Photographers James and Karla Murray took a bunch of pictures of storefronts in Lower Manhattan in the early aughts, and imagine their complete lack of surprise to find that most of the stores they photographed have been replaced by banks, chain stores, upscale restaurants, and different banks. The Murrays compiled their photos into a coffee table book in 2009, and have now embarked on another project, juxtaposing the original pictures with shots, taken from the exact same angles, of whatever character-less thing replaced the storefronts. The results, while not exactly shocking, are about as good a visual representation of the East Village's and Lower East Side's gentrification as you are likely to find. Jeremiah's Vanishing New York has more pictures, as well as an interview with the couple. "The purpose of the photos in the before-and-after project is to clearly spell out and provide documentation of not only what storefronts have been lost, but also what is often lacking in the commercial space's replacement," said one of them, or both of them in unison.
· NYC Before & After [JVNY]