Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Moms & Pops

Artist Nate Padavick did a series a few years back called Alive & Kicking: NYC Independent Business Owners. These 17 portraits of the city's "moms and pops" were exhibited at Jeffrey's Meats in the Essex Street Market, and now you can see them online here.

I can't help thinking: What if these were made into action figures? Then we could play with them in Randy Hage's miniature city, and never have to leave our apartments again.

“My inspiration for the NYC collection was a Russian tailor named Emilio who owned a shop on the street level of my old apartment building on 16th Street near 6th Avenue,” said Nate.

“Emilio was a neighborhood fixture who could always be counted on to give you his detailed criticisms on any topic from politics to the neighborhood to the pain-in-the-neck customer who just left the shop. And to top it off, he was a great tailor. Sadly, due to rising rents, Emilio left, which is the plight of many small businesses and why I decided to celebrate one of the institutions that gives New York its backbone and makes the city so unique.”

Read an interview with Annie here

“Nate has chosen an amazing group of people to feature in this series and I am proud, overwhelmed and excited to be a part of this important project,” said Jeffrey Ruhalter of Jeffrey’s Meats.

“The people that Nate chose, and all of the other independent business owners in this city offer something that is hard to find these days. In the past the butcher, the baker, the bike repairman, they were the face and the service behind their business, but that has changed. Big retailers do a fine job of servicing their customers, but do they really know who they are? When little kids come up to you on the street and offer you a warm smile and a hello you begin to realize how important our role in the fabric of this city’s economy actually is.”

Read about:
Annie of DeRobertis
Moishe's Kosher Bake Shop
Jeffrey's Meat


ivanova said...

I love these portraits!

BTW, I also lived up the street from Emilio's, and he was a neighborhood fixture and a great tailor (and I'm sure he still is.) But his name was not actually Emilio. He bought the store Emilio's from another tailor, and kept the name, and was happy to answer to it. It sort of makes sense if you think about it because Emilio is not a Russian name. The same was true of a laundry also on 16th street between 7th and 8th, another former neighborhood fixture. Everyone called the owner Mr. Dea because the shop was called Dea's. It was only when he died and his wife hosted a memorial service that the neighborhood found out that his name was not Dea.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the "mom and pop" posts, especially the one about DeRoberti's. It was my introduction to the delights of Italian pastry and orzata drinks back in the sixties. Love the photos of the beautiful tile floor!

Laura Goggin Photography said...

Those are awesome and I love the action figure idea! There's just one missing...Ray!