[EPISODE] SOHO and The Beginnings of An Amazing New York Museum
Jeff kicks off the show by introducing his first guest, Joyce Gold, of Joyce Gold History Tours. Both Jeff and Joyce discuss the shorthand name of South Houston, or SoHo. Joyce talks about how the neighborhood dates back to the mid 1600s, and how it went from a hilly neighborhood to a very leveled place. Joyce continues about how SoHo became one of the most residential places in 1820s, and turned to shopping, industries, and today we know it for art. Joyce continues about the history of shopping in the neighborhood, and mentions the history of the African Grove Theater. Jeff and Joyce go back and forth with other industries that got their start in SoHo.
Joyce talks about the tours that she has coming up, including one of the Bowery, a Gilded Age tour, and tour of Greenwich Village. Jeff brings up the architectural structures in SoHo, and Joyce continues about the popular cast iron architecture in the 1850’s, and the process it took to create these structures. Joyce brings up the Haughwout building in SoHo, and the excitement around the first elevator. She continues by talking about the evolution of structures in SoHo, and mentions the Puck Building and all it’s been used for. Joyce talks about city planner, Robert Moses, and how artists began to come to the neighborhood.
Jeff returns with mentioning sponsors, followed by a plug of Good Morning New York with Vince Rocco. Introduction of second guest, Charles Leslie. Jeff gives a brief overview of Charles’ different contributions to the queer arts communities, and an introduction of Charles himself. Jeff discusses Charles’ inspiration for leaving home and early life to his experience in Europe. Jeff focuses briefly on Charles’ time in Marrakech after the revolution. Charles moved to SoHo after discovering a passion for film editing, as real estate was plentiful and accessible. Charles discusses his impact on zoning of SoHo. Jeff and Charles discuss his interest, collection, and exhibition of gay art, drawing inspiration to greco-roman nudes. The two transition to Charles’ experience with and diffusing of the Stonewall riot. Jeff returns to Charles’ exhibition shows of gay art and the increase in frequency following the events of Stonewall. Culminating in the formation of a commercial art museum (Leslie-Lohman Museum).
Returns with the current exhibits at the Leslie-Lohman Museum – record of what happened after stonewall. Jeff transitions to the AIDS crisis and the subsequent temporary closing of the museum. Leslie and Fritz has worked quite successfully to the preservation of endangered gay art. Charles speaks of the popularization of larger canvas work, for commercial purposes, and thus the search for larger spaces to work. Artists would often buy large spaces for not very much money. Jeff and Charles speaks of the current “vibe” of SoHo and the change that brought this new vibe. Charles remarks of how SoHo has become more of a comfortable and clean neighborhood, though there is no clear future of the neighborhood. Jeff and Charles closes with any tips for landlords in the SoHo area – “think twice about retail space”.