New York Daily Photo Analytics

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Pearl Paint

Does this look chaotic and rather unappealing? Perhaps less than an ideal photo subject or setting? It is - this is Pearl Paint on Canal Street. For those of you not familiar with Canal Street, let's just say it's not for those looking for the bucolic setting of 121 Charles Street, 39 & 41 Commerce Street or the Boat Pond in Central Park, but home to some of NYC's shopping emporiums, both present and past (mostly past; sadly, fixtures like Canal Hardware and Industrial Plastics have closed). Pearl Paint is NYC's largest art store - the mecca for art supplies in the city. Their website claims to be the first and largest discount art supply house. Plausible, since they started as a regular paint store on Chambers Street and have been in business since 1933. As SOHO/Tribeca became a haven for artists, Pearl responded by getting into art supplies. They have 5 floors across two adjoining buildings and 3 additional store fronts: The Craft Center, Frame Shop and Home Decorating Center on Lispenard Street (which can be accessed through the rear exit of the main store). Pearl now has over 20 stores in 10 states. Their flagship store at 308 Canal Street is the ultimate in classic New York Style - a little disheveled, a little rough around the edges. Most take the dreary, creaky stairs up and down the five floors - the elevator in the rear is probably unknown to most and painfully slow anyway. No glitz here - just the real deal. These guys have everything ...

12 comments:

Prokur said...

How long did you waited for only white cars being in front of Pearl Paint? ;)
Nice and clear photograph :D

Red car behind BMW paint in this picture! :)

Brian said...

prokur -
I actually just waited for no trucks to be in the way. The white cars were a convenient accident.
Brian

calusarus said...

What colors !!!

Moi said...

I think i like this less-than-perfect place....if all places were as perfect as others, it kinda takes away the character from a city...

Kate said...

I, too, like this place--it has character! It must be a great shop to visit. The link to the steps showed the tin ceiling quite well, and I wonder if it's the original?

An Honest Man said...

It makes a refreshing change from the sameness of many of our modern emporiums - and that is worldwide, not confined to one country.

Vive la difference!!

Anonymous said...

hi brian,
i've been following your blog since i started planning my new york trip a few months ago amazed by all the things this city has to offer. in two days the time will finally come and i wonder if you have any tips for a photographer on how to approach the city? is there a special code of conduct? are there any no-go areas or things you should avoid under nay cirumstances? feel free to contact me at jerome(at)sharp-shooter.eu

keep on shooting
jerome
www.sharp-shooter.eu

Brian said...

moi -
Virtually every artist I've met prefers the less manicured lawn. I know the unique and slightly askew atmosphere can be appealing.

Kate - I would imagine the ceiling is original. I doubt that Pearl would have invested in the stairwell.

an honest man - 'Tis true. We are seeing homogeneity worldwide. What used to make NYC unique (like other cities) is fast disappearing. I don't think that it is conspiratorial or an orchestrated plan, just a confluence of different factors including economics and cultural changes. Of course some of this is shaped by business, marketing etc.
Brian

Carlos said...

This building is like candy to my eyes. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I always appreciated that those "dreary creaky stairs" smelled like good old oils and turpentine.

annulla said...

The best thing about Pearl Paint, I think, is that the staff knows the answer to every possible art-supply related question. I have never, ever seen them stumped.

Anonymous said...

From the smell of the oil paint, to the wooden stairs and floors, I love this store and have gone here for 30 years. The array of colors in the paint section and the different brands offered makes it hard to choose. I love this place and hope they never re-do it, it would be a shame. The best prices too, definitely worth the trip from Staten Island that I make.