10 February 2009

Polish Paris

Have I never posted about Greenpoint's Paris Shoe Store before? How could this be? I thought I had. Anyway, I freakin' love this little shop.

First of all, I love independent shoe stores period, mainly because, well, there aren't that many left, and, for some reason I can't explain, they all have a wistful, plaintive air about them. Nothing quite reeks of lo-fi, old-world values as a family-owned shoe store.

Furthermore, old shoe stores can almost always be counted on to feature a sort of storefront set-up I dearly adore. I wish I knew the architectural term for it, but it's that arrangement in which there are narrow, but roomy glass display cases on either side of a tiled walkway that leads up to the recessed front door. The blueprint kindly allows the shopper to browse the shop's entire stock without the pressure of actually entering the store. It also furnishes a little contextual variety to the street scene. The only other businesses I know that regularly featured this store design in the past were hat shops.

The shop's name is somewhat hilarious in its grand ambitions. What did or do the denizens of Greenpoint care about "Paris Style Shoes." Now, "Shoes for Kiddies," maybe. And certainly the big sale advertised on the left in English and on the right in Polish is of great interest.

I know nothing of the history of the shop, or even when it was founded. Just after World War II, I'd say. Anyone who knows more, please write in.


Anonymous said...

When I was a little girl, in the 1960's I used to love going to this shoe store. The store was one of the few that still had the old fashioned foot rulers and cushy fitting seats. One of the previous owners was named Harry. In fact I believe the store was once called Harry's Shoe Store. I adored Harry. He used to charm the little boys & girls with lollipops and charms. It was a place were children enjoyed going to. He was like a second Grandpa. It was the only store that my mom knew of, that sold my needed tap & ballet dancing shoes. Harry sent away to France for the satin pink laces that needed to be sewn onto my toe dancing shoes. And for extra money he would sew on the laces. When the work was done he asked me to stand on my toes for him. I did. And he gave me a box of lambs wool. The lambs wool was needed in the tip of the dancing shoe to soften those on the toes ballet steps. I regret not keeping those toe shoes. But when my mom passed away, I found the box of lambs wool at her apartment!

Anonymous said...

The best example of the sort of shoe store you're talking about can be found downtown, on Trinity Place, right by the American Stock Exchange. Stapleton Shoes - do you know it? I swear, it's like a film set from 1958. If you don't know it, you should go have a look --> one of my pix of the place http://www.flickr.com/photos/benzadrine/2485383906/.