd think they need.

I've been banking online since 1998. I've always had NavyFCU or USAA thanks to my dad, so I've almost never lived in a city with a local branch. I just don't understand how those retail locations could possibly generate enough revenue to justify their cost.
posted by heathkit at 12:35 PM on April 5 [5 favorites]


Nobody here is advocating in favor of filth and danger

Well, if nobody else will... and since heathkit mentioned Austin... filth and danger are exactly what make it possible for young artists or any kind of functioning bohemia - which requires a lot of marginal characters living lives that wouldn't be possible in the suburbs or whatever- to be able to afford too exist.

I'm not saying that people shouldn't be able to live 'safely' or whatever if they want to, just that cultural capital comes from places that have some kind of balance between people with money to spend, and people with talent and ambition and vision who spend their entire youths just burning to get the hell out of whatever suffocating small town they come from, to go where the action is and live off ramen and malt liquor while they learn how to be artists (or eventually junkies... hey, art is full of risk.)

You don't want to live in a city made of nothing but that- of course it wouldn't work, you do need people with dayjobs around to, you know, be an audience or whatever. But if you decide to build an entire city full of nothing but people with money and bland, homogenous taste, you turn Austin into Round Rock or whatever and... well I don't know what kind of suburban wasteland ensues, and I won't be here to see it so c'est la vie.

But if you end up having to work a 60-hour-a-week dayjob (or have a trust fund) in order to live here, I don't know how the hell there are are going to be any aspiring musicians left to make it 'cool.'

Am I saying NY'ers should be willing to get mugged regularly for the sake of art? Well, that wouldn't be a very nice thing to say. But there certainly seems to be some kind of trade-off involved.
posted by hap_hazard at 1:02 PM on April 5 [4 favorites]


ThePinkSuperhero: Oh man, the M&G diner. We did a meetup there once. The food was good and the lady behind the counter (who looked about 100) was so sweet. It's a bummer every time I go by and see it not there.

What's galling about M&G is that the restaurant closed in 2008 and nothing has gone into that location since. I don't know if that has to do with the recession or if the landlord is asking for some obscene amount of rent, but it's been a gutted space, with just the old sign hanging above.

In comparison, in the last five years at least a half dozen small businesses have opened in my immediate neighborhood: two coffee places, a music school, a pilates studio, a ramen joint, a sushi restaurant, and a second-hand/consignment shop. An old-school deli (with the super-strong coffee and hot milk on the burner) around the corner from us closed, reopened, and closed for good a couple months ago.

As Columbia gets closer to finishing this "second campus" grand project of theirs (just across 125th from my building), the commercial real estate goons will be giddily anticipating a hike in the rents.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 1:22 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]


...filth and danger are exactly what make it possible for young artists or any kind of functioning bohemia ...

Well, maybe not, maybe it's more along the lines of a lack of rapacious real estate market. That said, I once knew a very very fine actor who worked off off broadway, in a company with a couple kind of famous movie stars, who made their real living selling cocaine.

The problem the storefronts project illustrates is the imbalance that comes into play once you let the real estate market go wild. Here in Berlin they (people, not investors) have been taking all the steps possible to slow this process down (mostly enacting laws that favor the renter in ways that make rent stabilization in NYC look like weak sauce.)

And I also miss the Mars Bar.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:22 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]


Like a friend said when they cleaned up Times Square - "there had to have been more choices for that area aside from 'porn shops' and 'Gap franchises'", is all.

In general, I think you're right, but for Times Square - Idunno. I mean, it's smack dab in the center of the center of Manhattan and its one of the most famous locations in the world. The nearby theater district meant that tourists were always at its doorstep, even in the Bad Old Days. What else was it gonna become - a Korean food court? Williamsburg circa 1998?

I think the larger point about gentrification/homogenization holds. There needs to be room in this city for things other than Duane Reades, Citibanks and upscale bakeries. But Times Square isn't for New Yorkers, and I don't really have a problem with that.
posted by breakin' the law at 1:31 PM on April 5


But Times Square isn't for New Yorkers, and I don't really have a problem with that.

But it used to be. At least, it wasn't a "tourists only" district, it was an extension of Broadway, with legit movie theaters and stages there - before all the porn stores. And it could have been again.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:35 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]


When I went to Paris, I remember being so disappointed because it pretty much looked just like new york. I am still convinced that the expatriate paris is out there, just not anywhere I can visit.

Amsterdam felt different tho. Paris felt just like new york. Only a bit cleaner.

New york has always felt to me like a snake or bug constantly shedding an exoskeleton, constantly reinventing itself. Hopefully it doesn't reinvent itself as all bank branches.
posted by sio42 at 2:23 PM on April 5 [1 favorite]


...filth and danger are exactly what make it possible for young artists or any kind of functioning bohemia ...

