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Now you see this museum, now you don't

By Beth Collins
updated September 29, 2021
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You know those sorta-bookish, sorta-edgy glasses Johnny Depp is always wearing? I became obsessed with them recently when I decided I needed glasses, so I did some research. It turns out that they're made by Moscot, and the company's flagship store is right here in Manhattan, on the Lower East Side. The shop has been open for more than 90 years and is something of an institution. A travel destination? Unless you share my optical obsession, probably not. I just learned, though, that the shop is turning its first floor into a temporary museum, which, to my mind, earns it instant travel-worthy status.

The collection will consist of never-before-released black-and-white photographs of the Lower East Side from the 1930s to the 1970s. As any New Yorker will tell you, before the neighborhood was taken over by American Apparel, Whole Foods, and more hipsters than you can shake a leg warmer at, it was home to one of New York's most prominent immigrant communities. With such a rich, eclectic history to draw from, these photographs are bound to be interesting.

The collection will only be up from November 23 to December 31—here and gone before you know it. If you visit, be sure to head upstairs to the retail shop and check out the eyeglasses. Turns out my vision is fine, after all (and I would never be able to pull these off anyway), but maybe you can come up with an excuse to buy a pair.

Moscot Museum, November 23 through December 31

Grand opening: November 23 1 p.m.—7 p.m.

Regular hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 1 p.m.—7 p.m.

Saturdays: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Sundays: 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.

118 Orchard Street (at Delancey)

Subway: F train to Delancey Street)

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