We don’t want SoHo to be remembered as an overcrowded shopping mall. The history of this neighborhood is important and yet so easily forgotten in the context of storefronts that today resemble the Short Hills Mall.
Yukie Ohta grew up in SoHo in the 1970s and her site, The Soho Memory Project, captures the essence of what that period was like in a warm and engaging manner, showing what community is (can be) all about. Now she is taking that effort a step further – and working to create a mobile historical society for SoHo so it is remembered as so much more than what we see today. And, of course, who knows what its future will look like?
Support the crowd funding effort at Kickstarter and learn a bit more about it below.
About the project from Yukie:
I am designing and building a portable historical society that can navigate the bustling urban environment of today’s SoHo while showing a glimpse of its past. Using unconventional media such as Viewmaster viewers and a smell station, I will chronicle the evolution of SoHo from rural farmland to high-end retail hub, charting its cycles of development and thus placing current day SoHo in the context of New York City’s history.
When I was growing up in SoHo, I remember walking down desolate streets. There were no stores or restaurants, but I felt safe because everyone who lived here knew each other. I learned how to ride a bike in my house. And I also often slept in my coat because we didn’t have heat after 5 pm.
When people think of SoHo today, they think of high-end shopping and expensive lofts. Nobody thinks of it as a tight-knit community where children roamed free and people actually knew and liked their neighbors. That was the SoHo of my childhood. That was the SoHo out of which ideas such as the adaptive reuse of buildings and loft living were born, ideas that influence how we live today.
Support the SoHo Memory Project on Kickstarter. The project must reach its goal by May 30th at 10 p.m.