‘Desperately Seeking’ funds: E.V. photog helps Gem Spa with classic Madonna pic

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Godlis ( center ) signing his image of Madonna shot in front of the Gem Spa in the 80’s . All profits from sale of printsm goes to the struggling business.
Godlis ( center ) signing his image of Madonna shot in front of the Gem Spa in the 80’s .
Godlis signing his photo of Madonna taken in front of the Gem Spa in the ’80s.
All profits from sale of the prints goes to the struggling East Village business. (Photo by Bob Krasner)

BY BOB KRASNER | Gem Spa’s got problems, but local support is not one of them. The classic East Village corner store is facing an existential financial crisis, as this paper reported last month.

In response, store manager Parul Patel has found a new stream of income selling store-related merchandise. The instantly recognizable Gem Spa logo is only on T-shirts now, but they have proved to be so popular that Patel is branching out: Hats, tote bags, coffee mugs, sweatpants, hoodies, egg cream glasses and more will be available in the coming weeks.

Madonna shooting a scene for the film “Desperately Seeking Susan,” in 1984, at Gem Spa, at St. Mark’s Place and Second Ave. Godlis recently sold autographed prints of the shot to help raise money for the cash-strapped corner store. Prints of the photo are still available for sale at Gem Spa. (Photo by Godlis)

In addition, artists are stepping up, as well. Noted East Village photographer Godlis pitched in recently by donating prints of Madonna pictured in front of the iconic bodega in 1984 filming “Desperately Seeking Susan.” He spent a couple of hours signing prints and regaling happy customers with tales of the neighborhood back in the day, when he was hanging out at CBGB shooting the images that are now collected in his monograph “History Is Made at Night.”

The photographer Godlis, center, who lives about a half block away from Gem Spa, signing a shot he took of Madonna in front of the classic corner store in the ’80s. Profits from sales of the print are going to help the struggling store stay afloat. (Photo by Bob Krasner)

Though, at the moment, the shop is not selling cigarettes or lottery tickets — formerly steady revenue streams — you can still (and should) get an egg cream. The traditional vanilla and chocolate are available, as well as newer flavors, such as mango, creamsicle, nutella and blueberry, to name a few. And if you’re a vegan, they are happy to make yours with almond milk.

The store’s new Web site is not up yet, but you can look for announcements on their Instagram, @besteggcream, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gemspabesteggcream/ .

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