Anna, my best friend growing up, lived on Bowery between Houston and Prince, in a former flophouse. If you told us back then that that very block would be a hub of stylish restaurant and nightclub culture in New York one day, we would have said that you were smoking angel dust (we didn't have crack yet).
I'm not sure how I feel about people (or companies) usurping collective memory for their own purposes, for either monetary profit or as cultural capital. Some examples of this would be Birdbath using the famous, much photographed facade of Vesuvio Bakery, unaltered, as the facade for their new (ish) cafe. Or, Daniel Boulud naming his new "downscale" restaurant on the Bowery DBGB (Daniel Boulud Good Burger) after CBGB, the music club that used to be down the street. Or for that matter, John Varvatos taking over the old CBGB space and preserving a wall of flyers as part of his store's decor.
SoHo as Concept
Feb 26 2011
The SoHo Memory Project celebrates the history of SoHo as a New York City neighborhood.