... Well, maybe not, maybe it's more along the lines of a lack of rapacious real estate market. ... Here in Berlin they (people, not investors) have been taking all the steps possible to slow this process down ...


I was going to bring Berlin up as the perfect example of how to have a vibrant bohemia without having dangerous streets or a massive underclass. I'd still love to know how they do it - it seems like it would provide a good economic model for the rest of the world's cities.

When I went to Paris, I remember being so disappointed because it pretty much looked just like New York.

Which parts? I can't think of any neighborhoods in either that I'd get confused ... though I don't know Paris that well. I love New York for the energy, but I never thought it was a particularly good looking city in the way that Paris is.
posted by kanewai at 2:34 PM on April 5


In response to lupus_yonderboy: Do you live here?

Yes, for sixteen years, if that's long enough to matter to you. I've opened and run a business here, too.

The pictures are "literally superficial" in that they are just pictures of storefronts without context. Nothing about what was in them; who owned them; what their place was in the community.

I don't support chain stores, or closing locally owned stores. I think it's a huge problem. I'm upset by many of the turns the city has taken in the past decade. I just don't think these pictures say anything useful about that problem. And I definitely am not a fan of the glorification of old, run-down shit for the sake of it being old and run-down.

The typewriter shop down the street from me closed this past December. I could buy all the ribbons for my old Royal Portable I wanted, but my custom wasn't enough to keep that shop afloat. There's not a big demand for hoisery shops anymore, either. I'd rather see a dozen new businesses employing a hundred people than a row of empty, near-derelict typewriter and hoisery shops that employ twenty. Some of the new shops will be chains, some of them will be local. But that problem isn't solved by holding our breath and turning blue. It's solved by providing incentives and loans for local businesses, by helping keep rents under control, by frequenting local shops and not buying shit at Target. Not by demanding that the local Bowler and Cravat Emporium stay sacrosanct forever and ever amen.

And for the record, I thought Mars Bar sucked, so you can piss on me for that if you want.
posted by phooky at 3:59 PM on April 5 [6 favorites]


(Also, instead of moaning about Mars Bar y'all should go to Hank's Saloon on Atlantic. Support Your Existing Dive Bar!)
posted by phooky at 4:12 PM on April 5


If the past is anything to go by, it's just a matter of waiting things out a few years.

At least, it wasn't a "tourists only" district, it was an extension of Broadway, with legit movie theaters and stages there - before all the porn stores. And it could have been again.

Indeed. Interestingly, there was a long period of relative stasis in NYC from the twenties to the sixties. The Depression prevented some change, the second war more, and the slow recovery from the war dragged things out a bit more. What changed things? One might blame Lindsay. Plenty have. (And not just of politics!)
posted by IndigoJones at 6:20 PM on April 5


There's a reason gentrification plays out the way it does. You could make this same book about Seattle. In a few years, I'll bet you'll be able to make one for Austin, too. It just seems the natural consequence of the legal and economic systems we've chosen. After all, having hundreds of identical Subway franchises in each city is a lot more efficient than having a bunch of small, independent restaurants.

Ugh, yea. But you would have had to take those photos about 10 years ago. Seattle is already pretty well in to the process of being fucked by this.

I think the biggest problem facing smaller businesses is that when a new building goes up, the spaces in it are often prohibitively expensive and also generally lack any semblance of style or character. it's just "expensive generic modern box with concrete floors". A lot of local businesses i've visited in many cities are kind of inexorably tied to their interesting space. And trying to just take the thematic elements of that sort of thing and build it into a new space always just feels incredibly fake and cheesy, even if you can get past the hurdles of price and such.

It's like the interchangeable step of either building gets sold or businesses start getting priced out>new building is being built for at least a year>businesses have now had nowhere to be for that time, generally, and now can't afford the new rent anyways.

Then you end up with stretches of empty storefronts with a panera bread on one end, and maybe a cookie cutter frozen yoghurt shop in the middle. The local businesses that do go in area always heavily monied affairs that look like the baked by melissa or the gelato shop from those pictures.

I don't know what to actually do about it, but i don't like it. For instance in my neighborhood now, there's no 99 cent store anymore to buy cheap beanies at when you lose yours. The place was busy and popular, but their rent got raised so much they had to shutter.
posted by emptythought at 6:30 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]


I moved to New York in 2000, after the crime and blight was on the downswing. In my opinion it was the perfect sweet spot of character and grit. New York felt safe, but it also felt interesting.

