For me, the story of a certain mural in Paramus actually begins on Long Island, circa 1971, when I turned 16 and got a part-time job at the Alexander’s department store in Valley Stream.
“My” Alexander’s, which opened in 1967, was known for two things: for not being part of the adjacent Green Acres shopping center (getting around the fence that separated them required patience and/or a helicopter) and for the curious abstract paintings that ran around the building’s perimeter. As bedeviled customers asked on more than one occasion, “What ARE those things?” “I’m pretty sure that big one is pollen,” one customer noted. “And that other one is a hula girl.” The store was familial. When I was working nights in the boys department upstairs, my mother worked days downstairs, in what had been the juniors department but was eventually rechristened the Feelin’ Groovy department.
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