Back in October 2015, The SoHo Memory Project held a day of recording with StoryCorps, an independent nonprofit project whose mission is to honor and celebrate the lives of everyday Americans by listening to their stories. Six pairs of SoHo old timers came by to share stories at the StoryBooth recording studio down in Foley Square, and their 40-minute conversations were recorded by StoryCorps staff.
Each conversation is unique and tells a fascinating story. The stories as a group tell the larger story of SoHo as it developed from an industrial area to a thriving artists community to a retail center. Below are excerpts from the conversations recorded by StoryCorps, which will be preserved and archived in the American Folklife Center at The Library of Congress.
I hope you enjoy these remembrances, and I hope you will be inspired to listen to more conversations about SoHo and to share your own story through our ongoing oral history project in partnership with The New York Public Library.
Guy Story, longtime SoHo resident and musician, speaks with his wife, Kerry Donahue, about leaving Mississippi to come to New York City:
Shael Shapiro, architect and co-author with his wife, Roz Bernstein, of Illegal Living, explains how loft living first came about in SoHo:
Shael recalls buying a loft from George Maciunas and doing construction at 80 Wooster Street:
Filmmaker and journalist Jim Stratton speaks to his daughter, Callison, about the formation of the SoHo Artists Association and how the name SoHo came to be:
Jim remembers renovating his loft space:
Artist Joyce Kozloff tells neighbor and long-time friend, Elizabeth Weatherford, how living in SoHo has affected her work:
Joyce and Elizabeth discuss gentrification and SoHo as role model for other artists districts:
Sean Sweeney, Executive Director of the SoHo Alliance, tells Yukie Ohta about SoHo’s fight with Donald Trump:
Artists Thornton Willis and wife Vered Lieb remember moving into their loft:
Thornton and Vered on the charm of SoHo then and now:
All excerpts produced by The SoHo Memory Project with interviews recorded by StoryCorps, a national nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives. http://www.storycorps.org