A Pearl Among Stores

How did I not know Pearl Paint closed?!?! Not just closed, but closed for a little over a year now. It felt as though I was just there recently, but time is indeed fluid to the heart as it was December 2013 I was there last according to my bank statement.

I had wanted to go by Pearl on a day off just because. The place always inspired me and as one can see from the dearth of posting as of late, I could use it. Still, something said go online and check the store’s opening hours before I drag my tail down there and that’s how I learned yet another NYC societal if not historical landmark that has fallen victim to the giant called capitalism.

After the shock of the discovery, I semi-joked I have not been this mournful since I read the Red Wedding scene in George R.R. Martin’s “A Storm of Swords“.  If you do not know what the Red Wedding is by now, don’t bother asking. Just understand that it’s something bad.  Sucker punch, gasp out loud, gut wrenching bad.

Because it’s a new wound for me, i want to pass by the site and poor libations on its threshold. That’s how the unexpected loss of Pearl Paint has struck me.

Pearl Paint was an eight decades old institution. Whether the amateur looking for stamped tin foil for an occasional scrapbook or the professional looking for gold foil leaf for a mural in a skyscraper, Pearl had it. I did not go there often, as Pearl was off my beaten path, but once I was there, I was there for a couple of hours minimum. Since the early 80’s, when I first discovered the place, it was six floors of dusty, seemingly nonsensical, glorious mayhem.  But if I needed it artistically, Pearl Paint had it. And it was not just an art supply store for many of the staff and fellow shoppers were artists in their own right. I come in with what I think is a simple question or request and leave some time later having absorbed knowledge, techniques, tools and sometimes gossip.

And now it’s all gone.

I mean doors locked, gates closed, assets sold off .

*Gone*.

Yes, there are other art supply stores, this is New York City, but none like Pearl Paint. I Alas no, like so many other places and spaced becoming a part of my past, it’s now just memory.

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Come see how others are slicing up their days.

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4 thoughts on “A Pearl Among Stores

  1. I felt the same way when I read that Pearl Paint was gone. It took a while for me to consider looking elsewhere for what I needed, I loved that place so much.

    I go to Utrecht now…. it pales in comparison.

  2. It is hard when something we expect to be where it always was is no more. There may be other places carrying the same supplies, but it is not the same.

  3. It’s sad when we see unique places like these close their doors It’s not just in big cities like New York City, either.

    On a side note, the name of your store reminded me of a favorite children’s book, Pearl Paints. it is out of print. I would be upset if I lost my copy, but I still loan it to our art teacher for a lesson every year…

  4. We won’t need Armageddon to get a sense of the scorched earth awaiting us. We merely need to examine the landscape of lost icons. I don’t know Pearl Paint but did read about the impending closing of F.A.O. Schwartz. What’s happening in NYC has long plagued small towns across our amber waves of grain for decades. Unfortunately, the turning to big box stores and online retailers won’t subside just because another iconic business has closed. We seem to have a disconnect between our thirst for a bargain and our longing for meaningful places.

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