Yes, The SoHo Historical Society!

So here it is—my big plan. Drumroll please….. I plan to design and build a portable historical society that can navigate the bustling urban environment of today’s SoHo while showing a glimpse of its past. and today I am kickstarting a fundraising campaign through Kickstarter, an online crowdfunding platform for creative projects. Kickstarter-Logo- 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 here, 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.

unnamedSoHo currently has no neighborhood society dedicated to preserving its history, and I think it deserves one! Working in partnership with The Uni Project, a nonprofit dedicated to creating pop-up learning experiences across the city, I hope that this exhibition will be just the first step in finding a permanent home for The SoHo Memory Project. My long-term plan is for The SoHo Memory Project to have a physical space where people can come to learn more about our neighborhood. But before I can apply for grants to sustain my project for the long-term, I need to produce something tangible that I can bring to funders to demonstrate my knowledge and commitment. Help me create a pop-up historical society by donating today. And tell your friends, and ask them to tell their friends. If we preserve SoHo’s past, present generations will understand our neighborhood’s rich history, and this understanding will inform how we all shape its future. kickstarter-button-8282a99865029b5823b93f3e8e3fd401

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10 Responses to “Yes, The SoHo Historical Society!”

  1. David Crum Jr. Says:

    Will you have the pepper smell on the corner of Broome and West Broadway if you setup there? Lol

    • Yukie Ohta Says:

      That’s so funny that you said that. I set up a “smell station,” and one of the jars has pepper in it to remind people of the pepper factory!

  2. Georgia Says:

    This is great!

    Would it be okay to use media (with ccredit) from this post in a post about your project on my blog? Thanks.

  3. Frank Donato Says:

    I lived in soho from 1974 till 2007. First at 93-97 Greene st then 108 Wooster. I think this is a great idea and I would love to add to your history . A response from you will open the flood gate if you so wish.P.S. My web site goes live June 1st

  4. eleni papageorge Says:

    Would you be interested in having a podcast of artists interviews for your upcoming website. There are 2 artists who live in the neighborhood who were active SoHo artists in the early 70’s and 80’s. Joe Catuccio of Project Of Living Artists could be another really good person to interview as he was very active and contributed to the formation of SoHo in the 1970’s. He is now in Williamsburg. I have his ph.#. Minerva Durham @Spring Studio but you know about that place. Spring Studio is an “institution”. There are also numerous artists at the Art Student’s League who probably would be willing to contribute to the project as they were most likely active around this time as well. But I would hurry as many of them are leaving NYC or dying off

    • Yukie Ohta Says:

      Yes! I planning to do a series of oral histories audio and video, and Minerva will most certainly be one of the first people I approach. Thanks for drawing my attention to joe Catuccio. And, yes, time is of the essence!

  5. Victor Carnuccio Says:

    Hello Yukie, I homesteaded a raw space loft in 1979 and have documented some in photographs and stories of what SoHo was to me and how it has changed. My loft is on Broadway between Prince and Spring Streets. We are jumping through the hoops to finalize the Certificate of Occupancy now. Currently renting to meet the financial demands (assesments) I hope to retrurn home when the maintenance stabilizes. Best wishes with your project!

    • Yukie Ohta Says:

      Hi Victor! Thanks for getting in touch. I would love to see your photos and to hear about your experiences. Our family has done the whole C of O thing. Quite a stressful process. Best of luck getting up to code!

  6. Alan J. Segan Says:

    Please contact me regarding ideas and material. I was a resident on Crosby Street in the 70’s and early 80’s with photos, thoughts and documents which might of interest.

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