Okay. I know. An annoyingly pretentious title for a blog post, especially my first one EVER. But I feel that the title of Proust’s novel (which I have not read, by the way), sums up what I’m trying to do here—I am in search of lost time.
The SoHo Memory Project is a new blog about the history of SoHo in the late-1960’s through the early-1980’s. The blog’s focus is not on the art scene of that era, as there has been much written on this subject already, but on SoHo as a community, a neighborhood made up of a wide variety of people, families, businesses, community groups, and, only incidentally, all manner of creative activity. It addresses a broad range topics through written posts, interviews, and biographical portraits, as well as photographs, sound recordings, and video. Ultimately, it will be a record of our lost community comprised of myriad memories and experiences.
SoHo has changed tremendously since I was a child, for the better and for the worse. I accept that it is the nature of urban communities, especially in New York, to be in a constant state of flux. If they stopped changing, they would atrophy and die. So I am not interested in talking about how great things were “back in the day” vs. how not-so-great they are today and how nice it would be if we could go back to the way things were. What I would like to do, however, is to celebrate a very special place at a very special moment in time
Every person has his or her own 1970’s SoHo, and it is very different from the SoHo of today. For me, it was a wonderful place to grow up and explore and make friends. In a way, my 1970’s SoHo resembled a description of your average American neighborhood, where people know their neighbors and all the children play together. But on the other hand, I did learn how to ride a bike in my house! Anyone visiting SoHo today could not even fathom such as place existing in lower Manhattan. And because this aspect of SoHo has not been well documented thus far, I would like to build this collection of recollections over the coming months and years before our ephemeral memories fade and disappear forever.
I will try to post as often as possible (i.e. as often as my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter lets me), so please subscribe to this blog by clicking on the “subscribe” button to the right. I hope you will all join me by posting comments and by emailing me with ideas for topics, or even “guest-posting” now and again!