Monday, April 6, 2009
The Location of the Real Paul's Boutique
The photo on the Paul's Boutique album cover is not of the real Paul's Boutique clothing store. It is of Lee's Sportswear, which was at the corner of Ludlow and Rivington on the Lower East Side in Manhattan. The Paul's Boutique sign was added to the building for the album cover photo. (Much later someone opened a Paul's Boutique diner at that location, but it is now closed. Since they didn't make any effort to emulate the look of the fictional Paul's Boutique, this doesn't make me sad at all.)
There was, however, a real Paul's Boutique and it was in Brooklyn. It was located at 758 Linden Blvd, between Utica Ave. and E. 51st St. I haven't ever called (718) 498-1043 but I did go to 758 Linden Blvd. the weekend before last and this is what it now looks like. The only thing that now remains is for me to track down the real Janice. That would be historic, on par with Errol Morris's best work.
One funny thing about the fake Paul's Boutique on the album cover: maybe I haven't explored Brooklyn enough, but the street corner depicted on the album cover looks to me like the kind of corner that one only sees in Manhattan. It certainly doesn't look anything like the buildings around where the real Paul's Boutique was, nor does it look like any of the neighborhoods I'm familiar with anywhere else in Brooklyn. Maybe this was intentional. I'm fond of the idea, suggested by the author of the 33 1/3 book on Paul's Boutique, that Paul's Boutique is an expression of nostalgia for NYC by former NYC-ers who have moved West. Maybe the cover photo intended to use the Lower East Side of the late 80's to depict what Brooklyn looked like in the late 70's.
Posted by Charles P. Everitt at 8:21 PM