Last July, when Cup and Saucer closed due to a rent hike after more than 75 years in business, the throwback luncheonette was mourned by Lower East Siders. The mom-and-pop diner has now been replaced by a chicken and pizza joint, but its storefront, at least, will return to the neighborhood in the form of a tribute that will live in Seward Park for a year. Karla and James Murray, the East Village photographers whose Store Front books document some of the city’s iconic and evocative facades, are creating a structure displaying near-life-size versions of four of their photos. “Mom & Pops of the LES,” as the project is called, is described in a Kickstarter campaign as “an artistic intervention and a plea for recognition of the unique and irreplaceable contribution made to New York by small, often family-owned businesses.”
The Kickstarter campaign, launched yesterday, aims to raise $3,250 to supplement existing grant money and help cover the cost of building, installing and insuring the 8-foot-high, 12-foot-wide, 8-foot-deep wooden structure. Once it takes its place in Seward Park in late June, it will display photos of places that “represent small businesses that were common on the LES and brought the community together through people’s daily interactions,” Karla Murray says in a fundraising video. A mockup shows Katz’s Delicatessen, a local bodega, Cup & Saucer, and another bygone Lower East Side business, Chung’s Candy & Soda Shop.
Among the Kickstarter rewards are a miniature version of the sculpture, for those who want to chip in $500 and keep Cup & Saucer forever on their desk.
As of this posting, nearly half of the money had already been raised.