The photo of the week depicts an exterior view of La Borinquena, a family-owned grocery store located in the South Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. Known as Los Sures (Spanish for the Souths or Southside), the neighborhood’s Puerto Rican roots stretch back to the early half of the twentieth century, when Puerto Rican migrants began settling in the borough. A thriving center of Puerto Rican life and culture, the neighborhood has faced some of the same challenges of gentrification as other areas of Brooklyn, namely displacement and the vanishing of long-time community-based businesses. The grocery closed in 2013, after forty years. This photograph is part of an ongoing project by photographers James and Karla Murray to document storefronts in Brooklyn and New York City. Brooklyn Historical Society’s photography collection includes 41 color photographic prints taken by the Murrays between the late 1990s and 2008. The photographs were part of an exhibition at the museum in 2008 titled Counter Culture: The Disappearing Face of Brooklyn’s Storefronts.
You can view more photographs from this collection in our online image gallery. A selection of photographs from this collection are on view as part of The Business in Brooklyn exhibition at Brooklyn Historical Society’s Pierrepont headquarters. The exhibition explores the past 100 years of business in the borough. James and Karla Murray have their related work from Lower East Side storefronts now on display in a mixed media art installation recently opened in Seward Park in Manhattan.
Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our Brooklyn Visual Heritage website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m. firstname.lastname@example.org
For more on the history of Williamsburg’s Puerto Rican communities, visit list to BHS’s “Puerto Rican Oral History Project records” oral histories on our online oral history portal