Putting on my weiner hat for a second, but doesn't everyone say this about everywhere? Maybe it's just that i've spent all the years since the middle of high school hanging out with musicians, but i can't do anything but giggle-snort at people saying they got in while it was still cool, just before it started to get lame maaan even when there's a nugget of truth in there.

It would probably be easily verifiable to find someone who moved there 10 years before you did who said the same thing(yep), and said the toilet handle had already been yanked by the time you moved.

I feel like for this discussion to have any meaning, it has to focus more on the aspect of local businesses and rising rents, not some subjective measurement of grit and cool. Because it's very easy for this sort of thing to devolve into a street cred wankfest.
posted by emptythought at 6:42 PM on April 5 [9 favorites]


Grew up outside the city (coming in almost weekly) in the 70s, visited constantly through the 80s and 90s, moved to the city proper late 90s, been here ever since.

I take the long view whenever I'm hating on something (at the moment my pet peeve is all the cutesy little fucking baked goods storefronts everywhere, but then in general I think there are way too many restaurants, I know what kind of New Yorker am I?).

I just remember it will all be under water in just a couple of hundred years.
posted by spitbull at 6:43 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]


What's galling about M&G is that the restaurant closed in 2008 and nothing has gone into that location since. I don't know if that has to do with the recession or if the landlord is asking for some obscene amount of rent, but it's been a gutted space, with just the old sign hanging above.

Ugh, so sad to hear. I hadn't been by in awhile so I wasn't sure if they filled the space yet. I don't know why it closed (couldn't find anything) but it would be extra sad if they got the boot for this.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:17 PM on April 5 [1 favorite]


There needs to be room in this city for things other than Duane Reades, Citibanks and upscale bakeries. But Times Square isn't for New Yorkers, and I don't really have a problem with that.

I think that's what keeps NYC from about 2000-2006 so rosy in my memory. Was Times Square already fucked? Sure. But the neighborhoods where my friends and I lived -- Upper Manhattan and the East Village/Lower East Side and Williamsburg/Greenpoint and Long Island City/Astoria -- were mostly normal places full of businesses that served the community. There were enough banks and pharmacies, and also enough of everything else.

After 2008 I started noticing that, suddenly, New York seemed to be full of places my friends and I couldn't afford to hang out, or places that didn't apply to us/were superfluous. There was a critical moment somewhere in there, where things transitioned from "finally there's a branch of my bank near my apartment" to "oh god ANOTHER Chase?"

Have we, in fact, hit Peak Duane Reade?
posted by Sara C. at 7:38 PM on April 5 [1 favorite]


doesn't everyone say this about everywhere?

Yes and no.

For New York, sure, probably all the way back to the 50's, where you've got people who are proud to have stayed on when White Flight was happening. I remember hearing my then boyfriend's parents bragging circa 2000 about paying $50 a month for a two bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side back in the 60's, and what is Manhattan coming to, and basically the whole song and dance you still hear from people like me. There are probably 25 year olds who moved to Crown Heights the summer I moved out, looking around thinking, "Man, this neighborhood used to be cool..."

But, no, actually, everybody doesn't say this about everywhere. Living in LA right now, I feel like a lot of people are really excited to be living in this particular city, in this particular moment. I never hear people reminisce about The Before Times, When Everything Was Cool.

I remember seeing New Orleans disappear as a possibility for me overnight, after Katrina, when rents tripled and haven't really gone back down.

Everyone seems to agree that San Francisco was over a hell of a long time ago.
posted by Sara C. at 7:45 PM on April 5 [1 favorite]


Peak Walgreens, actually.
posted by borges at 7:45 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]


Oh man, I remember when Walgreens came to Clinton Hill. At first I was psyched, because the only other pharmacy in walking distance closed at 5, and it was a total bitch to fill prescriptions if you had a job at all.

Now I just feel guilty about it.
posted by Sara C. at 7:50 PM on April 5


Author Jack Womack coined my favorite phrase to describe this process. He calls it, regooding. Regooding is often but not always a bad thing.
posted by digitalprimate at 12:35 AM on April 6


I think that's what keeps NYC from about 2000-2006 so rosy in my memory. Was Times Square already fucked? Sure. But the neighborhoods where my friends and I lived -- Upper Manhattan and the East Village/Lower East Side and Williamsburg/Greenpoint and Long Island City/Astoria -- were mostly normal places full of businesses that served the community. There were enough banks and pharmacies, and also enough of everything else.

This is interesting, because i know exactly what you're talking about. The thing is, my theory about it is that by the time it's reached that balance, it's right on a precipice. Like balancing a chair on two legs or riding a bike with no hands. There's essentially no barrier to high speed turbo-gentrification at that point since the area already has everything it needs. Step 1 has already happened where it went from being totally economically depressed/slightly derelict to a sort of homeostasis with there still being lots of broken down old buildings but also a base level of chains/corporate services like banks and big grocery stores and rite aids.

