Mapping Memories

Ingrid, Yukie, Anna, and Mimi standing on the median of the Bowery waiting for a chance to cross, ca. 1979

This week I’ve decided to try something a little different.  To commemorate my dear friend Ingrid’s departure from New York City after being here for 36 years, I interviewed her about places in SoHo from her everyday life that do not exist anymore.  I edited the clips together (very) roughly to create a sort of oral history map.  Videos of her talking about her experiences working at the restaurant Food and about living on the Bowery have appeared on this blog in the past.

Ingrid came to New York at the age of 35 with her daughter, Anna.  A single mom, she made a living as a designer, first of clothing, then jewelry, and finally suede-covered books, always making her items carefully by hand.  She is also a photographer with a keen eye for hidden expressions of humanity.  She taught me to be curious and inquisitive (we dissected a groundhog that was shot on a farm once, but that’s another story all together!), and she took me on excursions around New York City, showing me the ins and outs of places I would have never otherwise seen.

I will miss you, Ingrid, and New York will miss you too.  Your unbridled enthusiasm to see, hear, taste, smell, and feel the city was infectious.  You loom large in my SoHo memories.  Thank you for sharing some of your own SoHo memories with us.

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7 Responses to “Mapping Memories”

  1. momonan Says:

    Yukie, this is so, so beautiful. Ingrid, of course, always looks beautiful. (One halloween, we were going to take to the streets looking like witches. It took me only a minute to make the transition . We tried and tried with Ingrid, with no success. Finally, she looked up, completely mystified, and said “I guess I just can’t be ugly.” And how right she was!).

    I particularly loved that many of these memories are special to Ingrid — some of the places many of us didn’t even KNOW about — let alone remember. Really special. Thank you!

    Judy Reichler

    • Yukie Says:

      Thank you, Judy! If we all mapped our memories of SoHo, I think we’d each have some places that overlapped and some that are unique. What an interesting and beautiful image such a compilation would make!

  2. nancyeder Says:

    Dear Yuki, I loved listening to Ingrid reminisce about our Soho in the early days. While I haven’t seen her in years, it made me smile to hear her stories and to see how beautiful she still looks after all these years. Where on earth is she going? Back to Germany? Anna lives there, right? Please send her my best wishes.


  3. Anna Cussen Says:

    Hi Yukie,
    wow what memories. I remember the old Baby doll factory. They pressed dolls out of pink liquid plastic, once were inside and allowed to watch. Then there were all those containers on the streets with the fabric shreds left out from the textile companies. All so long ago and look at it now. I find it fascinating to have been the witness of Soho’s extreme gentrification. We used to call Dean & Deluca “the ripp off store”, because they seemed so outrageously expensive.

    It is kind of sad that Ingrid is leaving New York, but I think a new Home in Berlin is also a good direction for her. I think that I have disconnected my identity as a New Yorker, having lived now half my life in Berlin. But the Memories are still vivid and the experiences that we made in those (for us) formative teenage years are plenty and very rich.

    I am sure that I will be able to tell some similar stories about Berlin. At the moment the city is transforming rapidly, growing and becoming more International. The influence of Tourism on Berlin is untamable and gentrification, which has its positive aspects but also clears away a certain amount of neighborhood authenticity.

    A wonderful idea, to post your Blog especially for people like me who can totally identify with so much of what is being written.


    • Yukie Says:

      Anna, how nice to finally hear from you here. My partner in crime. What adventures we had! I’m happy to know that Ingrid will be in the best of hands over there with you guys in berlin!

    • nancyeder Says:

      I just had a memory jiggle from listening to Ingrid’s video. I took my first MA degree in 1974 in art education at NYU. My student teaching was in Chinatown. There was virtually no art supply budget for public education, and so I rummaged in SOHO for discarded paper, string and mailing cylinders to use with my classes. One hat making factory which threw out huge waste containers filled with cardboard shapes and white heavy paper supplied my class for a whole year. The streets of SOHO continue to be sources of discarded usable waste, but not like in the old days when factories were still in abundance.

      nancy eder

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