SohoEarlyDaysYukiWe all have a certain nostalgia for aspects of our “wonder years” but Yukie Ohta, a 46-year-old New York–based archivist, has taken it beyond the scrapbook or even memoir level. Ohta’s an old-school fan of SoHo, having grown up with her sister on Mercer Street in the 1970s, with both of them still living in the same building today.

Now, according to the NYTimes article “The Memory-Keeper of SoHo,” she has a created a mobile mini-museum to preserve the stories of the artists, the early factory-to-loft conversions, and even the smells of SoHo’s “dirty golden years.” You’ll have to read the story to find out which odors her “smell jars” contain (as far as I can tell, urine isn’t one of them).

Ohta’s collected a ton of NYC ephemera in this mobile museum, while also starting up a fundraising website called The Soho Memory Project. It’s a sharp reminder of another time and place, now that SoHo is mostly a high-end tourist shopping mall. Fun for nostalgists who remember downtown from a grittier, more original–New York era….

Greene Street at Prince, 1975 and 2015. Same family, changed neighborhood.

1970s

Today

Check out the NYTimes article.

Visit Ohto’s Soho Memory Project website

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Top photos fr. John Dominis/The LIFE Picture Collection & Victor J. Blue