Monday, April 28, 2008

The Lower East Side Remembered

LES memories

"Orchard Street"
Oil on canvas
24 x 18 inches

I'm feeling nostalgic today. Maybe it is because I watched the movie "Crossing Delancy" last night and enjoyed it as much as I did when it was first released in the '80's. I was also flooded with memories of the Lower East Side that I remembered from my childhood. My Dad was born on Allen Street and many a Sunday would find us having lunch at Ratner's or Katz's or Glucksterns and then shopping on Orchard Street and Essex Street among others. My brother and I would get our clothes for camp there, as well as the footlocker and blankets and name tags. That was the place where I would often get a winter coat, after some haggling on my parents part with the shopkeepers. Bargaining was expected, it was part of the "experience" of shopping in New York's first "mall". We would bring home pickles and candy and underwear.

"Winter Sunlight"
Oil on canvas
26 x 36 inches

As I got older and started painting, I would bring my camera with me and photograph the building facades, the clothes hanging from the windows and doorways, the throngs that would be found in the neighborhood on a Sunday afternoon. The two paintings I share with you today were done in the 1980's of a Lower East Side that is greatly changed. I was photographing the area a few weeks ago and was amazed by the changes. Chic restaurants and clothing stores, modern glass buildings nestled between century old tenements, lots of changes. Maybe it's progress, maybe not. I'm just sitting here today feeling nostalgic and taking a walk down memory lane.

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