Curated by NoLIta participant Katarina Borg
11 jun 2014 by art:i:curate team
As part of our 'Curated by NoLIta' project, we met with the curators: people living and working in the neighborhood.
Ky Katrensky met with Katarina Borg from Sweden, a history buff who is knowledgeable about her neighborhood.
KK: Why did you get involved with art:i:curate and this project?
KB: The founders (Nur & Irina) are dear friends of mine and I have watched their project grow from its initial start to the amazing art platform it is today.
Whenever they’ve been to New York they have shared with me insight and new ideas. I have always been passionate about art, and culture in general so thrilled to witness their success with art:i:curate.
KK: What do you hope to take away from it?
KB: art:i:curate is a great way to stay updated on the New York art scene. I'm particularly interested in photography both taking pictures myself as well as learning about the artists around. I think the idea of this project is great tying in people living around the Nolitan and very excited to be part of it.
KK: How do you normally take in art?
KB: Not as much as I wish to but I do attend gallery openings from time to time and I try to catch all interesting exhibitions at various museums.
KK: Where did you live before and where are you from?
KB: I was born and raised in Sweden but lived 5 years in Italy before moving to NYC 3.5 years ago.
KK: What do you like best about your part of town and what don't you like at all?
KB: Can't say there's anything I don't like here, really.
Over the years here in NYC I’ve lived in Hell's Kitchen, Financial District and East Village.
I feel I've finally found my neighborhood, I feel at home here and I love the fact that, while being gentrified over the last few years, there's still a feel of its old self and there are still a lot of locals around which have lived here most of their lives. And while the other gentrified neighborhoods have turned into tourist spots, the tourists haven't discovered LES just yet.
I also love that most of my favorite spots are within walking distance from my apartment.
KK: Favorite New York moment?
KB: There are so many. I still get those sensations like "wow I live in New York!" when witnessing such typical New York scenarios like cab drivers fighting with each other or the view of Empire State Building.
KK: Do you know any of your neighbors?
KB: While many of my friends live only a few blocks away from me I can’t say I have connected much with neighbors in my building. For no apparent reason really, we are all busy New Yorkers going about our lives.
KK: Do you hope to connect with your neighbors through this project?
KB: Sure why not.
KK: Do you have a local hangout spot in the neighborhood?
KB: Not really, but I do hang out with my “friend-community” at Schillers, Spitzers and other bars in the area on a regular basis.
KK: Have you heard any stories about the history of NoLIta/LES?
KB: Yes I'm pretty well read on its history especially since I’m a bit of a history nerd in general.
There's a great museum on Orchard Street which I recommend to check out if interested in LES’s history. It is called the Tenement Museum, where they offer guided tours in the surrounding blocks and have an entire building on 95 Orchard Street which is kept intact from various decades dating back to the 1860s. A 1870s German pub has been recreated on the ground floor as well as an apartment from the 30s offering an insight in life during the depression.
Throughout history LES has been populated by first generation immigrants from Germany, Italy, Latin America and many other countries which all have had strong influences on the neighborhood and shaped it to what it is today.
KK: What do you see as the future of NoLIta/LES?
KB: As popularity is spreading rents go up and while there are distinct borders between different areas in New York (LES is south of Houston, east of Bowery, west of East River and north of Canal St) I would say the outskirts of Chinatown is most likely loosely to be incorporated by many brokers can as that would justify a higher rent.
I feel Clinton Street marks the end of the “hip” LES, and me living 3 blocks further to the east on Pitt Street, is great as the rents still are lower though that, of course, is only a matter of time before changing.
KK: Tell me something about yourself.
KB: I work with digital marketing and web design as a project manager at the digital agency One Rockwell in Soho.
Hobbies include but not limited to photography, history and food, all of which I'm well catered to by LES.