Unpacking His Library
Rehoused by friends and colleagues in a reading room for new generations of students, Michael Sorkin’s books keep his legacy in circulation.
An audio archivist documents the evolution of pirate radio in Brooklyn and its place in the cultural landscapes of the borough's immigrant communities.
Property of the Pandemic
From face masks to diaries, institutions are collecting artifacts from daily life under COVID-19. One itinerant museum has preserved letters from landlords to tenants for posterity.
Justo Martí's midcentury photographs of Manhattan and Brooklyn bodegas provide a rare glimpse at the history of the spaces and signs cementing Latinx life in the city, and highlight the continuing work of New Yorkers to make the city home.
A cookbook. A windmill blade. A bilingual demolition manual. Beyond the city’s stock of resident-controlled, low-income co-ops, the remarkable history of New York’s self-help housing movement lives on in the archives of the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board.
Lost in Transit
An artist acquires a collection of unclaimed rings gathered from New York City's subway system, instigating an unconventional search for their origins and values.
We The News
As local newspapers dwindle, an artist revives New York’s classic newsstand to collect and circulate more diverse stories about immigration.
Do You Remember How It Was?
Residents recall a decade of upheaval in the East New York Oral History Project.
A recently uncovered album reveals some of New York City parks' least exposed precincts — their public bathrooms.
Seeding the Next Epoch
Seed libraries can restart agriculture after disasters. But what of useless plants? Two artists save the spontaneous, weedy species that serve no purpose but their own.
Has Any City Ever Planned for Love?
For Shelf Life, a film made in 1964 provides an enduring lens through which to look at density's delights.
Architecture in the Basement
In the first installment of Shelf Life, Janet Parks, curator of the Avery Drawings and Archives at Columbia University, takes us through its architectural underworld, uncovering the collection's treasures.