Below photo was taken by street photographer Godlis
in 1984 at his neighborhood corner, do you know
"Who's that girl" in the center?
People surrounding her are the film crew of the movie
"Desperately Seeking Susan", known for casting a young
female pop singer who was at the time hugely popular world wide.
Yes, that is young Maddona.
And this is GEM SPA, a corner store in East Village,
where Godlis, Roberta Bayley, and PUNK's John Holmstrom reside.
East Village landmark GEM SPA in seasons, shot by Godlis
GEM SPA is a typical news stand selling papers and magazines,
cigarettes and candies, and they are famous for Egg Cream which
their awning says "New York's Best".
It is known for being a gathering place for beats in 50's, and for hippies in 60's;
and above all, the store has been loved by local people in East Village.
New York Dolls reunion, by Roberta Bayley
New York Dolls used the photo taken in front of GEM SPA in their first album,
showing some local love and made the place East Village landmark.
GEM SPA "before" by John Holmstrom
It was a very special place for John Holmstrom; he wrote in his recent blog
"When Gem Spa stocked PUNK magazine #1 in its newsstand space in early 1976,
it was a watershed moment for me...
it was always a measurement for me if PUNK was getting good distribution or not
if Gem Spa carried us."
Godlis in front of GEM SPA, holding his Madonna photo
However, recent rent hike put their business into tough situation;
local people and fans all around the world made efforts to save this 100 years old shop.
The photo of Madonna above, too, was a part of it;
Godlis was selling a special edition for donation.
GEM SPA "after" by John
Despite all the effort, unfortunately, the shop was closed in this May after the impact of COVID-19 pandemic; Godlis, Roberta and John were all sharing their thoughts and photos of closing on their Instagram and blog.
It is sad that beloved store could not continue their business on the corner of East Village;
however, nothing would change the fact that GEM SPA has been loved by people all around the world,
and featured in many films, photos and literature.
Hope it would remain in people's heart,
and remembered for its cultural importance in New York history!
Roberta Bayley Instagram
John Holmstrom blog