23 August 2009

Tragedy in Greenpoint

It was only in February when I published a paean to Greenpoint's Paris Shop Store, one of my favorite small, independent shops in New York City. I thought at the time, it will be a dark day when that store is forced by the times, and the city's brutal real estate market, to close. Yet, I somehow knew that that day would come soon.

Well, that rainy day is here. Paris isn't disappearing, but it is moving from its lovely, old world storefront 832 Manhattan Avenue to a far less picturesque location at 704 Manhattan Avenue. A large white banner, almost completely covering the sweet Paris Shoe Store sign, advertises the space as being for rent. Flyers taped to the windows notify shoppers of the coming move in both English and Polish.

How sad that this little operation should lose its longtime space, which, in its modest way, is quite beautiful, quite romantic. It's the kind of storefront that makes you feel like you live in a neighborhood when you look at it. I still don't know much about the history of the place (it was closed when I went by the other day, so I could ask no questions), but it's at least 50 years old. I stumbled upon an oldtimer's remembrance on the web. She said the store used to have View Masters hanging from ribbons in the store windows to entertain the kids while the adults were shopping.

Below is the space where Paris will move—another shoe store, as it happens. I hope they take the sign with them. Too bad they can't take the twin, facing, glass display cases. They are simply classic.

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