Everything seems peachy until one day the building next to a dive bar is getting plowed, then a few months later there's an office max, fancy walk in dental office, and bank... next to the grungey dive bar that has metal and crust punk shows.

And then everything goes to hell in a handbasket, and they knock down the old manufacturing building where the grungey practice space your friends all used was to build 7 stories of condos. ut they keep the facade of course, because it has character.
posted by emptythought at 1:43 AM on April 6 [2 favorites]


I was going to bring Berlin up as the perfect example of how to have a vibrant bohemia without having dangerous streets or a massive underclass.

But Berlin does have a massive underclass. Really massive. The total population of Berlin is ~3.5 million (and there is essentially no sprawl to Berlin) and of those maybe 250,000 are 'in' on how 'cool' Berlin is. The rest are kind of just getting by. (As in median income is around 30,000 euro/year).

If you can bear not living in the 'cool' parts of town you could pay around 5euro/sq meter/ month - which translates to a 500 sq ft apt. costing about 325dollars a month (before utilities). But it's really not nice in those areas, or cool, or interesting. Safe, generally, but boring as hell and weird in pointless ways. And you are potentially really far from anything interesting. If you want to live in the cool areas, the rent is double or triple that. Which, bear in mind, is still cheaper than Paris, London, New York, Madrid/Barcelona.

The point of Berlin is that, to draw an analogy with NYC, it's still in the late 90's real-estate wise but Bloomberg is nowhere to be found and he wouldn't get elected if/when he shows up. I have heard of lots of foreign investors ditching Berlin's real estate market because it grows to slowly. Which I suppose is the secret - do it slowly.
posted by From Bklyn at 4:13 AM on April 6 [4 favorites]


Re Paris, an acquaintance of mine who was born and raised in Paris said that New York was so like Paris he expected to walk through a door and end up back in his Paris apartment. When I went there, I realized that was both totally true and not really an endorsement. The biggest bummer is that, on top of being calcified in a way reminiscent of NYC, the Paris metro stops running at 1 AM, which I'll grant is kind of a bad food, small portions complaint, but oh well.
posted by invitapriore at 2:51 PM on April 6


The biggest bummer is that, on top of being calcified in a way reminiscent of NYC, the Paris metro stops running at 1 AM, which I'll grant is kind of a bad food, small portions complaint, but oh well.

How is this illegitimate? one of the biggest problems with public transit in a lot of places, including major cities, is how early it stops running or the areas it blatantly doesn't reach.
posted by emptythought at 3:22 PM on April 6


Long live Ideal Hosiery, I guess.

Yeah I'd like to know what the story is behind that place.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:54 PM on April 6


It's good to keep in mind that it's not just the humble little shops and bars and restaurants (that some consider eyesores, apparently) that are being priced out on a daily basis. Plenty of other great places that have made up the heart and soul of NYC for so many years are also being forced out to make way for the insatiable moneyed classes. So long, Rizzoli Books.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:41 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, on the Lower East Side… Last Bohemian Turns Out the Lights
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:23 AM on April 7


And then everything goes to hell in a handbasket, and they knock down the old manufacturing building where the grungey practice space your friends all used was to build 7 stories of condos. ut they keep the facade of course, because it has character.
posted by emptythought at 3:43 AM on April 6


This is happening in Nashville right now, and it's really weird.
posted by joannemerriam at 8:12 AM on April 7


Wait...I'm going to New Amsterdam later this month and now you tell me I've been studying Dutch for nothing? Alles dat voor niets? Kak!
posted by malocchio at 10:13 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]


Looking at some of those old storefronts, I feel a weird mix of nostalgia and being creeped out. Those are the types of stores you'd go into as a kid and feel depressed in, because they were so dingy and the people working there looked sorta miserable. Yet, you miss it.
posted by ChuckRamone at 11:40 AM on April 7 [1 favorite]


Wait...I'm going to New Amsterdam later this month

You misspelled Nieuw.

/Dutch pedant
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:31 PM on April 7 [2 favorites]


So long Pearl Paint.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:16 PM on April 9


If that's true, New York is officially dead.
posted by Sara C. at 4:20 PM on April 9


Pearl paint!?? NOooooooooOOOOOOO!
posted by dabitch at 5:45 PM on April 9


Pearl paint!?? NOooooooooOOOOOOO!

Yes.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:30 PM on April 21


Oh, and so long Kim's Video.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:38 PM on April 21




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