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March 01, 2021

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George Baker

I was fortunate as a college student to work in The Prince Building for an art dealer in the mid-90s. At that time Soho had yet to fully succumb to the monoculture of suburban mall chain stores, and even some lingering vestiges of the Soho of this documentary where still discernible. Crosby Street in particular was a wonderland of fascinating and eccentric shop fronts that included Housing Works Bookshop, Historical Materialism, Rabin and Claiborne, Paula Rubenstein, and French General.

It was all very artistic, and with a backdrop of the glorious 19th century industrial architecture, made for some of the best lunch hour urban strolling to be found in the city for an aspiring antiquarian. If you widen the area a smidge to encompass shops like Talas, A Photographer's Place, Elli Buk, and Peter-Roberts, that streetscape was just as invigorating to the young antiques enthusiast as the city's record stores were for music fans, as you have documented so well. It would have shocked me in my 20's that what I was enjoying then would be eradicated in the near future in such a short time span. The Crosby Street I am nostalgic for now as thoroughly wiped away as the industrial past before it, by an even more virulent strain of gentrification.

Thank you for making me aware of this documentary.

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