SoHo native Yukie Ohta and founder of The SoHo Memory Project is hoping to create a mobile historical society to chronicle the evolution of the neighborhood from rural farmland to the high-end retail hub it is today. As she writes, “SoHo currently has no neighborhood society dedicated to preserving its history, and I think it deserves one.” She’s working with the Uni Project, and fundraising on Kickstarter, to create a pop-up learning experience using non-traditional media, like Viewmaster finders, 3D printed miniatures, and a smell station, along with vintage ephemera. The end goal is to place current day SoHo in the context of New York City’s history, something Ohta feels is obscured in its landscape today.
Ohta references a time period in SoHo’s history where the streets were desolate, but residents felt safe. A close-knit residential community existed then, and a movement that has spread through New York City and around the world was born out of SoHo, Ohta believes: “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.”