Thursday, April 24, 2008

Soho Windows

This was Soho in the mid-1980's, where Little Italy could still be found, before the high-end retail took over, when everything was dirty windows and dusty candy stores, with the vertical ladders of the fire escapes dropping down to the deck-plated covers of the stairs that lead to the sidewalk vaults. Before the lofts sold for millions and there were still garment factories and set shops among the bodegas and social clubs.

Foreplay Studios was one of these shops, on a corner near Sixth Avenue with jars of baby doll heads watching over the passers-by from a bullet-scarred window on Grand Street, while a plaster Donald Duck stared out over Greene Street through another set of casements. According to the sign, they made scenery for motion pictures.

June 1986

Well, not anymore, it seems. I don't know when or where they went, but they've been gone for years. Google only returns on the name with reference to paintings by two artists, which may be of the same subject, which may, indeed, be this subject, however one was only a description in a review ('...a Soho facade') but the other had a thumbnail of the painting, which looked like, well, a Soho facade. (I did a search through Google Images, but with keywords like 'foreplay' and 'studios', you can imagine the hits I got beyond the first page.) Using the street view on Google maps for this location, I see that the building has been nicely cleaned and restored, with the requisite boutique on the ground floor. The upper floors are all residential today.


Sharon said...

These are quite affecting. That looks like a genuine Kewpie head on the far right in the second photo.

Steve Rogg said...

It has been a long time since I've been to downtown but it seems like it is losing it charm. Peter Hamill 's Downtown: My Manhattan is a good read
about that part of NY.